I am a member of one of the best online gardening sites — Dave’s Garden. I am a contributing writer and another writer that consistently provides inspiration is Sharon Brown. She recently had an article published entitled Goldenseal and the Boxed Pie Supper. Though the article was primarily about the medicinal and practical uses of Goldenseal, I was more infatuated with the background story.
The first half of the article discusses a now forgotten tradition of creating boxed dinners in the effort to raise funds for her local school. As she described the event, I was right there in her small town and could smell the food and picture the box Sharon had beautifully decorated. There was one sentence that particularly stood out as I read: My mother and Granny Ninna always fried chicken, usually two old hens, and they added green beans and cornbread, a lot of other vegetables, and most of the time Ninna made a stack cake for dessert.
I could not help but notice the casual nature of this sentence. Her mother and one of her granny’s found two old hens and prepared them as part of the complete meal to be auctioned off. There was no trip to the supermarket for a conveniently prepared whole chicken or pieces already cut up tightly sealed with plastic wrap. No, they went outside, found two hens and did what was necessary to prepare them for dinner. This of course included killing and plucking them. I am sure her mother, all of her relatives and most likely everyone in her community raised animals for the purpose of food and preparing them for eating was simply part of the routine. If I were to go into detail of the steps involved, I am sure I would receive a lot of hateful comments from those who think killing anything for food is cruel. Conversely, I might also receive comments of praise for reminding people that the beautifully, tempting packages of food began as a life somewhere.
The overall theme of today’s modern society seems to revolve around how to do things quickly and with as little effort as possible. Why? Do I need to have a box on my counter prepare a meal for me in less than five minutes? I would rather it didn’t. There is a certain satisfaction that comes with preparing a meal from scratch and that is why this article spoke to me to the point where I felt I had to write about it. I imagined the life Sharon enjoyed as a child and the life of her mother and her grandparents. The practical nature of growing and raising your own food for not only your own survival but as a way of helping the community has been lost today for the most part. I would like to thank Sharon for taking me back to a time when life was not about convenience but about living the best you could with what you had.