Reverie at Bennys Place

A Wish for Thanksgiving by Eve Searle

It is an honor to present to you this guest post from a good friend Eve Searle. Eve is the co-author of “Tomorrow Will be Better” and the author of the successful Grapevine Canyon Ranch blog. I want to thank Eve for taking the time to share these words on the value of eating fresh cooked meals, portion control and staying away from pre-packaged process foods. As Thanksgiving for the United States approaches, it is a true blessing to live in a land of plenty and a bigger blessing to be able to source fresh ingredients for a wholesome, home cooked meal.

And now, Eve’s post:

Fresh ingredients for home cookingIt has always seemed to me very ironic that for a good part of the world, the biggest problem is how to keep from getting too fat – while for the other part of the world, the problem is how to find enough food to stay alive! Sad, don’t you think?

And so how is it that we, here in the US, have this problem of Super-size Me? Having lived alone now for quite a few years, and being dependent on my own skills and energy to provide the necessary three squares a day, I have come to the conclusion that our problem is not that we eat too much, but that we eat too much garbage – too many meals fixed in some food factory, and then wrapped nicely and temptingly, loaded with sugar and other undesirable additives, which make it easy to consume, but all too likely to pile on the pounds.

So consider how people lived say, a hundred years ago. Not the rich people – they were probably almost as badly off as we are, though they didn’t know it. (In centuries past, a rich merchant’s wife was more than pleasingly plump – she was downright fat – and why? Because that meant her husband was successful, and so well able to provide the fattening goodies. Today the same wife is skinny – and why? Because the husband can afford to send her to a fat farm, where she can live on dry biscuits – albeit extremely expensive biscuits – and achieve that fashionable look!!)

So no, let us not consider the rich people, but normal citizens, perhaps what we would call today the middle class . A lot of them lived in small towns and likely had gardens, and perhaps their own chickens, and maybe a pig or two, or a turkey for Thanksgiving. So how did they eat? Not like today – meat at every meal, bacon for breakfast, fried eggs, maybe – or, lacking time, perhaps a sticky, sugary cinnamon bun?

Not at all – as I recall from reading many books, it went a bit like this. For breakfast you had perhaps a bowl of oatmeal – cheap and nourishing. For lunch, if you worked on the farm and came home, maybe a solid kind of vegetable soup with some homemade bread. And for supper – more bread, maybe a glass of milk? Some left over soup?

You certainly didn’t eat meat every day – in fact, I remember from my own childhood, which was spent in Europe during the WW2 years, that Thursdays and Sundays were the only days on which meat might be served. As we lived under Nazi occupation, the availability of meat was extremely limited, so one was lucky to get a mouthful! The other days – vegetables, fixed in seventeen different ways. Not so tasty, but undoubtedly, it was healthier. And consider – for not having had all that much to eat as a child, I grew up healthy, have stayed healthy ever since, and, in spite of many horse and car related wrecks, have never broken a bone!

So – living as we do, in this country that is free, and where most people are well off enough to be able to afford good nourishment, how is it that we have so many people with health problems related to food? It’s not the lack of food – it is the consumption of garbage food – food laden with sugar, preservatives, pre-cooked, attractively packaged and, above all, convenient! I realize that this is hardly an original thought – it comes up routinely for discussions in countless television programs and health magazines – so my question is: if we know it, why do we constantly fall for this swindle of garbage food masquerading as nourishment? If it is simply lack of time, perhaps we need to rearrange our priorities and take the time to prepare some real food!

And I can just hear some people screaming that it’s all very well for me to say this, but how about the poor people who can’t afford “real” food? To those I would say – have you ever costed the price of “real” food? I don’t mean T-Bone steak – but the cheaper cuts of meat, the food that is marked down because it is perhaps a day out of date – if you do, you will find it is very possible to eat well and healthily in this land of plenty that we are privileged to call home. It only takes a bit more effort.

So I guess my wish for this Thanksgiving would be for everyone to make a resolve to eat only home-cooked meals, to take the time to prepare them properly and then to be grateful that we live, all of us, in a land of plenty.

*****

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