Since I was able to sit still and listen, I have been fascinated by my Nanny's (grandma in the northern states) incredible adventures of survival during the Great Depression. Stories that weaved us through the reality of an age you and I couldn't even pretend to imagine in this modern day. Similar to Steinbeck's meticulous imagery, but far more entertaining, my Nanny could fill eyes wide with amazement, painting incredible pictures of loss, human resilience, community and faith. Holding sacred in time, a slice of history that has forever defined our nation. The Industrial Revolution has changed consumerism, agriculture, and the character of our world forever. In so many ways, our lives have drastically improved because of advances in technology and a more efficient system of trade and commerce. In other ways, every giant step we took forward, left a tiny piece of something uniquely special, behind.
The startling truth is, the tiny piece of special might have been our resourcefulness. I found myself in awe of my grandmother's stories, mostly because they seemed too unbelievable to be true! What do you mean you made your own stewed tomatoes?! Why couldn't you just go to aisle 5 in the super market and buy the can labeled "stewed tomatoes"? Honestly, as a child I thought she was messing with me most of the time. It wasn't until I was much older that I learned to appreciate the brilliance of an era left in the wake of mass production and revolution in industry. My true appreciation was revealed the day I became a desperate mother, looking for answers. I have since accepted that the price we pay for our quick trip to aisle 5, is quit simply, our control. We no longer have control over the ingredients in our products, the chemicals in our food chain, or the materials used to manufacture our goods. We have simply traded in our independence for convenience.
Well, I want restored balance. I want to keep those things that have been great about our progressive nature and regain those special things left behind. And I'm doing this one ailment, product and meal at a time.
Nanny's Stewed Tomatoes:
1/2 diced backyard bell pepper OR onion (or both)
1-2 diced backyard jalapenos (you can substitute celery if you're a wimp)
1 tsp Sea Salt
A dash of pepper
1 tbsp of raw cane sugar
2 cups of water or chicken broth
A year ago, I planted my first backyard garden. I made a list of the vegetables we eat most often. I used the phenomenal resource of the internet and researched fall gardening. It turns out, it's really not that complicated after all! Once you have the foundation built and the seeds planted, you can maintain a garden with less than 10 minutes of effort a day. I will be posting more specific information about my vegetables of choice, the dimensions of the containers and some helpful newbie tips (some I learned the hard way) very soon!!
**A special thanks to my in-laws and their super awesome country-livin' skills for my incredible new produce department :)
Life on a budget