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The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

Learn Something Old

October 4, 2021

People come up with sayings such as we should not live in the past or never look back.  These are just words that someone says.  We know that we cannot live in the past but we can live like the past.  I enjoy looking back, there is so much to learn from the past and I get a lot of clarity when I do look back at history and also study about our ancestors.

I love the old textiles and the embroidery on my vintage aprons.  Charles and I have been studying the home front and the life inside the home for many years now and we have learned about our Ancestors and how people lived without all of the modern items that we have today and so much more.

For the last few years I have had a growing problem with preparing meals.  When I was a young newlywed and I did not know how to cook very well and we ate very simple food.  As we became a family with children food was changing quite a bit with more processed food and advertised and labeled to have added nutrients and vitamins.  But this was basically added to basically food with little nutrients at all.  

Then as the world has changed we have food from around the world available in our stores all year around.  Fast food places with food from most any country just a drive around the city.

For me basic meals turned into so many recipes that I lost my way.

Last week when Rhonda Hetzel and I were talking face to face over the internet, I told her how I felt and we talked about food and what Charles and I have been thinking about doing here at our house.  Rhonda shared with me her meal list and hers was much more organized and simple than mine.  She has many choices of meals but not too many.  I realized that I had made mine too complicated. Thank you Rhonda for inspiring me to organize my meal plan.

I will share with you more about what Charles and I are doing about our meals.

But first about what we did last week.

Our daughter in law, Alice, sent over some new dog sweaters for our girls.  They get cold in the winter but they are so funny about wearing their sweaters and each one is different.  So here I have just put on the new coat for Elizabeth, she is letting me know that this coat is not as stretchy as her sweater.

I passed by a doorway and look and Elizabeth is standing and laying at the same time with her butt up in the air in disapproval of her new coat.  She is used to her sweater so I hope she will get used to her new coat.

Last week I planted onions and cabbage in the garden and washed the walk ways.  Charles is working on a drain beside the driveway to pull the water away from an area that it just sits and pools instead of draining out into the side yard.

And then I cleaned the silver.  We do not have a sterling silver silverware set, we have pieces that we have found thrifting through the years.  I love to use real silver because it is smooth and because of our new plans I decided it is time to clean the silver.

We do not have real silver knives but I have a few forks and spoons and other larger pieces such as serving spoons, a butter knife and things like that. So I got busy rubbing the silver polish over the silverware.

This has all been rubbed with the polish...

Rinsing off now to see what else needs touching up...

And then I buffed them. It looks like we have a lot of spoons but eight of the thin long handle spoons are tea/parfait spoons that I purchased as a set.

Then I had these that I found thrifting several years ago that I decided was time to clean them.  This above is before cleaning...

And after :)

I kept the silver put away so I decided to empty the large silverware drawer and give it a good clean up and organize all the pieces.

I washed the trays and put the silver to the right and the daily stainless silverware on the left.  I learned a lot while cleaning our silver and I put a secret message in my video I made about what I learned.

So Charles and I had a sit down talk about food.  

When Charles was a young boy he spent a lot of time with his great grandmother.  She was a very proper woman, she worked many years in Washington before she moved back here to Alabama.  Charles said that she always set a formal table even if she ate alone or for two people.  She also taught Charles to cook.  Charles has never forgotten these things and he enjoys a dressed table because it brings back memories of his Great Grandmother.  Both of our other grandparents were very simple and modest people

Our discussion went to food, and we talked about how we have become more and more casual and are cooking more varieties such as American food, Asian, Mexican, Italian and on and on leaving our basic food behind. We might cook spaghetti or fajitas, chicken and dumplings or stir fry. Also I was cooking the same food in different ways but this was becoming too much because it required different ingredients.  I was tiring of this. 

We are finding that as we get older we want food that is easier to cook which puts us on a unfamiliar path.  Easier is not necessarily healthy so we have not been eating as healthy because of variety throws off carbohydrates and protein and things like that. Also it becomes confusing and I find I have ingredients left that do not go with anything else.  This is a budget breaker. 

I keep falling back on my boiled chicken because it is my go to meal when I do not want to think about what I am going to cook.  It can be chicken and rice or chicken stew or chicken salad, chicken and dumplings or chicken pot pie.

 So we decided that we want to embrace our heritage and go with what our ancestors ate and pick basic and traditional food that they would have eaten. They ate some of the same meals often because there was not the food available as it was today.  Also they hunted for food which changes things about being traditional.   I am finding it is not as easy to find real traditional meals because so many countries have merged with people from all over the world and different varieties of food and gotten away from tradition.   

We have studied our genealogy and both of us did a DNA test. Each of us have our highest percentage of ancestors from the United Kingdom.  Charles branches a smaller percentage to Ireland and I branch a smaller percentage to France. 

When we study our roots, we all come from somewhere else unless we are indigenous people.  Since we enjoy keeping our lives interesting with our history studies and living more like the past, I feel we are going to find more missing pieces of the puzzle.

We are not quite there with the full English Breakfast because mushrooms and onions are not on that normally and there should be beans but we are getting close.  We did do a breakfast with beans one morning.

We ate Eggs and Soldiers one morning where you dip your toast into the soft boiled egg..

This is roasted chicken with potatoes, carrots and I had a zucchini that needed to be cooked so I added that.  Last weeks posts I snuck in a picture of our Sunday roast with a  beef roast potatoes, carrots.  After we purchased our roast we realized we purchased the wrong cut but this led to the conversation that we need to buy the cheaper cuts because it would be too expensive.  However the leftover meat is stretched out all week long into pies such as shepherds pie or cottage pie. 

We are not traditional as of yet but so far we have been very pleased and feel we are eating more but both of us have lost a couple of pounds.  Meat is getting so expensive now that when we learn our way through all of this we will not be cooking like royalty but I hope that we find where we most feel comfortable and enjoy a better routine and our food choices stretch us out all week long.

We do not have gooseberries here but we have strawberries and blueberries.  So I made a "Strawberry Fool" for a special treat.

It is Fruit, homemade whipped cream, honey, fresh squeezed lemon or orange depending on the fruit you are using I am guessing, I used orange, sugar, honey, and vanilla.  Just small amounts of all of these items. 

I put it in our very old parfait  glasses which are at least half the size of parfait glasses today. Topped them with a graham cracker snapped into sticks.

And it does not take long to eat them and we ate them with the just cleaned and polished silver. :)

My friend Catherine is doing this and embracing her German and English Heritage.  She sent me pictures of her German Vegetable Soup. 

So we are on a quest to find simple traditional food to cook without a whole lot of fuss, easily digestible, healthy, affordable and leaves no waste. Last week we did very good, we used up every bit of what we bought. 

I feel we will end up with a much better understanding of how to stretch food as well as being more educated on what traditional food was in the past.  Charles has already said that he refuses to eat the steak and kidney pie.  We cannot find kidney in the stores anyway.  But the pies are good because it uses up what is left from the Sunday roast.

As a grandmother I have my traditional meals that I cook when family comes to visit and they expect that and I can remember the food my grandmother cooked when we came to visit.  But what did they eat when we were not there to see what they ate?  So see this gets a little complicated to take traditional meals all the way through the week but we will figure it out. :)

Do not forget that I said I left a message in my video...

I have made a video to go with this post and if you want to share your traditional meals, comment in the youtube comment section.  click here to see the video.

Grandma Donna

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