Photo via: Cindy Funk
The L.A. Times recently published a wonderful article on the many lessons that can be found from depression era cooking. While having not fallen far enough yet to compare ourselves to the extreme hard times of The Great Depression, there are some very interesting and important lessons that can be learned from this era...
The one biggest changes that needs to happen, is the re-introduction to the good old fashioned home cooked meal. For too many years the common U.S. family has been sitting down, standing-up, walking, and driving to get a quick 10-minute, processed, microwaved, drive-through dinner. Not a good scenario for health, cost, or the environment.
Currently grocery stores are noticing a reduction in the purchase of pricey ready made dinners and the increase of "filler" meals, such as Ramen noodles and Hamburger Helper. While this is one method to attack the recession, history would show us an even greener and more cost effective method.
The Silver Lining in the Recession CloudCost- One lesson that many families are about to experience in the coming months, is the huge savings that can be had through the growing and cooking of their own meals. This will include saving their leftovers and planning ahead for future meals. Survivors of the Great Depression often talk about the necessity to pluck their own chickens, skin their own rabbits, and growing their own vegetables to help feed their families during the tough times. While we may not all be up for starting our own chicken farm or scraping road kill off the highways just yet, becoming a little more self-sustaining might be a lot easier than you think.
The Great Depression was a tough time in American history, but it was also a time of such down home good cooking as chicken with rice, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, pot roast, stew, and fresh potato soup. When was the last time that you ate a home cooked meal like one of these every single day of the week? Well, for those who have not already, you may want to reacquaint yourselves to the fine art of cooking. Home cooking can offer huge savings if you organize and plan your meals effectively.
Waste- Another benefit that can be had for cooking your own meals, besides cost, is a huge reduction to your waste output. Growing your own fruits and vegetables, raising your meat, etc., reduces your weekly waste by an incredible amount if you consider all the packaging that goes into store bought meals. And if you live in an apartment, you still have no excuse. There are currently a variety of indoor gardening kits available that allow certain vegetables and herbs to be grown year round in the comfort of your own kitchen, living room, porch, or wherever you can spare a few square feet of space.
The Reemergence of the FamilyFor too long families have been running to soccer practice, dance lessons, then catching a parent/teacher meeting here and there, finding only enough time to drop by a hamburger stand before returning home to their television sets. The lessons of the Depression depicts a much simpler lifestyle that involved learning about nature through helping to plant and water the garden and family bonding through the joint effort of picking vegetables and fruit before dinner.
Does all this sound like a pipe dream for a world that has become too buried in the modern convenience of packaged foods? Yes, most certainly it does. But it does not excuse the fact that there are better ways to do things, and many of these time honored traditions would be just as green, healthy, cost effective, and honorable today as they were 80 years ago!
Source: L.A. Times
More on how to cope with the recession
Get Recession-Ready: 10 Ways to Tighten Your Belt in the Kitchen
Frugal Green Living: Seven Tips to get Recession Ready
The Financial Downturn Could Be a Good Thing for Your Health