I was coming back from Home Depot last Saturday and stopped at a garage sale to see if I needed someone else’s junk for my future garage sale. I was looking around (I found a hose, nozzle and a rake for $6.00 after I had just paid nearly $40.00 for a hose, nozzle and rake at Home Depot) and saw a stack of cookbooks including an interesting one titled, Eating Right and Living Long, which had some great healthy recipes including one that I’m sure the kids will just love, crunchy kale bars (they’re supposed to be a lot like collard bars but maybe a little more mulchy). Looking through the recipes in all the healthy cooking cookbooks the lady was selling it struck me just how easy and delicious it should be and can be to stay fit and healthy and live a long and really wonderful life.
I was about done looking through the cookbooks when I came across a 1939 edition of The American Woman’s Cook Book just like the one my mother and grandmother used (I remember as a kid I would look through that book at the pictures of desserts like I had never seen come out of my mother’s kitchen). I noticed that whether it was for cookies or cakes or beef stew or apple sauce or strawberry jam each recipe seemed to start with half a cup of lard. The recipes all seemed so primitive: a good, healthy breakfast was described as consisting of two fried eggs, bacon or ham, fried potatoes, toast with butter or jam, coffee and some type of juice—really. I was standing there smiling at just how backward our parents and grandparents were but then I started to get angry about all the people I loved who were no longer with us because of the kinds of foods and meat-based diets shown in that cookbook.
My grandmother made what I am sure she thought were wholesome meals for her family and then gave that same cookbook to my mother as a wedding gift and Mom carried on the same way. If only instead of those old recipes they’d had our modern healthy recipes available. If only they had been as enlightened as their children and grandchildren instead of dying at 98 and 97 my grandparents would still be here today.
I can just see grandma behind the wheel of their green 1951 Chrysler Windsor four door sedan (after I slap on some Coexist, Free Tibet and Happy to be Vegan bumper stickers) heading out to the Super Senior (120-130 years old) tennis tournament. I’ll just bet she would have come home with a trophy or two. If only.