A friend and I were talking a while back how things were different when we were kids. For instance, holidays meant special dishes and desserts that were only prepared for that particular holiday. And as kids, we did not get dessert every night after dinner. It was reserved for special times or to mark a special event. And soda? Soda was also for special occasions, like holidays or camping trips.
I remember as a child being allowed a can of soda a day, any flavor I wanted, during holidays such as Christmas or 4th of July. During our camping events, I remember opening the ice-cooler that contained soda cans in pretty colors that were snugged in thousands of ice cubes. I was allowed one per day. Sometimes if things went very well, I was allowed two. I remember my sisters and brother and I sharing sips from each other's cans because we all chose a different flavor of soda and wanted to try as many flavors as possible so we could make a decision which soda to choose the next day.
I remember my mother making both "Blueberry and Cherry Delight" for 4th of July and my father's birthday a month later. It was the dessert of summer because it didn't require baking or heating up the kitchen. Mostly, our dessert--if we had any during the hot late spring and summer months were fruits and fruit salads. We just didn't consider them as dessert so much as regular food.
I recall the days when cakes and cookies and ice cream was for extraordinary occasions. The only time we had a container of ice cream in the freezer was when it either someone's birthday or we were celebrating a special occasion--like company was coming for dinner or relatives from out of town were staying with us. Cookies were an occasional treat and whenever my mom felt like baking up a batch. Once they were gone that was it until the next batch.
I also remember going to out to eat at a restaurant or even a fast-food joint was reserved for special occasions instead of being the main source of eating. I remember the first time my beloved gramma took me to Arby's. I must have been about 5 or 6 years old and it was a magical moment in my life. We went to this too modern looking place and had lunch--just she and I. I don't remember why it was just her and I or what the occasion was, but I remember enjoying my time with her and it was marked by lunch at Arby's.
Both my friend and I noticed that it's different in today's society. That going out to eat at a fast-food joint or a restaurant is considered more of the norm, while staying home and cooking is the occasional special treat/occasion event. That drinking soda is something one can do every day and all day long, rather than save for special occasions. That cookies, cakes, and ice creams are staples in our kitchens for daily consumption. That we were healthier as a society and as a nation when meals were prepared from the beginning rather than from convenience.
Do you remember the television ads that first listed Hamburger Helper as a nutritious meal that took less time preparing? My mother wasn't the only one who jumped on that bandwagon. I remember when she used to make beef stroganoff from scratch, including thinly slicing the potatoes, mixing the sauce with fresh sour cream. It was one of those meals that was so good, but we couldn't eat any more because we were stuffed. The first time she bought Hamburger Helper it was beef stroganoff and it tasted nasty. We complained and she told us that it was nutritious food, even if it came out of a box. By the time Hamburger Helper came out with Tuna Helper, our tastebuds had been killed off and the pre-packaged foods did taste good.
It seems like it was a major achievement to be able to serve your family a meal that only took 30 minutes or less to prepare. Pop open a can or two, tear open a box, slice the top of the package off and presto-chango--you have a meal fit to serve...well...anyone who was hungry. It would not serve our nutrious needs, but it will fill that hungry hole in our middle for a little bit.
For the last 30 to 40 years, we have been bamboozled into believing that we are entitled to have dessert or soda whenever we want it. We are now finding out that some of those chemicals that they mix to preserve "food" and to make prepackaged foods taste better are actually as addictive and as damaging as methamphetimines. Thanks to global farming, we can have strawberries in the winter months. And we don't have to grow our own. We are so removed from our food that we lost our connection to it and how it feeds us.
I'm supposing that is the sign of progress--that we can have our desserts whenever we want them--even if they replace a meal. But I miss the old days when we marked special occasions with something special, instead of something we do every day. Maybe I'm just getting older?!?!?!
How about you? Do you miss those days or are you glad you can just reach for what you want, when you want it? Do you have personal rants about our foods? How do you feel about health and food in general?
PS: Don't forget about the giveaway!