Monday, June 3, 2013


I’m not sure this ended up where I thought it would when I discovered this quote in Berry’s book. But, for better or worse, here goes.

“But just stop for a minute and think about what it means to live in a land where ninety five percent of the people can be freed from the drudgery of preparing their own food.”

James E Bostic Jr. former deputy assistant secretary of agriculture for rural development. I didn’t find much on the net about him. He got a degree from Clemson in chemistry. Did the government stint and has held various positions with outfits like Georgia Pacific. You know the “we never met a tree we didn’t want to cut” guys, among others.

Ugh. I wonder where this person would have placed on the psychopath/sociopath diagnostic scale. Apparently he lumps actually growing the food along with preparing the food for your family.

There is nothing more basic to being human than the growing, preparing, preserving and sharing of food within the family or with friends. One of the basics of the school garden movement beginning the mid nineties isn’t just the garden itself. The students learn to cook what they grow and share it with their classmates. Preferably around a table with all the trimmings.

Some of my craziest memories involve dinner time. When dad was disabled mom worked at the U of O as a cook. Which meant that you know who ended up doing a lot of cooking. Robbie did try to help. I came through the door after classes one evening to be greeted with “how do you make a cream sauce?” She’d almost pulled it off on her own except for the fatal mistake. She turned her back on it for about twenty seconds and it was lump city. Then there were my experiments with pasta sauces. My youngest sister loves mushrooms. Now. Back then it was “are there mushrooms in this?” No sis that bowl has no mushrooms. Then there was dad and the chili. He’d slip in when he thought we weren’t looking and add a little more Tabasco to the mix. Didn’t take us long to just hold back on the final seasoning until just before we were going to serve it.

Then there was the three layer cake baked with baking powder that had lost its oomph. Good thing they liked frosting. And that chiffon cake. Nicely mixed, just turned into the pans with I spotted the measuring cup with the oil in it. That recipe was VERY forgiving. And the divinity that steadfastly refused to set. Pass the spoon.

Maybe it’s a guy thing, I don’t know. It was a challenge to step up and make sure that dinner hit the table on the days mom worked late and that it was something they’d eat. I have to admit dad and the girls were very patient with me. And some things got eaten then that have never graced our table again. Stuffed peppers spring to mind.

There’s a satisfaction to that and it’s a feeling he’ll never share.

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