Saturday, October 4, 2008

History Lesson

Recently I spent my commuting time listening to "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan. Both of which I would recommend to anyone concerned about what they are eating and where it comes from. I've also been following the distressing happenings in our economy. So when my mother returned from one of her little old lady outings to the antique store with 3 books in hand entitled Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression of the 1930's by Rita Van Amber, i thought maybe I should read them. The three book set is a compilation of recollections of Great Depression survivors and their recipes. Sort of cookbook/history books.
Does this sound familiar? "First banks became worthless. Then businesses and factories closed their doors one after the other when consumer buying came to a virtual standstill. . . There was no money flow. The structure of the American society had disintegrated." Wow! It reads like a commentary ripped right from today's paper.
And that was in the first few pages. In subsequent pages the author quotes folks who lived through the depression. Here are some nuggets quoted from the last "worst" fiscal disaster this country has known.
"The Depression was a good education."
" We had the cellar full of canned goods and vegetables..."
"Raisins were 5 cents a pound. But you seldom had 5 cents."
"Prices were terrible. Banks closed and we lost what we had...I sold 4 cords of wood for 50 cents."
"Milk toast, Ugh! Father called it graveyard stew."
"We all wore the same dresses at school. They were made out of old feed bags and only one neighbor had a pattern. So we all used the same pattern with the same rickrack around the neck, sleeves and hems."

"Eat it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without." That was the motto during the Great Depression.

Perhaps we would to well to take a lesson from the past?

No comments: