Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lesson learned from the Farmers Wife's


Today I was going through my collection of cook books 
and while reading through 2 specific books I noticed a big difference.

One was an Amish collection and the recipes feed A LOT.
I'm talking pot luck serving to feed a crowd but that's not surprising 
as they tend to have large families to work their farms, etc.

The other was from the Farmers Wife collection (1893 - 1939) which feeds A LITTLE
... as in 4 people... maybe 6 at the most.

What struck me the most interesting was that in the Farmers Wife cookbook,
they cooked much the same as the Amish people did with wood stoves and not much space for refrigeration except a true ice box.  My Mom grew up in a log house with a wood stove and I lurve to look at the old photos and see their garden planted in the background.

The Amish spend a great deal of time working their farms 
throughout the day and burning off those calories!

In the 1930's... people simply ate smaller portions because food was being rationed.
They could still have meat but would have the choice of lesser grades of meat (chuck instead of sirloin).  They also ate a lot of soup but that's not surprising when you look at old photos of soup lines.
And of course my favorite.... they ate bread!  Bread is like manna from heaven!

I pondered that for awhile as I searched for Scalloped Potatoes with Ham 
recipe.  I could either make enough for dinner tonight 
or enough to last us through several meals this week.

Hmmm.... lessoned learned!
Smaller portions mean less calories and less weight gain.
Think about it... 2 pieces of bacon, an egg, a piece of toast 
probably have less calories and sugar than a bowl of cereal (ie... corn syrup)!

I lurve retro photographs and gravitate to a lot of them 
with the Wife in the kitchen cooking something on the stove...

Most people back then ate a large Sunday Dinner with left overs during the week stretched with rice or oatmeal.  Makes me think of Meatloaf and Chipped Beef on Toast with gravy! ha ha  

The other thing I noticed was ladies did more canning with their surplus fruit and vegetables because convenience food hadn't arrived yet.

 They also prepared a small dessert and it was eaten only a few times a week, if that!
Cake was popular (think pineapple upside down cake made in a skillet) 
and cookies went a long way too.

Fast forward to the year 2011... this ChaCha Momma works full time and needs a few leftovers during the week, so I opted for the Amish recipe that made more.   
It was a great time of reflection learning from history!


8 Cha Cha Bloggers left a comment:

R. Quilter March 20, 2011 at 4:19 PM  

America has become a disposable and fast food society. Like you I prefer slow food with leftovers. Today for "brunch" I made a corn beef strata that included Irish soda bread. It was delicious.

Studying food history is fun! Do you have the Depression cookbook?

ChaChaneen March 20, 2011 at 4:37 PM  

My Farmers Wife cookbook is about as close as I have for the Depression Era. How about you?

Elizabeth and Gary March 21, 2011 at 9:08 AM  

Great cook books! I love leftovers and always cook extra on the weekends. Gary and I are guilty of eating fast food at least twice a week due to our long commute. Hench the weight gain..good old fashion home cooking is the best and Gary and I are trying to cook more at home.
But you know sometimes we just get to tired. LOL
Have a sweet day and hugs, Elizabeth

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? March 21, 2011 at 10:52 AM  

And the moral to this luscious post is do not come on an empty stomach! I am salivating, Janeen! Everything looks so delicious because I'm almost certain it's been made with lots of love! :))

Happy Spring to you and your family, Janeen! :))

steviewren March 25, 2011 at 4:02 AM  

Love your obsercations about the differences in the way America has looked at food through the years.

For years I cooked for 6, so it has been nearly impossible for me to learn to cook for only one. I eat way too much fast food, because I'm tired of cooking after so many years.

Caroline March 27, 2011 at 7:08 PM  

I find the history of food amazing. I think we really do need to re think portion sizes today. It's a sign of the times-if a little bit is good for you, then a lot must be even better(NOT) We have become a very greedy world.

the voice of melody March 28, 2011 at 6:44 PM  

That's very interesting! Sometimes there's just nothing better than sitting down to read a good old cookbook... except maybe one that has a picture for EVERY recipe!

I hadn't been around in quite some time and it was great to read some of your older posts and catch up a bit. :)

Sweet blessings!

Susan April 4, 2011 at 5:56 AM  

Your mention of pineapple upside down cake in a skillet brought back memories!