Sunday, March 18, 2007

Day 8 - Results - Food

The above picture is of the liquid heaven that I drank out of a glass bottle for the month of February - milk from a local dairy called Calders. They still sell milk in glass bottles at the local grocery stores, and they still provide home delivery. Unfortunately, I discovered their home delivery service after the project was complete...I may still give it a try one of these days.

Pre-project, I got a hold of a 1949 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, and my mom loaned me a 1936 cookbook. I also looked up several recipes in some 1940's magazines (such as Ladies Home Journal and Home Companion). The recipe that sticks out in my mind was called "Chicken French Toast with Peas" (found in a Ladies Home Journal). It is exactly as it sounds - basically, french toast stuffed with chicken and a side of peas. My intentions were to try several of these recipes...the reality is that I tried very few.

My focus ended up being more of an avoidance of certain foods than trying new ones. I avoided fast food. Some people commented that this was inaccurate - that there were fast food restaurants. I discovered through research that, although there were what would have been considered "fast food' pre-1950s, it really didn't take off until McDonald's perfected the fast food technique in the mid-1950s...and even then, the average town may not have seen a fast food place until the 1960s. So, I decided just to avoid all fast food places altogether. I didn't eat much of it before the project, but I did enjoy an occasional Frosty and fries.

One of the biggest food effects of this project wasn't so much the food itself as it was how I purchased food. Like fast food restaurants, chain, corporate grocery stores were around pre-1950, but they were not the commonplace quite yet. So in an attempt to stay as pure as possible, I only shopped at small, local grocery stores. And, when possible, I tried to purchase locally produced foods. Also, like my gained awareness of fuel consumption, I also became very aware of my food consumption throughout this project...part of this awareness was a result of having to use cash and budget, therefore I became much less wasteful, but a bigger part was really analyzing everything I purchased and ate. What I discovered was that most food has become so chemically altered since the 1950s that it was truly impossible to
eat like people did pre-1950s. I tried my best by purchasing "organic" produce, but even doing so, it wasn't the same as pre-1950 days where people had their own gardens and canned so that they would have home grown, 100% chemical free vegetables in depths of winter. It is my understanding (please correct me if I am wrong) that the label "organic" doesn't mean 100% chemical just means that the produce complies with the standards of what is considered organic enough to receive the "organic" label - whatever those standards may be.

One of the most interesting things I did in terms of food was actually visit the Calder's Dairy Farm (the farm that still sells milk in glass bottles and does home delivery). Someone who has worked their for 15 years gave me an amazing tour of the farm. I got to meet their cows (every one of them had a name), see some of the farming technology that they do incorporate in their farming, and talk to them about the Calder's philosophy. Here's is a quote from one of their brochures:

"The trucks may get newer, the equipment more high tech and people will change, but our mission remains the same; to produce premium dairy products in the perfect container, a glass bottle, delivered to your door with a smile!"

It was so refreshing to see a company that has such a wise balance on the use of technology. They are not anti-technology by any means. They definitely use technology that benefits the farm as long as it does not harm or distress the cows. However, they are only willing to incorporate this technology if their primary mission is not at risk of being compromised. They are happy remaining small and local and producing a quality product and providing quality service...ahhh, the good old days. I was grateful to meet and thank the cows that produce my milk and, for the first time in a long time, really get in touch with the origin of the food that I consume.

Day 9 - Results - Media


BassGuiFloyd said...

I really like this blog. I found it because my band's name is Chicky and my last name is Wall. What a find!

denise said...

How did it go using a cast iron skillet? Were you able to learn how to make pancakes in it? I tried making scrambled eggs in a non-teflon pan and couldn't believe what a mess it made.

Anonymous said...

from Deborah,

In the 40's, we were really excited to go to White Castle for their tiny hamburgers. And I remember going to the Dairy Queen with my grandmother to get "creme de menthe" - soft vanilla ice cream with a green mint flavored coating. The point is that such things were available but only as rare treats.

We very very rarely even went to a restaurant. But we did have fresh garden ripened tomatoes and corn. The tomatoes were so flavorful that one of my favorite sandwivches during tomato season was simply sliced tomatoes and mayonaise. And the milkman brought delicious cottage cheese in addition to milk. Unlike the flabby chemical tasting cottage cheese sold today, cottage cheese was a real treat back then.

Teri said...

If you are making a mess in a cast iron skillet, it's because you don't have it seasoned properly. You need to add oil or grease to it and heat it a bit to soak in. DO NOT USE SOAP ON IT--EVER! Soap takes the seasoning off. You can rinse it with plain water. It takes awhile to season cast iron properly. With ours, things don't stick.

As for fast food, we used to go to A&W when I was a child in the 50s. The root beer floats were popular. I'm sure we had an occasional hot dog or hamburger there but it wasn't something you did on a regular basis.

Wild Blue said...

Ahhh.. A&W - if it had been summer time and the A&W in Dexter was open, we would of gone there every night! She loves A&W... "but it's for the project... really!" ;-)