Last month a slew of blog articles highlighted Clara, the grandmother who had put out a series of Depression Cooking videos on YouTube (see YouTube – Depression Cooking\). It took me a while to get around to watching them, but it made me stop and think about how I do things and why.
Back in the Depression, resources were scarce. People simplified their lives to make scarce resources stretch. People grew their own food, and did many things themselves rather than paying someone to do them. They also repaired items rather than buying new.
Clara points out in her recipe for eggs and peppers that they saved the seeds from the peppers so that they could grow more pepper plants. How much simpler than going to the store and buying seeds! By searching for useful things that would be thrown away, they were able to make things stretch far.
How It Applies To Today
The world economy isn’t great right now. Neither is the environment. By taking lessons from the Great Depression, we can make the most of what we are using. This is desirable both from a frugal and green standpoint, as well as a great life simplifier.
For example, if we save seeds and plant them in the garden, we are creating our own food source, as well as cutting down on what is thrown out. By creating a compost pile (or turning to worms for composting) we can cut down on what gets thrown out and produce good things for our soil and plants.
By repairing items instead of throwing things out, we make them last as long as possible, and cut down on our landfill contributions. If there is any use left in them we can give them away to someone who can use them. By re-purposing glass jars into storage containers, we reuse what we have, cut down on the demand for oil-based plastic products, keep items out of the waste stream and protect our health (no BPH in glass!).
What It Made Me Realize
Watching Clara cook made me realize that not every meal has to be a fancy production. It simply has to meet the standards of good nutrition. And simple food doesn’t have to be bland, as the egg-and-peppers clearly demonstrated. By getting away from the recipes, I have returned to simpler foods. This in turn lowered our food bills and freed up time for me to do other things.
Clara also reminded me that some things should be a treat. She was allowed coffee only on Sunday. How often do I go out for a fancy coffee? How much coffee goes to waste at home as a result of my habits? By treating “treats” as special, they are more appreciated when I do get them, and save me money as well.
If you haven’t watched the videos, take a few minutes and do so. You might be surprised at the lessons we can bring forward into the present.