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He hungers for the good ol’ days

Updated: March 11, 2013 6:12AM



There may be a caloric conspiracy out there. I can taste and smell it. The conspirators are sly, clever and smug.

Some of the evidence is in our crowded pantry — those boxes of many sizes and shapes that hold “take-home” food that is shoveled onto our plates. More than most folks can eat, and the stuff that makes so many people fat before their time.

The box makers and the restaurants are in cahoots. We go along with it without even a whimper. Well, I am in a whimpering mood.

Why can I not order just one sausage link with my waffles? Why does stuff like that come in threes?

Three seems to be a sacred number, like seven is in the Bible. Yes, I know, this helps the take-home-box folks, and restaurants sell a lot of grub.

And another thing about food. Experts continue to promote and promise health food and stuff that will battle cholesterol, a word we didn’t use back on the farm — it sounded like a swear word. These folks make it sound like something we can see crawling around in our doughnuts and pie.

I do not know what has happened to a carrot cake that was vigorously promoted a few years ago. It contained something called “psyllium.” I wrote when in one of my old-age snits that carrot cake itself is an oxymoron. Carrots are good for us, but what are they doing in cake? I am surprised that no chef has created something called “angel food cole slaw.”

Can a food lover overdose on psyllium? There should be some warnings.

I never knew any fat farmers, guys who always cleaned up their plates and never had to ask for a take-home box. Actually we had not heard of that invention, mostly because we almost always ate at home. The main reason farmers usually did not get fat was that they exercised instead of watching television, which had not been invented.

Rural folks ingested lots of grease, sugar, pure milk, slabs of butter churned in the home kitchen, home baked bread, lots of pie, biscuits, sorghum and hominy grits.

What ever happened to hominy grits?

The food folks just had to mess with the making of baloney, or as some folks say, bologna. They mix in turkey and other meat, apparently to make it sound more exotic. Who can eat exotic? Give me real baloney, made from real meat.

Speaking of meat, which I rarely do in fact, I remember “butchering” as a neighborhood project, a kind of social thing involving neighbors, and guys who knew how to slay a pig efficiently with as much courtesy as they could bring into the killing of a pig or two whose time had come. Big kettles of boiling water, sharp knives, teamwork outside and later a lot of finesse where women used their great skill in the smokehouse.

I remember that by the end of the butchering day everything edible from the sacrificial pig had been processed and preserved.

Butchering was a key part of rural life in the days of my childhood.

I think of those days when I shop in the meat section. Modern methods make it easier, but some of the friendly cooperation and fun have disappeared, which only people who were there know about.

It probably is exaggerating to suggest that there is a kind of romantic touch involved in remembering the butchering days back on the farm. But I can see those steaming kettles now, and I am home again, inhaling the aroma.



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