Thursday, November 20, 2014

Do you ever wonder about the history of food?

Homemade croutons to accompany French Onion soup. Yes.

Do you ever wonder about the history of food? I do. Especially simple, delicious recipes. I think my fascination began years ago when I first started reading about the "simple life"...self-sufficiency, making food from scratch, growing your own, raising chickens, that kind of thing. It could get a bit overwhelming, I'll admit, but some of the info stuck with me.

I think what struck me most was the ability people had to make a little stretch a long way to feed a family. There is a video series I love, Great Depression Cooking. Clara is adorable, rest her soul. She had some great ways to make food stretch. This is another interesting video series, people really worked hard to feed their families. We've got it pretty good, I'd say.

Some of the foods that got me thinking recently were French toast and French onion soup. They are so simple and made with such few ingredients I can't help but think these were recipes born out of necessity...out of lack...someone used what they had in an effort to feed their hungry family and created something delicious. This utilizes two of my favorite things...good food and resourcefulness.

I decided to do a quick search and came across a site that lists the history of food... Food Timeline. I instantly knew I wanted to share it. I can't wait to really take some time to dig in and look around. I am intrigued with food history. A couple of summer's ago I read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder...partly because I hadn't read it since childhood and partly because I wanted to see if there was reference to how they cooked, what types of foods they prepared, what they ate during that time period. And she did...she wrote of making cheese and of making maple candy by freezing syrup in the snow, just two I can think of off the top of my head.

Feeding our families is a big job. And if we want to feed them good, healthy food, it's an even bigger job. I'm not gonna lie, working full-time puts a damper on the "make from scratch" ideal. I prepare my family convenience foods more often than I'd like to admit. But I try to balance it out...boxed mac and cheese with a fresh salad...or instant mashed potatoes (yes, you read that right!) with fresh steamed green beans and a seared steak. (I'm telling you, this meal can be ready in like 15 minutes!) I figure it's a good compromise. And my family's not complaining!

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