Food map story

To the Editor: The recent Addison Eagle story about Kayla Races food map was very interesting. She explored her genuine curiosity concerning the travels of our food, and did a good job visualizing it. Some environmental activists see the increasing travel of food as a bad thing, and hope to reverse it. Before those of us old enough to remember the old days are all gone, somebody should collect stories of how things used to be. My mother never took a job off the farm, but worked at home all her life. Betty Friedan and others consider that a shameful thing. But in the days before the transport and factory processing of food, to feed our family of 6 at home plus many guests, mother superintended the canning of 1100 quart jars of food ranging from stewed tomatoes to chicken stock to grape juice. Every day of summer, she put out some 3 batches, 6 to the batch, of canned food. Betty Friedans notion of womens work requires easy transportation of processed food. Mother also froze some things, though the technology for that was very new to her. Right through World War II, citrus was so unusual that churches in our city all got together to make sure that each school child got at least one orange around Christmas time. The produce sections of grocery stores got rather bare in mid-winter. There would be iceburg lettuce, a little bit of celery or parsley for green. Iceburg lettuce was specially developed to withstand travel packed on ice. Celery and parsley could, in southern Pennsylvania, be kept in the ground outdoors covered with straw all through the winter. Otherwise, public markets had just potatoes, squash, carrots, and roots like beets and parsnips which could be covered with straw. For most farm families, the winter diet consisted of a breakfast of porridge, dinner of cured pork, sauer kraut, potatoes and home canned vegetables, and supper of bread with some soup. It was not a bad diet, but by current standards, very monotonous. To eat as locally as my parents generation did, the American love affair with ethnic and diversified diet would have to be relinquished. Bruce P. Shields

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