I have become weary of worrying about the debt ceiling as well asÂ the leak in my bathroom ceiling.Â Life can beÂ downright scaryÂ sometimes, and the nitwits in Washington seem to have declared Halloween early this year.Â Boo!
Iâve had to turn off the television set because itÂ rattles my cageÂ to see Congress and the administration play with our lives as if we were a pack of dominoes about to be set up and kicked over.
As a diversionary tactic, I have become enamored with reading vintage cookbooks and enjoy learningÂ about how our mothers and grandmothers got meals on the table during even harder times than these.
(Note that I say âtable.âÂ Iâm wondering how many families still eat at a table on days other than holidays.)
I inherited my grandmotherâs 1953 Souvenir Edition of the Better Homes and Gardenâs âNew Cook Book,âÂ and my motherâs ââWomanâs Home Companionâ published in 1942 and given to her as a weddingÂ gift.Â
But my absolute favorite is my grandmotherâsÂ dog-eared copy of âHollandâs Cookbookâ published in 1923.Â This must have been the cookbook Granny Clampett used in the Beverly Hillbillies!
It gives detailed instructions on how to makeÂ pigeon pie, fried beef brains and baked sweetbreads (if you donât know what those are, Iâm not going to tell you, but suffice it to say thereâs no sugar anywhere in the dish).Â Measurements are given in teacups and âpinchesâÂ â both large and small.
Iâve learnedÂ how to render lard, catch and cook a âpossum, and make sausage casings from the entrails of a pig.Â Pardon me if youâre reading this and having sausage with your breakfast.Â
Thereâs an entire chapter devoted to âchevon,â which I learned is goat meat, and another on âforcemeatsâ which I deduced to be something along the line of Spam and meat loafs.Â
I can now make butter without a churn, but Iâll needÂ a dairy cow. I also learned how to preserve eggs in a solution of lime-water.Â Does anyone know if itâs legal to keep chickens in your backyard in the city?Â Or where to buy a rooster and a hen?Â
I also learned helpful hints from the book, such as keeping an open glass of chloride of limeÂ in your kitchenÂ to get rid of pestsÂ like flies, insects, rats and mice.Â Think it might work on Congress?
Bottom lime: If and whenÂ the economy collapses, Iâll beÂ ready.Â
Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement.Â She welcomes comments atÂ www.deludeddiva.com.View more articles in: