Thursday, November 1, 2012
Cooking and life in the 1800's
Cooking like they did in the 1800's was much different than it is today. If things go awry and we have to go back to basics do we all have the knowledge, recipes, and or equipment to accomplish what we will need to do to be self sufficient. We would have to eat differently, cook differently, obtain our food differently than we do in todays world. That is why I think that many people will have a hard time surviving any collapse of society. The ability to live without electricity alone would be totally catastrophic to most people. We have only been slightly inconvenienced by power outages in the U.S. in my lifetime. The longest I have had to go without power was 2 1/2 weeks. Many had to do without in the U.S. for much longer after some of the weather and seismic anomalies. Most of us haven't really had to do it on our own though. Fema came in and supplied water and ice and offered shelters in the local schools and other large buildings. We cannot count on the Government to come to our rescue when the whole country is having a problem. They just don't have the resources to take care of all of us. Let's take a look at how we would eat when we are without power and running water. Also when we don't have grocery stores to go to when we are out of something. We will have to make do or do without. I know that we will be eating much less meat even it we have food storage if we live in a city or suburb. We can only store so much meat in most situations. So we will be eating much more rice and beans, garden vegetables for those of us who will be gardening and will gradually use the items that we have put aside. Instant potatoes, dehydrated foods, commercially canned foods, home canned/bottled foods, etc. will have to be spread out to give some relief from food boredom. I personally plan to have meat as a flavoring in dishes instead of having it as a meat course. Beans will be much more pallatable with ham flavoring to give it a boost in flavor. Chicken will be a welcome addition to a rice casserole. But even that will have to be sparingly done or we will run out of meat very quickly. If you live in an area that will allow you to raise chickens and rabbits then by all means do so. The eggs from the chickens would give you a much more varied diet than having beans so often. I have started cooking dried beans much more often and I use them on their own for the first meal and then as refried beans in burritos, or in chili, or on salads. I also have been getting my family used to eating bean chili with only a some beef bouillon for flavoring in the chili. Next I will be adding lentil and breadcrumbs to my ground beef for cooking things like spaghetti, stroganoff, and soups made with ground beef. I am hoping that getting my family used to seeing and tasting the beans and legumes in their ordinary dishes will acclimate their digestive tract to them as well as help them to transition to meals with no meat in them. Homemade bread made from whole grains is another food we need to acclimate our digestive system to as well. I don't want to spend the first month I have to make everything from scratch on the toilet as I am sure would happen to us after the drastic change from processed white breads and cakes to the whole grain varieties. We will be eating more bread than we do now because it is filling and comforting. When a child is hungry a slice of toast with cinnamon sugar or jam is a good holdover for them. When kids are presented with foods that they don't like but you have to prepare such as beans and rice. A slice of bread and a bit of peanut butter my give them a reprieve once in awhile or should I say the rest of the family a reprieve from hearing the child argue and fuss. Learn a lot of things you can do to hide beans in to increase the family's protein intake. Mashed beans can be hidden even in brownies! It makes a good oil substitute and makes the brownies healthier and no one can tell. Most kids will eat refried beans in tacos or burritos and lentils you can hide in spaghetti sauces and casseroles. Most kids love vegetable or minestrone soup so make sure you have beans in these. My family is not big rice fans but they will eat it with gravy or as spanish rice or in a casserole so I will have to be creative. They also like fried rice with bits and pieces of leftovers in it. If you are going to grow rabbits to eat. Don't expect city raised children to eat it if they see you dispatching the animals. Do it when they are sleeping or busy elsewhere and then cook it in a way that they will think it is chicken, like soups, pot pies, or rabbit and dumplings. Let the children feed and take care of the chickens if you have them. They will collect the eggs and be proud that they are bringing protein to the table. Also let them help in the garden. Planting seeds, weeding with supervision, and harvesting will make them want to eat their greens and broccoli much better. After all everyone should praise them about how wonderful the food is and how it is due at least partially to their hard work. This is the way it was in the old days except back then the kids would watch the animals being butchered from birth and thought of it as a natural process. They will have to be adapted to it gradually in the new society of our future. They will adapt but I don't want them to starve because they are eating Peter or Brier Rabbit. You might let them have a Doe rabbit as a breeding pet and then let them know upfront that the babies for the most part will be raised for eating. And promise that every couple of years you will let them have another Doe for raising as a breeder when the other rabbit becomes too old to breed well anymore. Well, I will stop here for the time being and write more another time. Thanks for reading my ramblings.