Recession Vs. Great Depression: What Are You Eating?


Posted by Jennifer Heigl

If you’re like most folks, you’re knee-deep in the economical crunch, especially when it comes to food. Strangely, though gas and energy prices have decreased, food prices continue to skyrocket, particularly during this holiday season.

But is it really so bad? With food on our shelves, and overstocked supermarkets on every corner, perhaps we’re not remembering how difficult it could be. We’ve all had family members regale us in long-lost lore about mayonnaise sandwiches, sharing a loaf of bread amongst a whole neighborhood, or making tomato soup from leftover ketchup.

In an article last week, Los Angeles Times reporter Mary MacVean spoke to a few senior citizens who remember the food struggles of the Great Depression – and I’m not talking about the day your neighborhood Starbucks ran out of scones. From milkweed pods with grated cheese to mystery pot pies, older generations were appreciative of the foods they had available.

Cooking everything that came their way was a way of life for Hattie Adkins’ family. She was just a girl in the ’30s, when her family lived on a farm in Raeford, N.C., but her memories are strong. Her family and those around them ate what was ripe and ready, never thinking of themselves as “locavores,” just taking advantage of what was cheapest and best-tasting.

With the continued increase in food prices, and reduction in food availability year-round, perhaps it’s time to get back to the old ways of feeding ourselves and our neighbors, through community gardens, raising our own meats and dairy, and harvesting food items seasonally and locally.

Perhaps, dare I say, it’s time to get back to cooking for ourselves.

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  • Ellen says:

    This may seem backwards, but I occasionally use a service that delivers groceries. So though I pay a $10 charge for the convenience, I find that building my shopping list online, while planning my weekly meals, cuts down on the cost of impulse buys. That and the forethought forces me to build every meal efficiently so that there is no waste – no throwing out unused produce…

    That said, I’ve been eating Eggo waffles morning and night for weeks now because the thought of preparing food leave me exhausted.

  • Ellen says:

    You reminded me of a tactic my friend’s mother used for grocery lists: She had a word doc with all the sections of the store listed as category headings, based on the layout of the store they frequented. Also listed were the staple items that they buy each week. She’d print the list and leave it in the kitchen so that when an item ran out, the family was responsible for adding it to the list. When shopping day arrived, she could hand this list to one of her boys (that’s right, boys) along with a grocery card and voila! It practically doubled as a compass of the grocery store. Worked like a charm 😉

  • Lela says:

    I totally agree that a good list makes all the difference. Also, building up a collection of recipes for different types of meat allows you to buy things on sale and freeze for later!

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