Friday, November 18, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving Day 17: Easy Bounty

Perhaps I should be thankful today for an ability to count or read a calendar, because I can, despite the fact that I posted "18" before "17." I was trying to rush November, as though it wasn't already flying by fast enough. Indulge me and pretend day 18 is really 17 and vice versa.

I often complain about grocery shopping.  I. hate. it.  Actually, I'm not sure there's any possible way to utilize the English language or font treatments to correctly capture just how much I loathe it.

Sale stuff I've planned a week of dinners of is often out of stock.  Other items I've come to rely on for certain recipes are suddenly removed from stock.  The produce department is rearranged every week. My fellow shoppers seem to be in a parallel universe in which they are alone; I can see them, but clearly they cannot ever see me. Cashiers bag my things in completely illogical ways despite the fact I already organize it all on the belt exactly the way it needs to be bagged. And if it fits, they'll cram it in.  It doesn't matter if I have 50 pounds worth of canned goods in one bag.  It's a miserable place to be most days.

But I always leave with several bags of food.  Food I didn't have to grow, raise, butcher, preserve, and in some cases, cook.  Food that's just there, ready when I want it, in quantity beyond my needs.  Exotic and gourmet food beyond the basics needed for survival is heaped up so much that they can't even put it all on the shelves requiring them to keep some in massive back rooms.

Once upon a time, there was a show called "Frontier House" in which modern souls turned themselves into frontier settlers for a social experiment. At the end of the series, they were rated on their preparedness for winter, because for the real frontier settlers 150 years ago, if you didn't personally grow, hunt or raise/butcher enough, you'd die. It was interesting to watch how unaccustomed to the labor and wait these men and women were.

Thanksgiving is a time at which we recall a celebration by pilgrims and Native Americans.  They celebrated and feasted because they were able to raise, hunt and preserve enough bounty to see them through a long New England winter, unlike earlier years and other settlements.  They knew what it was to starve.


Each week, I waltz in and out in an hour or so, loading up my basket with more food than many people around the world get in a month - or longer.  I tote it home, moaning under the weight of the bags that have to be schlepped into the house, and sighing over the task of putting it all away.  Yet, I didn't have to keep a cow for milk. I didn't have to hunt and butcher something for meat. I didn't have to raise wheat, get it ground and then spend hours making bread.  I not only didn't have to make my own cheese, I can buy it already sliced or shredded. Sure, some of us do can, hunt, raise chickens and beef, but it's optional, a "hobby" instead of survival.

It's crazy-easy, massive bounty I so often take for granted to the point of complaint. I even complain about having to turn it into "dinner" each night.

Which makes me realize it's about that time to head to the kitchen and figure out what "sounds good" for dinner. See? We have such bounty we can decide what we're in the mood for.

Easy, plentiful bounty.

Photos: Microsoft Office unless otherwise specified

1 comment:

  1. And, in developing countries, 80% of the farmers are women - it's the only way they can eat. With hoes in dry, arid ground, hoping that God sends the water. Which, in Somalia this year, He didn't. Many are burying children as they trek to refugee camps.

    Makes grocery shopping sound so much better, doesn't it?