I called at my cousin’s house yesterday and she had been looking after her grandchildren. Young Tina had wanted chips* for tea but there were no chips in the freezer so Grandma got a potato, peeled it, chipped it and made the chips the old fashioned way.
Tina was fascinated. She’s nine and she’d never seen how chips are made. She’s in a family where pizza, cake, bread, pastry jam and most other things are made from scratch but not chips. She didn’t know that the starting point is a potato.
So we had the inevitable conversation about what things were like when her grandmother and I were children (we are both in our early sixties). We mentioned door step milk deliveries which happened before we got up. We talked about daily shopping trips for fresh food in those days before our families had fridges. We talked about making bacon and sausages. We talked about eating only seasonal vegetables and the amazement we all felt when Surprise Peas came on the market (anyone else remember those?).
Tina was amazed and thought it all wonderful. But she wasn’t too impressed when we talked about the frequency with which liver appeared on the menu, about having to clear your plate and being offered no alternatives.
I think Tina actually has the best of both worlds: most of her food is prepared from scratch and yet her mum is able to give her the wonderful variety of foodstuffs which we enjoy today.
And she has a Mum and a Grandma who don’t have to spend all their time doing housework and cooking and instead have time to play with her.
*If you happen to live to the west of the Atlantic read fries for chips. What you call chips we call crisps.