New Old Ways ~

The hubs and I have been talking quite a bit lately about eating healthy on a budget.   We live in a country with an abundance of cheap, manufactured food of questionable quality and nutritional value.  If you like your veggies fresh, not pesticide laden or genetically modified – sorry, but that will hit your pocket big time.  Maybe you are lucky enough to have a plot of soil and the willingness to put in the time and effort to exercise your green thumbs.  Unfortunately we’re condo dwellers.  And that’s why we love living in the Pacific Northwest where we take advantage of the farm fresh bounty.  Yes, we pay more.  We call it health insurance.  But what do you do when you retire and live on a (much) smaller  budget and still want to eat well?  We’ve been exploring the new/old ways.  You know, how people prepared food in the old days before they worked 10 hours a day and drove through McDonald’s on the way home because they had to be somewhere at 7pm.  These days it has a hip, trendy name – Slow Food.  It’s a movement and apparently we’ve become part of it.  

We’re suddenly cool because we are doing the things our mothers and grandmothers did every day until General Electric decided that they were wasting time and started creating gadgets to take over their work.  Women who spent all of their time working at home were suddenly free!  What did they do with all that free time?  They went outside of the home to work.  This work brought in more money so they could buy more time saving gadgets and because now they didn’t have time to cook an actual meal, they stopped for a pizza.  Many of us know how to “heat” or “nuke” but have forgotten how to cook.  I had.  Of course I married a guy who cooks, but even that was slowly being replaced by eating out or take-out eaten in front of the TV.  Slap me silly, but it’s the truth.

Watch out what you wish for, because you might just get it.  As a child of the 50’s and 60’s and a young woman of the 1970’s I am all for equal rights and equal opportunity and I believe women (and men) should be able to work any darn place they like.  But, in our typical American way, if a little is good – a LOT must be better.   We’ve worked ourselves into a groove so deep, it’s hard to get out.   And not always for the satisfaction of a job well done, but because we needed a bigger house or another TV or (it was always something).   And so on and son on, until…something happens and you lose your job or you are forced to retire or you graduate with your fancy degrees and you can’t find a job that pays enough to cover your student loans.   You’re in deep doo doo Donald!  Like the Broadway play Stop the World I Want to Get Off, it’s all been kinda spinning beyond our control.  What seemed like such a good idea at the time has somehow morphed into Dante’s Inferno.  Ok, I’m exaggerating, but as we’ve been looking at the reality of living the rest of our lives with a lot less, I’m just starting to realize that I sacrificed so much in the name of stuff.   Stuff that is now being given to the Goodwill or sold on ebay or piled into the weekly trash bin.

As far as I know, nobody get’s a do-over on their life.   I’m just glad that we have been given this opportunity to explore the other side – not just the slow food movement but the slower life movement.  We’re working less and making less, but we’re savoring it more.  We have time to cook and share food – home grown, home canned, and home-made with friends and family.   Some of you figured this out a long time ago.  We’re late bloomers.   My husband’s fondest memories are from the 1970’s when he lived in a small beach town in Massachusetts.  Life was simple – focused on family, friends and community.  Entertainment was free – a pickup baseball game or board games and they traded their homegrown harvest for fresh caught lobster.  Did we really give that up for a 45″ HD TV and think we traded up?

As I sat here writing this post, my favorite chef was downstairs making up meal sized batches of lasagna with ingredients left over from our cooking marathon, pasta making, cheese making, birthday celebration yesterday evening.  Does it get any better?  Not much!  We’re grateful for our bounty.

To be continued…


10 thoughts on “New Old Ways ~

  1. Oh yeah so true aye…..remember when they came out with Hamburger Helper we thought it was so cool all in a box? actually I was surprised there was no hamburger…
    Can’t wait to see what you add next…

    • Yep! The modern conveniences that turned out to have no nutritional value but we didn’t know the difference. We’re older and wiser (hopefully). Les froze 6 mini lasagnas, we can share one when you come. Mmmmmm good.

  2. Amen! We picked our last yellow cherry tomatoes last night. Nov 1 and still picking tomatoes. Life is good. Simplify, simplify.
    Meal sized lasagnas! YUM!

    • Lucky you on the tomatoes! I love the circle of Life. We’re going back to simple and loving it. You know that and got out of the rat race a long time ago.

    • Thanks Astra. It’s a good thing I’ve started back at the gym. All this good pasta/home cooking is going to blow my butt up bigger than the Goodyear Blimp!

  3. I lost my job in the recession and haven’t found a new one so I’m also living on a lot less and looking at all of the stuff I have and thinking “WTF”?? I started a travel blog earlier this year and enjoy trying to write for it and getting the whole social media game figured out. I’m having too much fun to take a “real” job again but I do miss the whole having an income thing! But it’s nicer when things are simpler. Now stuff = stress to me and I have no desire to buy anything I don’t actually need. That was a foreign concept to me when I was working! And I not only cook many many more of my meals than previously but they’re healthier too and I no longer throw out nearly as much. I’m a paragon of virtue (not). I’ve made myself sound like some sort of chipper version of Poor Little Match Girl!

    • Hi and thanks for stopping by. I took a quick peak at your blog (love it and will follow your adventures for sure!) and I’m guessing you are “the blonde”. It still amazes me how many of us are going through the same less is more phase and are better for it. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope you come back to visit my blog again. Maybe we’ll see you on the road. I have a crazy blonde sister too and we could swap some wild and crazy adventure stories with you guys.

  4. Now that I’m semi-retired, I’m trying to have a nutritious, tasty dinner ready for my husband when he returns home after his 10 hour work days. I can’t say I’ve been making my own fresh pasta or that I’m a particularly good cook, but our move to a Center City Philadelphia apartment has me adopting what I consider (but may no longer be true) a more European approach to food shopping. That is, I go to smaller stores (i.e. a produce store) or a very small market to buy what I need for that evening’s dinner. Even here, right in the center of the city, we also have a farmers’ market twice a week across the street from us. So, you’re right that it’s more expensive, but I’m trying to figure this out. It helps that we no longer have two ravenous boys living at home with us!

    • Hi Suzanne, I love the idea of shopping frequently for fresh goods at the smaller local markets! It’s what we’ve done in Mexico as well and I picture us living and eating that way when we’re doing our extended stays in Europe. The pasta was easy. It’s having/making the time to prepare things from scratch. I certainly don’t see myself doing this kind of thing every day. But making a day of it to make a huge quantity and then freezing is something we plan to try. We did that last year making tamales. It was fun to pull them out of the freezer for a quick dinner months later and recall the fun we had making them.

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