On “The Food We Eat” — October 19, 2022

On “The Food We Eat”

There was a Time…

I read and listen to the “now” generation talking about food. I see that there is a slight shift in the things they want to eat and the ways they think these should be cooked. They talk about “plant based” food. As opposed to what? I ask myself. “Animal based”? 

We search the shelves in the grocery stores for “organic” and pay the high price for so choosing.. How and when and why did this concept come into our lives? Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad thing. But it reveals much about our culture. 

Without realizing it, we are reinventing the wheel, reverting to living in a way  that was the age-old basic lifestyle  of those who are over 60 years of age. I am older than sixty and in my childhood, I never heard the term “plant based” and “organic” applied to our food.  We ate food from plants for every meal. Our food was not planned with a choice that was in opposition to anything. This was a given. Vegetables or nothing. 

Small amounts of protein were stir-fried into the garden vegetables that all mothers cooked. A handful of fried fish or shrimp was all we had to sweeten the palate. Stir fried vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner with dhall, rice, roti or breadfruit. It was no unusual thing to hear my mother calling out to one of her brood, “Go by the front fence and pick all the bora (beans)  and some tomatoes.” 

On week ends there was meat – one meal. A cockerel that couldn’t serve his purpose any longer  would see his last days, or two pounds of beef cooked into a curry with a vegetable to stretch the amount. My mother planted  everything that she cooked for her husband  and nine children. She had a yard full of chickens and ducks. They gave eggs. 

We caught shrimps and crabs when the tidal water rose in the swamps and canals. We fished for snook and basha and catfish  in those same canals. These were cleaned, seasoned, fried in home-made coconut oil and put out in the sun every day to preserve them. We might listen for the conch shell that heralded the approach of the fish-seller with a catch fresh from the sea. There were no refrigerators then. Everything was fresh from the soil or the sea.

We planted, reaped and threshed our own rice that would last the entire year until the next crop was reaped. We bought fresh milk from Uncle Parnel (no relation). My mother sent us with buckets to get the cow manure from his cow pens to fertilize her garden beds. No one knew the word “chemical” could be applied to the word “fertilizer”. From an early age we learned how to spread the cow manure and “tickle” the roots of the plants. The lilies, crepe myrtle, roses, ferns, periwinkles and marigolds grew cheek-by-jowl with tomatoes, beans, peppers, squash, egg-plant and cassava.

Yes,  there was a time when all  we  ate was  “organic” and we didn’t even know it then.  We do now. 

On The Tired Wives’ Resort — October 18, 2022

On The Tired Wives’ Resort

The things we do.

Cook, cook, serve, clean, sweep, vacuum, wipe, make up beds, do laundry, pay bills, shop for food, keep an eye on appointments, clean the yard, trim the bushes, sort the mail, put out the garbage, ….

It has just dawned  on my foggy mind that tired wives need a place where they can go and free themselves of the angst, and  the resentments and frustrations of dealing with irascible, old,  husbands. Retired couples in Japan have solved this in a very unique way. They have two homes.

Couples who are retired especially need this outlet. To be living all day with someone who is reverting into childhood can be emotionally and physically debilitating. Men think that once they retire, it is the wife’s duty to look after them. Who, I ask, must look after ME? The wife?

Think about it. Once in this “getaway”, she  will have a room to herself. Her food will be cooked and served to her  by other people. She will have the TV all to herself. More than all of these, she will not have to listen to complaints,  run around picking up dirty, smelly socks, empty coffee cups, lower the toilet seat, cook things she doesn’t want to eat. Her nights will be silent and sweet because the snorer is somewhere else drumming the walls.

Developers should incorporate this concept into their plans when they are building communities. Put a woman in charge. Set a-fair price for stays. One, two days, ten, thirty depending on the level of frustration and the mood at the time of her departure from her prison.. and how long it will take the old ……. to come to full realization. 

Here freedom rings. She will meet sisters who are of like minds.Share stories of her PTSD.

Learn how to deal with her nemesis. Purge her frustrations. Rejuvenate and then, when she’s back on an even keel, smile, go home  and know that return is always possible. 



ON BEING CONTENT — October 15, 2022


I am content
Are you content too?
There’s a pair of us. 

To spend our days bemoaning 
For what we do not have
To wish for things impossible
Is tiresome and sad.

To be held a vile and vengeful prisoner
By poisonous discontent
To share a cell with greed itself
Is not the soul’s intent.

We two have freed our jealous hearts
Contentment marks our days
We do not want what can’t be had
We’ve tempered our wayward ways.

Look down, look down my fearful friend
See how neglect, and want and care
Have marked the lonely, hapless brow
Of those whose hands are bare.

Give thanks for what you already have
And receive the virtuous reward 
Complain and watch what happens
In hell, your irascible soul’s abode.

So to you my contented friend I say,
We know and understand,

Contentment sings a glad refrain
In hearts that it commands.