Throughout my life, and growing up I have had the opportunity to live life closely with my grandparents. Growing up, we spent a lot of time with them, and now, I live with my grandma. My grandpa passed away about 8 years ago and as my grandma has gotten up in age (87) the extra company has just made certain areas of life easier for her.
I have wanted for some time now to “interview” her about what food was like for her growing up. If you know my grandmother though, interviewing her isn’t much of an option. Let’s just say she is pretty good and easily going from one topic to another without much warning. Last night though, the opportunity presented itself to talk with my grandma about a lot of things in her life. We were able to touch on some topics about food and how it played a role in her life. Although this isn’t really one story, it’s a few stories that really gives light to the problem with food in our society (or at least what my grandma thinks it is) as of now. So grab a seat, a cup of tea (or coffee if you must) and get ready to chuckle here and there!
a picture of my grandma with some of her grand kids
Grandpa and the Pot of Soup
This story came from me asking the question, what was a common meal your mom would make you growing up?
“My dad (Leah’s great grandfather) grew up on a farm. It was common for him to come in from working outside and want something to eat. His mom would often put some soup on the stove and keep it there all day long. This way, whenever him or the other workers were hungry, there was something to eat. Soup became something very common for us to eat. One time, I was in the hospital and grandpa (Leah’s grandfather) decided he was going to make some soup so I could rest and feel better. He knew that I would always make soup with some sort of bone in it. So when he was done making the soup, he brought me some. Low and behold he put an entire pot roast in the soup. In his defense, there was a bone in it.”
Francis and the Chicken
I asked my grandma, Would your mom go grocery shopping once a week like mom’s do now a days or was it different?
“Back when I was growing up, you didn’t buy chicken from the store. Instead, you went down to the market and picked out a live chicken. The farmer would then chop the chickens head off and you would take it home. My mom would have me go down and do this. Once though, my best friend Francis found out that my mom would have me do this. See, Francis would have to do the same thing for her mom but couldn’t stomach it. So Francis would have me do it. We would go all the time, we would walk down to the market and Francis wouldn’t look while I picked out the chicken. Then I would bring it home for her. She didn’t like to even touch it. But the chicken sure was good. Nothing like what you get at the store anymore.”
Grandma and the Long Walk to Work
This story came from me asking my grandma if she and her friends/sisters every purposely exercised.
“Well, you see we didn’t always have enough cars for everyone. To get to work I had to walk a mile, then take 2 buses and a street car. By the time I got home from work I had walked two miles and I was way to tired to exercise. Plus, there weren’t a bunch of half naked ladies all over the place on bill boards to show you what you weren’t. And all of you girls now a days want to get back to something or other that you were before you had a baby. Back in my day, we just had babies, and if we were a little softer after, well that was ok. That was just part of life.”
Earl and the White Castle
This story came about after I asked Grandma what she thinks the reason is for so much obesity in our society.
“Back in my day, you didn’t just go up to a hamburger joint every day. White castle was the first hamburger place around and you just got a slider, not a quarter pounder. And when we did get a slider, it was a big treat. My brother Earl and I would walk up to a White Castle every once in a while and we would get enough sliders for everyone in the family to have one. Sometimes, we would get enough fries so that we would share. Maybe 2 or 3 people per order of fries. Now a days, you guys just go up to McDonalds one day and order a burger, fries and a pop and then the next day you go to Burger King and get a Big Mac (she’s 87, she can call a Whopper a Big Mac and get away with it), some onion rings and another pop. You know Leah, it’s no wonder everyone is so fat!”
Home Economics and the Egg Cup Recipe
I don’t know how this story came about, as I said she is quick to switch topics… but I thought it was good non the less.
“One time, for just a year my family lived on a farm. It was the stupidest decision my father ever made and I thought my mom was going to kill him a few times for it. That year, I was at a school that had home economics. That year I made a really nice flannel night gown and then we made a really fun recipe. We took a cupcake baking dish, and placed one piece of slightly cooked bacon n the bottom of it. Then we would crack an egg in each cup, then just bake it. See, back then, we didn’t have T.V. telling us that we shouldn’t eat eggs or bacon, we just ate whatever food was around.”
My grandma is a trip, she is the sassiest, funniest and most concerned 80-something year old I have ever met. When we were all done talking last night she said to me, “Leah, I know why you asked me those questions… don’t worry about being soft for your wedding. You know sometimes it’s better for the groom to get the worst before the better as far as “for better or for worst’ is concerned.” I honestly don’t know what to make of that comment and I’m ok leaving it at that!
All of these Saturday stories are to show you a new perspective on food and fitness. There are so many people in this world who look at health in so many different ways. Remember that if you are struggling with your weight, health or physically feeling good that you most definitely are not alone. Maybe if we start asking more questions, we can learn a thing or two from other people about our own health, food and fitness.
If you have enjoyed this “story”, check out the past Saturday stories. Here is Amy’s story about how she has lost weight, Coop’s about how food is different outside of America, and mine on how food has taken shape in my life.