My grandmothers (the regular grandmother, known as Big Gram, and the great grandmother known as Little Gram) were preppers: not on purpose or even by design. They just were. Food was a constant chore. Fast food was a luxury in the sixties, when I was a girl, and a novelty, something that you saved for a special weekend occasions.
My grandparents ate three meals a day—at a table, together—morning, noon, and night, because they owned their own family business.
Someone (Big Gram or Little Gram) was always preparing to cook, cooking, or cleaning up from cooking. They made food. Their house was full of staples, the ingredients for cookies, not cookies from a bag. They always had a stockpile of basic ingredients on hand and only shopped for perishable items on a weekly basis: milk, eggs, and butter. Vegetables and meat they canned themselves.
They were always ahead of the food prep game. Of course, my Little Gram had been born when iceboxes were cooled with blocks of actual ice and they both lived through the Great Depression and WWII. They were survivors and unwitting preppers. In their experiences governments failed and the world caught fire—once in a while.
As I thought about these Danish immigrants in my heritage, I realized that prepping isn’t some new, silly fad; prepping is what you have to do when food isn’t easy. It’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle we may have to re-visit in some distant or not so distant future.
I take a lot of guff from the younger generation in my family about my efforts to stay ahead of the food prep game.
“So what have you been up to this week, Mom? Digging a bomb shelter under the barn?”
Hardy har, har.
I just smile, count my number ten cans and remember my grandmothers peeling the stems on the broccoli and carefully chopping every single bit of the vegetable from the top to the bottom—wasting nothing.
Linda (Prep Now) Zern