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    Eating Like Peasants

    November 13, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    Ihave recently been having a slew of thoughts regarding technology. My first thought was due to reading a post from The Common Room where the author wrote about the duties of women as related to technological invention:

    One prime example was the introduction of the cooking stove. Women did not have to do their cooking over a fire anymore, which did make life somewhat easier. On the other hand, the cooking stove with its many compartments and varying temperature capabilities, mostly did away with the one-dish-meal so prevalent beforehand. Now instead of a stew with some sort of side bread, a good meal was expected to have multiple dishes. The standard of housekeeping was raised.

    In harmony with this is a broader observation made by my friend, Rahime, who has been reading Technopoly. She wrote:

    I have always had a love-hate relationship with technology. I do love it, in general. The problem is this: it seems as if, rather than decreasing my workload, my workload gets heavier with increased technology.

    Sometimes, I feel like there should be “more” to our meals than there is. I have met people who have two different types of vegetables in addition to the main dish. I have been a guest in homes where every single food group is served at every single meal. I have observed homes where every meal seemed like a feast. And I have felt the pressure in this area on more than one occasion. The technology is there, and a wife is expected to use it.

    My home is not like this. I have confessed this already.

    A while ago, I walked through a model home and drooled all over the six-burner stainless steel stove. It gleamed at me, and dared me to prepare a feast. And I remember when Abondante Living debuted, and suddenly the idea of resting on the Sabbath got mixed up with extravagant feasts that, frankly, made me think that peasants weren’t fit for the Lord’s Day, and perhaps our tables were a disgrace to Him.

    And then I began to think what a curse technology is to us. With the lightbulb came a 12-hour workday away from home. With the phone came endless interruptions to life in the home. With the train and plane came the ability to live far from each other without feeling overly guilty. And with the multi-burner oven came the plague and pressure of the perfect side dish.

    Now, to all of this, I say humbug!

    Yes, we eat nutritious food. My children eat said nutritious food approximately seven times a day, actually.

    But we have come to eat like peasants.

    For breakfast, we have porridge. My long term goal is to have five different porridges, one for each weekday. Right now, we only have four: teff {maskal}, amaranth, oats, and corn {aka “grits”}. Lunch is typically leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. And dinner is a one-pot meal with perhaps one side, like bread, brown rice, or salad.

    One pot meals are great. Put them on early and let them simmer all day long, filling the home with their fragrance. There is nothing like cooking food to make a house a home. As long as they contain a good variety of foods, the children should get their vitamins just fine, especially if they also drink some good, old-fashioned, unadulterated milk.

    That’s it.

    No more pressure for me. No more saying that because I can, I should. In fact, I now wonder whether feast days are really significant if we eat a feast every day? Sometimes contrast is everything, especially when dealing with small children.

    So are feasts wrong? How about side dishes?


    I suppose all I really wanted to say is that sometimes it is okay to eat simply. To eat…like a peasant.

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    1 Comment

  • Reply Rahime November 15, 2007 at 8:14 am


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