Before this decision, to take the last step to totally vegan – I was not some meat-eating, fast-food-eating slob that treated myself with candy, chips or McDonald-stuff. Yes! Earlier during my life, I have naturally had both sausages and hamburgers, french fries and sugary candy and cookies. But it has never been the main staple-food for me. It has been the “extra”, the scarcely eaten! And, I never ate such food as I grew up.
When I was little, we had only natural food at my home. We never used the word organic, everything was organic! Didn’t know of anything else! There were meat from the butcher’s, fish from the fish-store, eggs and milk from the farmers nearby, cheese, sausages and other stuff from the shop, and we had also veggies, berries and fruit.
We were living in a house outside the town which had a fairly big garden, and dad was – how shall I put it – a spare time-farmer. He came from a family of small farmers, and his parents – and their parents – and his siblings carried on with their own husbandry. A couple of cows, for the milk; a horse, for working in the fields; hens, for the eggs. The fields gave them potatoes… and I don’t know what more exactly, I was too little at that time to remember!
However, I think they must have had fields that gave them hay to the cattle, maybe wheat and/or rye. For the family they perhaps had – besides the potatoes – carrots, white cabbage, some apple trees for sure, and probably some kind of berries. I remember a huge cherry tree in one of my uncle’s garden. However, in this area where my dad’s family lived, life was mostly focused on producing milk, eggs and potatoes. Well, and meat. To simply – stay alive and go on with their duties!
My dad was born in 1910, so he grew up during two world wars, a fairly smooth post-war-fifties, and later the rise of industrialism. So there were huge changings in peoples lives during those decades. Not least here in Europe. A paradigm shift, I would say.
I knew nothing about fast-food in the fifties, we had none at home and I don’t think it even existed at that time. The “fastest” I remember, was when mum some time – not often – bought ready-cooked yellow pea-soup from the store, because that one tasted so good. Normally she cooked pea-soup herself.
Funny that pea-soup. When cooled it thickened and had been put in some bag (?), of waxed paper I think, so it was formed as a really thick sausage. When selling the soup it was cut in slices, and the customer just had to point how big slice she wanted. Always a she. Never a he. hehe…
I think she also bought liver paté there, and sausages, and cheese. Yes cheese! And I remember once they had live crabs crawling around in a tank at the window. At least I think it was the same shop. Can´t be sure. I was so little she could well place me on the counter, and so little that I only have glimpses of memories from that time. The smell when you entered the shop. The pea-soup. The crabs. Sitting on the counter dangling my legs. All those things must have been extra ordinary. 😀
The time was, then, that house-wifes made all the things themselves. Mom cooked and baked. She preserved fruit, cooked jam and made syrup of the berries she picked in the garden or in the forest behind the house. In the forest she found mostly blueberries and lingonberries (cowberries, it seems that they actually and originally are called). Dad cropped mostly potatoes, but also sugar-peas, carrots, beetroots; strawberry, gooseberry, raspberry, black and red currant, green salad, parsley, dill… he cropped, and she cooked and in different ways preserved. And both had work to go to. Dad full-time daily, mom halftime. As I recall it, a couple of days a week. More as I grew older.
There was no internet way back then… no computers, hardly no television…
We had radio, and libraries – books!
And the nature, the forests, the fields, the lakes – all around
I don’t remember when, maybe already in the end of the fifties or maybe beginning of the sixties – she finally got a freezer. A big box that was installed in a room in the cellar. What a relief for her! No more need for the preservative-glasses and that huge special pot she used for this!
She baked a lot! All the bread we needed, and cakes and cookies. Way too much really, not healthy at all. Nevertheless, those were the times, and it’s understandable! World War two was ended, and with that the restrictions of butter and sugar. As time went by, especially sugar got more and more available, and also cheaper. Much cheaper!
In the south of Sweden sugar-beets took over more and more of the fields. Together with the industrializing and economic growth worldwide, corporations found new ways of earning money and I don’t think anyone at that time understood, what this would mean just a couple of decades later in meanings of health. And it wasn’t only the sugar-business that started to grow exponentially. Everything did!
Hence! Sugar drug addiction was on its rise.
My mom, as one of many, grew accustomed to have free access to cakes and cookies and ate it at least three times a day. 11AM-coffe! Afternoon-coffe! And a piece of sugary wheat-bread before bedtime. She really had a good time with that sugary wheat-bread.
Of course she eventually got diabetes type 2! And at a younger age than I am now. She then died at age 72 due to a stroke, quite obese, with diabetes, after a couple of minor heart-attacks and also at least one, possibly two minor strokes earlier.
Two years earlier my dad had died, also at age 72. He had gotten liver cancer. I was only 31 then. I wish I had had my parents around much longer.
I intend to live till at least 94, staying healthy all that time. And then, at the time of my death, I’ll just calmly fall asleep, smiling in the arms of, after making love to, the love of my life. Whoever that might be.
(Poor him. Hopes he dies to at the same time.)