Thursday, November 5, 2015

Back to Basics

     Simple.  Organized.  Peaceful.  Happy.  Those are the words that I want to describe my life.  The news media tells us that all we have to do is elect the right people to political office, embrace political correctness, and pass gun control laws to get there.  Modern culture tells us that we need degrees and careers instead of men.  The "experts" tell us to just listen to them - while they change their minds week after week about what is healthy and what isn't.  I don't know about you, but I am exhausted.  And I am about as far from simple, organized, peaceful, and happy as a person can possibly be.

     Have you ever watched Little House on the Prairie?  Carolyn Ingalls sure had those things down pat.  What did she have that I don't? On the surface, I have everything compared to her.  Electricity, running water, a hot water heater, and modern appliances.  Yet, her life had what mine is missing.  Sure, maybe that is because she isn't a real person and it was all written that way.  I admit that is probably the most logical explanation.  Then again... I think of my great grandmother.  Granny's life was a lot more like Carolyn Ingalls than it was like the women of today.  Even with our shiny, modern kitchens, maybe they had something that we are missing.  Maybe it's not "something" at all.  Maybe it was just their lives.  Could it be that life is actually better without all of the extravagant extras that make up today's world?  I think it might be, and I have decided to start my quest in the kitchen.
     I remember watching television where an exceptionally elderly person (like 110 years old) was being interviewed and the interviewer was asking "So, what would you say is the secret to your exceptionally long life?"  I have never heard a single one of those people respond by talking about how they took a multi-vitamin every day, ate a vegetarian diet, and avoided gluten.  So, what did they eat?  Hey!  We have Google!  We can research that information.  Except that I would rather use my common sense to figure this out.  Why?  Because I am not stupid and I don't trust the "experts".  I am perfectly capable of doing this myself - and so are you.

This is a photo of some items taken from my personal pantry.  At one time this photo would have been filled with boxes of seasoned rice, instant potato dishes, meal starter kits, and tubes of cookie dough.

     My great grandmother lived from 1904-1993.  Granny stocked her kitchen with flour, sugar, butter, eggs, milk, vegetable shortening, dried beans, rice...  Never in my life did I see that woman bust open a box of Hamburger Helper.  There weren't any shortcuts.  But we knew exactly what we were eating.  There were no unpronounceable chemicals in her canned vegetables.  That's because her canned vegetables were in glass canning jars processed in a pressure cooker.  Yes!  It's true.  Once upon a time pressure cookers were used for cooking food and not for murdering innocent people.  Shocking, I'm sure, but stay with me here.

     What if the problem isn't the fat, the carbs, the gluten, the caffeine, the sugar, the artificial sweetener?  What if it's as simple as the idea that our food shouldn't be half cooked, processed, treated with chemicals, packaged, and then set on shelves for months before we prepare and eat it?   The answer to everything could be as simple as using common sense and gong back to basics.

     Experts tell us that we shouldn't eat cookies.  They are bad for us.  Duh!  Of course they are.  They are also delicious and I don't know a single solitary person who doesn't love a good cookie.  So, instead of setting an unrealistic standard here and saying "No Cookies!" - which is a rule I will personally never follow - why don't we take a moment to look at the cookies we are eating.

     My cookies: Butter, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Eggs, Vanilla Extract, Flour, Baking Powder, Salt and Cornstarch.  (Yes, my secret ingredient is cornstarch in cookies.  We will talk about that in another post.)  Then I pop in different things.  I have done everything from chocolate chips to caramel pieces to pretzels.
     My cookies are good for about 5 days after they come out of the oven.  Oreos, however, can be safely eaten for roughly 2-3 weeks past the expiration date on the package.  And that expiration date seems to be a few months out when I used to buy them in the store. 

     This is Common Sense Housekeeping, so let's use a little common sense here.  With the barest information in front of us, which cookie seems like the better choice here?  I'm thinking the one made with fresh ingredients that I recognize and that I personally made.  And for the record... I am not disparaging oreo cookies here. Oreos are delightful, yummy treats that make terrific pie crusts and perfect dirt in cute desserts for little kids.  I am not suggesting that Oreos be banished from the planet or that every woman in the world be forced to bake cookies from scratch from here on out. 

     I'm saying that I believe I can find the things that are missing in my life by focusing on a much simpler, more basic life and I have to start somewhere.  Why not with my food?  I can't climb this mountain in a day.  A total overhaul of my kitchen where I throw out every possible item that wasn't in Granny's kitchen is out of the question.  I would be completely overwhelmed and frustrated.  The truth is, I started this process approximately 10 months ago and I want to share it with you.  For now, if you are interested in what I am doing, look at your kitchen and see what one thing you can choose to do for yourself from now on.  I started with potatoes.

     Until next time, be good and be smart.   


  1. So true!! Now I am caught I still use the Hamburger helpers etc I know I prob shouldn't but I do agree! Simple is better! This day of all the processed junk is killing us all!

  2. Don't think it's just you. Ha!Ha! I posted a picture of my meal planner widget today. The Woodfire Grill Pork chops uses McCormick grill mates and tomorrow's casserole uses tater tots. Ahhhh! I gave my weaknesses away! Trust me when I say it's a process.