When I scan the news about food trends these days I often wonder what my no-nonsense late grandmothers would think.
Both my grandmothers were great cooks and provided their families with well-balanced and nutritious meals, often on tight budgets. Sure, they liked to try new recipes from time to time, but they knew it was essential to cook well-balanced meals for folks working in the fields or at the local grain elevator, for kids studying in school and those working at home and keeping everything together.
That’s why I think today’s news about food would have genuinely perplexed them. They’d wonder why eggs are now considered a super food after they were almost banned from tables a few years ago? It would be beyond their comprehension why young people flock to bacon festivals like rock concerts and why nutritionists are urging people to remember to eat enough protein. And I’m pretty sure they’d see right through all the wacky food claims bouncing around social media trying to unfairly vilify certain foods or production methods, like GMOs.
It’s crazy today how foodies are breathlessly extolling the virtues of eggs. They seem to have just discovered that eggs provide an affordable source of proteins, essential vitamins and all kinds of other good stuff. That news would be a big ho-hum to my grandmothers. They knew that eggs provided great value when they prepared meals for big families, could be used in variety of dishes and stored well before the days of refrigeration.
Also, a flock of egg-laying hens was a great way to make a little extra money to help the family finances through the Great Depression and other tough times, if you could keep the coyotes and other varmints away.
I’m also pretty sure my grandmothers would wonder about the sanity of young people lining up to attend bacon festivals or the crazy recipes that add bacon to everything from doughnuts to pie to pasta. In my grandmothers’ day, bacon was just a good and tasty way to start the day and they never failed to add a slice or two next to some eggs and toast.
I suspect my grandmothers would also be confused by the big push by nutritionists to get consumers to consume protein. Why would anyone would even consider having a meal without the meats and dairy products that are the essential building blocks of a balanced and nutritious diet? And I can’t see my grandmothers hopping on any fashionable food trends, especially those that are not supported by science.
The bottom line, of course, is that a well-balanced diet complete with a variety of protein sources, carbs and vegetables, makes sense for consumers today, just as it did in my grandmothers’ day.
When it came to eating well, Anna and Dora –like most of the women of their generation—were way ahead of their time.
By Dirck Steimel. Dirck is the editor of the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman.