I’m in the midst of another bout of minimising. It’s getting easier. I am more conscious of what I bring into the house, so there is more going out than coming in at the moment.
Yesterday I went through my cookbooks. Since we no longer eat meat, it seemed a bit silly keeping books that are made up primarily of meaty recipes. I did hold onto my old family cookbooks from Alabama, though. I can’t bear to get rid of them because of all the things my late mom gave me, these best represent who she was – a fantastic cook who enjoyed few things more than feeding other people.
Food is a strong tether. Not many things bind us to childhood and family like the dinners we shared. I was a lucky kid in that respect. My mom fed us simply, but well. She was a meat, starch and vegetable cook, though she could make just about anything. I remember her frying taco shells long before the age of the supermarket and El Paso mass-marketing.
Fried pork chops, country-fried steaks, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and about a hundred different varieties of peas (cream-40 field peas were always my favourite). I eat nothing like this now. And while I don’t miss my carnivorous ways, I do feel a bit nostalgic when I think about my childhood diet. As far as my immediate family goes, these recipes and this way of eating will die with me. But those cookbooks will document our lost way of eating. Maybe somewhere down the line, a distant relative of mine will revive them.