By Judy Reiss
When we were young, no one that I knew ever thought about or discussed whether you were being fed anything unhealthy or inappropriate. Think abort it. When we were young, do you remember coming home from school and been given a snack of plain old white bread with butter and sugar on it? If your mother did that today she would probably be arrested! Actually there are so many things that I can remember I don’t dare tell anyone about them. And you know, it isn’t just the food that we were given to eat either. I don’t know about you but the rule in our house was you had to finish everything on your plate or you had to sit there until you did. One of my most terrible memories was sitting at the dining room table, long after everyone else had left, and staring at my plate of very cold yellow squash all mashed up and waiting for me to eat it! What I don’t remember was actually eating it. I guess I did because I am here now!
It isn’t just eating habits that have been either disregarded or forgotten either. Children were given rules on how to behave with their elders or at least someone else’s elder. If you were fresh to an older person, somehow your parents would find out and believe me, your punishment wasn’t a “timeout” either. And because he or she was always older than you, your teachers came right into that rule. Actually in our house the teacher was always right. I think if she set you on fire, somehow it would have been your fault! I know the thought of going to the principal’s office was more like a horror threat, even though in high school I had a very nice principal!
Besides food and behaviors, what else has changed dramatically? Well, several things come to mind. First and foremost is a male or female would not wear the clothes our children and I mean even children wear today. In many places, little girls are dressed like I don’t know what, but the only word I can think of is a grown woman of the street. You know what I mean right? And by the time girls become teenagers they wear long pants that are so tight it is a miracle that they can figure out how to put them on! And their shorts? Well, if you are very careful you can see their shorts, which are so tight and so short, normal underwear really wouldn’t fit beneath them. But they have figured out what to do. They wear thongs. Do you know what a thong is? It is a tiny piece of elastic that is worn low on the hips and a lacy shoelace between the legs. I’m not kidding you, it is my opinion that the thong wearer is going to spend time in the hospital. And we all know that ragged, dirty and unattractive is the choice of both girls and boys.
Now I am sure you think I have forgotten the boys, but I haven’t. Boys these days wear shorts. Not just in the summer but all year round. Now these aren’t really unattractive; they are just weird when the temperature is way below zero. They also wear sneakers that cost at least double what I paid for my first car! And if they have to get “dressed up” for some occasion, they will wear a white shirt but it is worn hanging out of their pants and seldom with a tie.
But I have left out my most awful style of this century. Men (who should know better) and boys wear their baseball caps either backward or forward, all the time! It makes no difference where they are going or who they are talking to, the cap is the prime piece of clothing, never to be removed. I must tell you that when I see an older man hunched over a table and eating with his hat on, I have to use every bit of self-control not to walk past him and knock it off! He should definitely know better.
No longer are children taught how to behave. It seems that they are given a pass on learning how to conduct themselves either in public or at home. Whatever they want is given to them and whatever they don’t want to do is considered appropriate. I do wonder what kind of adult they will turn out to be. Actually I think if you watch any TV at all and watched the presidential campaign, you already know the answer to that question.
What I really wanted to discuss with you today is our food. I don’t think it was until I was quite old before I started to learn about additives in our food. And by additives I mean things that will ultimately kill you. And when I learned all about that stuff, I started to be more aware about what I bought for my family. And now I buy all our meat locally. True it is probably a little more pricey, but I also know that they aren’t kept in cages or huts and given food that makes them grow bigger and faster than God ever intended. And chicken? Well, what they are fed and how they are kept is horrendous. So I buy my eggs locally and the difference is not just amazingly different in taste, just look at the yolk. Store bought eggs are not only much older, their yolks are light, light yellow. The eggs we eat have a yolk that is bright orange, taste better and the chickens which lay them are allowed to range free and only go into the hen house at night! An amazing difference for everyone including the hens!
Now that I have given you something to think about, keep in mind the holiday season is approaching and of course, sooner than any of us are ever ready. But it also gives you time to buy the groceries that you need. So this year try and buy as much as you can locally. We are very lucky that we have farms and neighbors who grow the vegetables that are good for us to eat. And right around me we have several farms that are growing their own meat. Believe me, you can really taste the difference. Without the additives they put in feed animals food, you will never try that stuff again. I’m not good enough to tell you about all the wonderful vegetables that are available to us, but I do know that in Waitsfield we have the best lettuce grown anywhere. I’m not sure about the price but I do know that it is delicious and almost never goes bad! So do yourself a favor and try and make this holiday an additive and or poison free season
Of course, I have to make an exception. When we were all young, we ate sugar on bread, cookies that were made in our kitchens, drank Kool-Aid and ate candy whenever we could get it. And none of us died! Give your kids a treat once in a while and you would be surprised, it not only is delicious, it makes your house smell great, too. Sugar is a lot better for you and your kids than all the artificial sweeteners, and it tastes a lot better, too.