Patience is not in the American psyche. We believe in independence and instant gratification. That’s why we invented the credit card. We can buy whatever we want when we want it. Usually we want it today or tomorrow. You don’t have to save up money to buy something; just use your plastic card! What a life. As long as you have money or a credit card, you can buy it RIGHT NOW!
Imagine my shock at the grocery store when I found out that I could only buy two pounds of hamburger. The price had certainly gone up, but even if I was willing to pay the price and had the money, they were not going to sell me any more. What an outrage! Rationing was something I had never experienced. Something that only happened in third world countries. I vaguely remembered my grandmother talking about rationing during the depression and the second World War, but that was a long time ago. My grandmother never even had a credit card.
This was to prevent hoarding, which I thought was some television show. During the Depression hardly anyone had any money. Most of the nation was poor. They believed in “making do, making things over, handing down clothing or DOING WITHOUT.” What an un-American idea! No wonder they were a bit strange. They saved everything: old clothes, string, paper bags, etc. The stories they told about old times seemed unbelievable. They used catalogs for toilet paper. Old clothes were cut up and made into quilts. I don’t think that paper towels had even been invented. “Waste not, want not” was their mantra. They even cut buttons off old clothes and saved them in glass jars. They depended on my grandpa to hunt and fish to put food on the table. They developed a taste for squirrel, venison, all kinds of fish including carp and catfish from the Root River. I guess rivers weren’t polluted back then.
Grandma picked wild berries, helped with their huge garden and canned most of the produce. She even had a recipe for “mock apple pie” made from Ritz crackers and spices instead of real apples. She canned tomatoes, corn, green beans, beets, and rhubarb jam. Grandpa grew cabbage and made his own sauerkraut in a Red Wing crock in the basement. Shoes were precious so they were well-cared for and polished often. Sometimes they were stretched to fit another foot size and re-heeled. There were shoe repair shops. I shook my head and talked about the five pairs of shoes in my closet.
When I felt sorry for them, they said it hadn’t been that bad because everyone else was in the same boat. Then they wondered aloud about anyone needing five pairs of shoes. They agreed that I must have great expectations about life. They thought I was spoiled! I thought I needed more, just like all my friends. Now I think young people are spoiled.
Spoiled or not, we are all going to have to make sacrifices (like staying at home) and adjust to shortages. We are going to have to learn patience and perhaps lower our expectations. Past generations have all lived through hard times and made it. I just wonder how long I am going to wait to buy Lysol spray, and hope I don’t run out of toilet paper. I don’t even have catalogs to use!
If you encounter meat shortages and/or high prices, remember that eggs and beans are good sources of protein.
Sheet Pan Eggs in a Basket
8 plain or savory bagels or 1/2 inch thick country style bread
1 and 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs such as oregano or parsley
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400º. Coat a 15×10 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. For bagels with small holes, or bread slices, use a 2” round cutter to enlarge holes.
Arrange bagels, cut side down, on prepared pan. Crack an egg into a glass measuring cup and pour into a bagel hole. Repeat with remaining eggs and bagels. Season with salt and pepper. Top with tomatoes, half of the herbs and the cheese.
2. Bake 10-12 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Top with remaining herbs. Serves 8.