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November 9, 2011
Would Grandma Recognize the Food in Our Refrigerator?
By: Diane Becker
A few years ago, I discovered provolone cheese. There it was in the deli case on sale next to the tried and true Colby Jack. Bold shopper that I am, I had a half-pound sliced and bagged for my family. It’s a regular purchase now, right along with extra dark chocolate and vanilla bean ice cream. Thanks to the wide offerings of grocery stores, and to the specialization and entrepreneurship of farmers, we’re able to buy items unheard of by our grandparents.
Two-generations ago, a shopper would have bought a loaf of bread and a half gallon of milk at the grocery store and called it good. They wouldn’t have gone over the vast bread department looking for flatbreads to make a gyro sandwich. As for the milk, people now have the choice of drinking raw milk, goat milk, soymilk or coconut milk. Grandma only had to choose whether to bring home 2% or skim.
I’m not sure yogurt was ever in my ancestors’ refrigerators. Now you can choose from Greek yogurt, NoGurt and frozen yogurt sticks. Blackberry pomegranate Yoplait, anyone?
Speaking of pomegranate, did anyone over the age of 30 grow up eating that?
When I was young, we surely never had bagels. We also didn’t have salsa, hot pepper jelly, dried cranberries, or honey dew melon. Our spaghetti was yummy but not accompanied by garlic bread sticks. No lettuce salad I ate as a kid ever had large black olives and feta cheese in it.
Take a look in your refrigerator and pantry. What’s in there that you wouldn’t have found 20 years ago? I know back then I wouldn’t have reached for a vitamin drink or a bottled smoothie.
My grandma would have looked at me blankly if I would’ve asked to borrow some Nutella, olive oil or sea salt. There was only one spread-peanut butter, one oil-vegetable and one salt-Morton.
I’m not sure Grandpa would’ve eaten bean sprouts but he probably would have liked blooming onions with mustard sauce. Grandma didn’t have a microwave so she didn’t have any microwave popcorn on her shelf. She might have had Minute Rice but probably not wild rice.
Our grandchildren will undoubtedly have pantries with strange items in them, too. To them, the terms “gluten free”, “organic” or “sushi” will be commonplace. Our grandparents would be scratching their heads trying to figure out what the heck a latte is.
Fortunately, turkey and dressing haven’t changed too much over the years. Grandma’s mashed potatoes and yams would have a welcome place on the family table still today.