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How Country Folks Eat

All this new way of eating is kind of giving me a chuckle. I would like to say “I told you so” to someone I just don’t know exactly who to say it to.

Back in the 70’s when the ‘powers that be’ started telling us all to eat low fat, no animal fat and artificial sweeteners, I ignored it.  Then in the 80’s the pressure got stronger to adopt these non-foods and I ignored it again. I fed my children animal fat, did not use hydrogenated vegetable oil or margarine or the artificial sweetener of the week.  We grew or raised most of it ourselves and though we still can’t raise our meat, we can choose where we buy it.

Mother didn’t use canned ‘cream of’ soups to make casseroles of unknown contents and neither do I.  I make my own cream soup.  Although I have been known to make a casserole or two for friends we mostly abstain from them.

We grow green beans, squash, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, okra, onions and lots of herbs, apples, peaches and melons. Those are the vegetables and fruit we eat the most of.  If I buy vegetables or fruit I buy organic and locally grown.  I home-can, freeze and dry what we grow and what I buy in large quantities. One of my favorite things to dry is tomatoes because they are so versatile.

Sometimes we pick native pecans and walnuts from trees in the woods. After we shell them I freeze them or dry them. We also do a lot of wild crafting. We gather wild plants and weeds and dry them, store and label them and use them in teas and medicines.

Did I mention that we don’t live in the country any more? We live in a sub-urban area with a very small yard. The back yard is about 150′ x 75′. We have two gardens and several raised beds. the plan is to make more raised beds this Fall.  We have apple trees and berries. Even though we’re in the suburbs we are still able to eat naturally and organically and grow a lot of our food.

Another thing I do is to make everything from scratch. I make crackers (though I do buy them occasionally) breadrollsflat bread,  yogurt  and  kefir.  the only thing I didn’t learn to do as a young person at home was kefir. We drank kefir when my oldest children were small but I bought it. So learning to make it was wonderful!

They say odors are the number one memory jogger. They are for me. As a child I remember these fragrances emanating from the kitchen:  yeast bread, stews, green beans cooking, vinegar where we were canning pickles, tomatoes being canned, fried chicken and baking cakes.

When I smell yeast bread rising and baking I think of Grandma in the kitchen beating the fire out of the dough with a rolling pin and slipping the dough through her forefinger and thumb to make rolls, head down, concentrating. When I cook green beans I think of my Mother and how she cooked green beans all day long and seasoned them with a piece of ham.  And when I smell fried chicken I think of Sunday dinner and being so hungry after Church I didn’t know if I could stand it or not.  I sure do hope my children have good memories attached to the fragrance of cooking.  I don’t particularly want them to think of microwave popcorn when they think of me in the future.

This is simply how country folks have always eaten and how we eat now, even though we don’t live in the country any more. I turns out that the old ways of eating were really the most healthy. Do your research if you don’t believe me. Here is a good place to start, The Weston A. Price Foundation.

If you know your family’s eating habits aren’t the best, and you know you should make some changes, I encourage you to start small. Start by replacing your artificial fats and oils and stop making casseroles that are filled with artificial food like canned this and that.  Prepare and eat simple, healthy food. Make some memories for your children with healthy, delicious food.


  1. Jenni

    Thanks for this post. I was just reviewing a list of weekly chores I had printed out some time ago from your website as I attempt to get our new home in order (we have three small boys, and my husband begins law school next week – so much to do!). I thought I would visit your site again as I’ve found it so encouraging. We eat this way as well as much as possible – plus, the canned/packaged items just don’t taste as good. I started to eat more like this when I worked overseas (Uzbekistan) and couldn’t find canned/prepackaged anything, so everything had to be made from scratch. I walked to and from work every day, about 15 minutes each way, and basically ate whatever I wanted, and only could access real butter or whole milk/yogurt. I always came back to the States ten pounds lighter, and promptly would put most of that weight back on after a few months in the US.

    So now, it’s full-fat, whole foods for us. I hate hate hate low-fat engineered dairy products that are pumped with HFCS and other chemicals.

    Anyway, thanks for your post. I will be checking in more.

  2. Kim

    This is how we eat too. I cook everything from scratch. Well I don’t make my own butter or things like that….yet! LOL!
    Just this past week we picked wild fox grapes growing on our property and we had enough for me to make 7 jars of grape jelly. It’s SO good. AND that was my first time so I was pretty excited.
    This is our first year in this home and we were able to have a garden this past Spring and it did really good. The fresh green beans were my favorite thing that we grew. They were so good sauteed in a little bacon fat and then of course adding the small chunks of cooked and crispy bacon at the end. Mmmm….. You’ve got me hungry now Sylvia! LOL!

    Have a great day and I’d come to your house for supper any day of the week. YUM!

  3. Moira

    We eat this way too! We make everything from scratch from cereal to crackers to cheese! I found out about Weston Price about 6 years ago and it changed everything for us! The only thing I have changed is that we eat Kosher/clean too!

  4. Amanda

    This morning I was thinking of this very thing. My grandparents were of the first generation who spent most of their lives eating grocery store garbage (even though one set had a farm!). They are not healthy and vital. My parents’ generation is worse off, in their 50’s and already losing their vitality.

    It is terribly sad how mislead we have been….How did anyone ever think that foods from boxes, bags, and factories devoid of their natural goodness could be superior to what God provided us naturally?

  5. Patty Hall

    Good post! I was looking for your recipe for cream soup the other day. Thank you for postin a link to it.
    This is how I grew up,too. We always had a garden, killed hogs,chicken etc. Mom canned and froze anything she could get her hands on. Made jams/jellies. I don’t eat like that now. I am trying to get back to eating less processed foods. I have chosen real butter over margarine for several yrs now. It’s hard to do all this tho when you work outside you home or when you go to school. But I will continue trying to do what I can.
    Patty H.