Years ago I read the book, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 and it was one of the very few books I have kept. I recently saw it again on my bookshelf and started reading it again. As specified in the title, the book is based on a diary of a woman who was a midwife during colonial times in what is today the State of Maine. There are many interesting things in the book but one thing that sticks in my mind is the variety of foods the colonists ate. They ate an incredible variety of vegetables and grew most of them themselves.
As a child growing up in central Maine, we had a vegetable garden and also ate a variety of fruit and veg. I’m not sure it was as varied as in colonial times but it was certainly more varied compared to now. I am often shocked at how little modern-day Americans eat fresh produce. According to the USDA, Americans today eat very little fruits and vegetables. If we consider what early Americans ate as being ‘American’ then we can conclude that our diets today are ‘un-American’…right? It may sound very Aristotelian but it seems that since 9/11 Americans are really into ‘being American’ and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to define what that really is. At any rate…
Today in cold States like Maine, much of our fruits and veg are now trucked in from warmer States which makes them expensive at certain times of the year. People now eat more meat, fried or fatty carbohydrates and some children of today don’t even know what a tomato is. That’s just plain wrong AND the thing that tops it off is that people don’t want to know, don’t want to be healthy, don’t want their children to be healthy even to the point where they allow laws to be made to keep themselves and others unhealthy.
In the America I grew up in during the 70’s, we were taught in school about vegetables and the 4-4-2-6 idea of eating a variety of foods. That same program was subsidized by the same U.S. government that today does just the opposite. Talk about living on Mars!! It’s not just un-American – it’s un-earthly.