I was raised in a small, rural Idaho farming town. Population around 400. My grandparents raised a few milk cows and chickens. They had a large garden.
We raised registered Herefords on grass. In the winter we supplemented their diet with hay purchased from a neighbor.
If we wanted a ham we purchased a hog from a neighbor. We drank real raw milk we picked up from grandma or another farmer’s house. In the fall we slaughtered steers we raised. Dad hunted for venison and sometimes would bring home a grouse as well.
We watched in awe as the soft baby chickens grew into laying hens. Grandma didn’t let us watch her wring their necks when it was time for them to turn into a side dish for dumplings.
I remember helping grandpa milk the cows. I remember separating cream from the fresh milk and then helping grandma make butter in an old churn.
Most Saturday mornings I woke up to the smell of fresh baking bread. The memory of eating that first warm cut slice with butter and honey makes my mouth water now. It was usually whole wheat. My mother was an amazing bread baker.
Some mornings mom talked me into going outside to help her pick raspberries or weed the garden. Fresh raspberries and cream is still a favorite.
What a wonderful way to be raised. I never stepped on a scale. I was tall and lanky and had energy to stay outside on my bike or my horse all day.
This is before I discovered “eating out” in the city. Before cheap processed foods lined my cupboards because I was struggling to make grocery dollars stretch to feed my little family. Before restless leg syndrome, joint pain, anemia. Before my son had ADHD. Before my whole family became obese. Before low carb and yo-yo dieting and trying every new food plan someone came up with.
At the back of mind I wondered why most plans removed the foods I loved the most. Foods from my memories. Bread and honey, raspberries and cream, chicken and yams, ham and scalloped potatoes. Fresh milk and butter and cheese.
Finding the Real food challenge sparked something in my mind. All the foods I loved and in the form I remembered them: unprocessed, simple.
It feels so good to be going home. Well, with one important difference. Now there is Amazon Prime. My butter churn arrives tomorrow, I can’t wait.