Tag Archives: 100 years ago

The perils of a modern mindset

27 Feb

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What did people do just one hundred years ago when faced with a seemingly insurmountable fear or woe? Where would you or I have turned to, in an age prior to smart phones, wireless, and sophisticated google search methods?

I have a theory: our ancestors got comfortable with not having all the answers. They had far more to fear: pregnant women were up against a 10% infant death rate, while anyone could be swept away by tuberculosis, pneumonia, or influenza. They had far fewer comforts, too: running water and cars were uncommon luxuries, and canned beer didn’t exist. Maybe they spent unseemly amounts of time feeling sorry for themselves, and maybe they dreamed of troubles being lifted, or at least of being able to buy shampoo. I don’t know. All I know is that they didn’t have the option of mining the internet in hopes of “fixing” inner angst, or to get the best advice for mending a fractured relationship, or to  get the definitive answers to frightful theology questions. They couldn’t call the person who could assuage their anxiety, or flood text messages to friends near and far, or pick a text fight with their boyfriend because maybe something is slightly off and needs probing. Instead, they likely let the terror of not making rent or growing old some day pass through their minds, then went and milked the cow or strung clothes out to dry.

They experienced scarcity of information; we experience an overabundance in which we ofttimes drown. They didn’t know because they didn’t have means to know; today, such naivete is not allowed. There’s no good reason to muse with someone else about, say, where coffee came from when there are countless books, articles, and websites waiting with readily available answers. I’m guessing they, the generation of one hundred years ago, learned much more from simply keeping company with life’s drearier prospects than we do with our anxious quest and fidgety need for solutions.

Yeah, our lives are cake walks in comparison, and I sure don’t want to return to a time when no part of a Friday night bubble bath – streaming Netflix on my iPad, sipping white wine, the bubbles –  would be possible. I do want to be willing, as my working theory argues our ancestors were, to accept the unknown. I want to face an obscured future, the good and the bad, even the most bad, without trying to control outcomes. I want to get comfortable with the uncomfortable realities of our frail existences. Maybe it really is OK to not be OK. Maybe that’s part of God’s provision for us in a fallen word. Just maybe.

Today’s recipe, roasted chicken, would be considered extravagant fare one hundred years ago. Paired with cooked vegetables and a hearty loaf of bread, our ancestors would think this chicken is only proper for Christmas dinner. Yet for us, it’s such a simple meal, with easily attainable ingredients and minimal prep. That’s a paradox I can appreciate.

ROASTED CHICKEN (adapted from Country Side Cravings’ recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

1 whole chicken, giblets and majority of skin removed

1/2 Tbs. iodized salt

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1.5 Tbs. McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Chicken seasoning

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 Tbs. olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Combine all spices and garlic. Rub chicken with olive oil, then rub with spice mixture. Place seasoned chicken in a baking dish (any 13×9 pan will do) sprayed with PAM. Bake chicken for 80-90 minutes, or until cooked through.

CALORIES (per 3 oz. serving without skin): ~110

 

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