Last night, Mr. Eats and I were watching The Walking Dead. And it occurred to me during this episode (no spoilers) that I have been casually building the skillset I need to be a valuable member of a post-apocalyptic society. No, I haven’t been sharpshooting and I’ve certainly not been learning to field dress a carcass (ew), but I have been picking up a few things here and there that I thought were just hobbies but are actually valuable home-making skills. Vegetable gardening (including how to rotate crops and grow vegetables organically), canning and preserving (including fermenting), and foraging. Along with cooking, of course.
These are all skills that parents passed down to their children (boys and girls alike) in our pre-industrialized society and even passed along from mothers to daughters of the generation before mine. But mothers of the 70s, 80s and 90s deemphasized these skills and sons and daughters were more interested in music and video games than learning how to do the things people really don’t need in the microwaved service economy.
But a few of us have fond, but vague memories of grandmothers or great-grandmothers (or grandfathers and great-grandfathers) farming, harvesting and preserving and we’ve become more interested. I can only imagine the guffaws of my foremothers knowing that I’m actually paying others to learn these skills. Particularly since I mostly ignored and rebuffed their offers to teach me. I had one grandmother who even loved to fish; she made me go with her and all that ever did was make me hate fish. And get chigger bites. I don’t regret not learning how to fish. I still have no idea why one has to fish in the pre-dawn hours. And I don’t care. Anyhoo.
These same women would also likely be horrified by all the food that gets wasted in our house. And how often I will make a special meal for my picky toddler (“She doesn’t want to eat her green beans? After three days without eating, she will!”). But I am learning. And I am prepared. No, I will not be able to hit a zombie in the forehead with an arrow from 50 (or even 10) feet away, but I can grow carrots and beans tomatoes and canteloupe, make bread, and ensure that we eat through the winter! I can even make blackberry wine!
Now, I just need to learn how to sew something more complex than a bag.