In preparing the next issue of ABODE, I discovered a book called A Householder’s Guide to the Universe, by Harriet Fasenfest. It’s part how-to guide, and part polemic, mixing a Wendell Berry-esque philosophy of householding with practical tips on cleaning, cooking, canning and gardening. I’m liking it a lot. I can get behind a book that refers not only to the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle but also the pectin content of cranberries, and still manages to seem coherent.
Anyway, I wanted to share a passage that I was particularly taken by. Here it is:
"When thinking about ‘stores,’ I realized that is how grocery stores came to have that name. That was another aha moment for me. Grocery stores do for us what we used to do for ourselves–stock provisions and provide nourishment for our family throughout the year. That the food is coming off their shelves rather than ours offers a clue into how we have structured our systems and prioritized our world. Sure, grocery stores are convenient…but in general terms they are a service born of urban America’s distance from rural resources and wisdom.
"Were this simply a missed opportunity, a lost occasion for picking just-ripe berries in the early-morning sunlight, it would be sad but not fatal. And I suppose fatal is a strong word, but it is nevertheless true that many of our industrial food systems, from growing practices to delivery to consumption, are killing us and the planet. So it is no small matter to consider the alternatives and to learn the skills needed to create (and use) a fully stocked pantry."
Hear, hear! Canners and thrifty meal planners, unite!