Today I spent nearly the entire day preparing food.  Specifically, buying and preparing food for preservation.  The beginning of August is the time for sweet corn and peaches here in Northwestern Iowa.  I bought a 25 lbs box of MO peaches and 6 dozen cobs of Iowa sweet corn.  Here is the end product of nearly 6 hours of work:

What you see here (from left to right) are 12 quarts of peaches in light syrup, 4 dozen ears of corn cut off the cob (the cut cobs are behind the bags of corn for later use in soup stock) and 2 dozen cobs to be frozen on the cob.  As you can likely tell by the fact that I kept, and will freeze, the spent cobs, I like to use all part of food.  All of the husks are now in my compost heap for use later in the garden.

As I was husking the corn I was thinking about how I do these things mostly as a hobby.  I enjoy food…growing, preparing it, eating it.  But all of the things that I do are not necessary in today’s food economy.  I could spend much less time and just buy this stuff from the grocery store.  But instead I will spend months of work and worry on growing vegetables and hours of time preserving food FOR FUN!  Not that long ago, people had to do this to feed themselves during the winter months.  I have other hobbies that were once a necessity as well including knitting and crocheting.  I started to wonder if there would be any activities today that are living necessities that would become the hobby of some person in the future.  Perhaps driving your own car?  Cleaning your own home?  Writing using a pen and paper?  I’m really not sure.  We have so many conveniences today that it is hard to think of things that are living necessities that one would only do as a hobby in the future.

Doing that activities of canning and freezing today also had me thinking about what those people  of the past would think about a person who chooses to engage in this time consuming activity?  The reasons that I do it are partially for the enjoyment of the process…but let’s be honest, that process gets old quickly.  The bigger reasons are a satisfaction of making something myself from nearly nothing (in the case of gardening), and being able to enjoy something that I made months after the garden has been put to bed.  I find a much closer connection to my food because of this.  I have spent so much time and effort that I take the time to use the preserved food in the beat meals and I take the time to really taste the food that I have made.  I think that this focus on food has waned in our country.  Instead we tend to focus more on what is quickest to heat up and shove in our mouth.  Much of this commercially prepared food I find less tasty and fulfilling (note I did not say filling!).

So any thoughts on which of today’s necessary activities will become a hobby of a future person?

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