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June 21st, 2011

Things Our Great-Grandmothers Knew

nancy-80x80Anyone who spends a lot of time with the memorabilia of previous generations is often struck with how few of our daily joys and sorrows are new. The technology and language we use to express them may change, but the emotions and realities remain the same.

Example: We ran an article in our April/May Earth Matters column called “Hard Work = Tastier Food.” It seems that researchers at Johns Hopkins University experimented with mice and found that the mice enjoyed a snack more when they had to work harder for it. Although we’re not mice, I’m sure this is one of the reasons that vegetables we pick from our gardens taste better than those we merely “pick out” at the supermarket.

But guess what? Our mothers already knew this. That’s why they sent us outside to “work up an appetite” before dinner. They learned it from their grandmothers. Take a look at this Victorian-era pamphlet, the type of token that would have been given to a Sunday-school pupil for learning bible verses.

HungerSauce

It describes a young girl who turns her nose up at the “bad” soup her mother serves her for lunch. Her wise mother tells her she doesn’t have to eat it because she will have better soup for supper. Then she takes the girl into the garden, where they spend the afternoon harvesting potatoes. At suppertime, the girl is so tired and hungry from working that when her mother serves her the same soup, she pronounces it delicious.

HungerSauce3

The moral? Hunger is the best sauce.

And it still is. Whether scientists say so or not.

HungerSauce2

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