Friday, December 02, 2022

I Identify as an Antique

This post was prompted by a comment from Sabine.

A few nights ago, I was making Turkey Pot Pie for supper. Pretty predictable two days after Thanksgiving. The biscuit topping was waiting in the wings, the onions were sizzling away in the pan with the carrots and celery, World Cup soccer a dull roar in the background. God was in his heaven. All was, for now, right with the world. Until New York Times Cooking instructed me to "Add flour."

Whoa Betsy! Flour? What flour?

Nowhere had I seen flour on the ingredients list though, now that I thought about it, it made a lot of sense the next step being to add turkey stock.

Off I trot to consult the oracle and sure enough, there it is, at the top of the second page:1/4 cup of flour, missed by the printer. You probably don't give a rat's ass about my turkey pot pie - you're wondering where Sabine fits in. Well, while I was there the oracle told me she'd left a comment.

Another one? What more could there be to say? Curious, I hunted it down - and laughed. Her new comment was a comment on my reply to someone else's comment. 

Stay with me, I'm getting there.

 I'm a believer in providing backstory, to the OC's ongoing chagrin. I want you to smell those onions, to hear that sizzle, to be in my head while I untangle the story that I know is in there, somewhere. I think one of my ancestors might have been a seanachai.

Sabine wondered (I could picture her eyes rolling in much the same way the OC's and Youngest Son's have often done when they've made similar suggestions) if it might be time I tried making oatmeal the easy way - in the microwave, in the interests of not burning the stuff while I run off to make the bed or such while it simmers. As has happened. 

What the menfolk fail to understand is that here, under their noses, is a genuine antique - me. In currently popular parlance you might say I identify as an antique. They'll appreciate it after I'm gone. When the sobbing is over.

And what qualifies me as an antique you might reasonably ask? 

Mostly my memories.

 How many of you out there remember hearing the rattle of the milk truck every morning as a child? We'd leave the empties on the front porch every night and the milk man would replace them in the dim light of dawn next morning - with lots of clattering and scant respect for those still sleeping.

Or how about the coalman?  At the first chill of winter, he'd come clopping down our road with his horse and cart, and shoulder bags of coal to our coal shed in the back garden. He was the closest thing I'd ever seen to a black man. He'd probably been a white baby, but his pores were so filled with coal dust now that the only white in his face was the whites of his eyes. I always felt sorry for the horse who usually looked to be, if you'll pardon the vulgarity, three farts from death.

And then there were the chimney sweeps with their black brushes. 

And curly-haired Francis, the breadman, in his van and his green shop coat delivering fresh bread to our door every evening. 

Paddy the post delivering mail on his bicycle every day of my childhood. He was still there, still on his bicycle, still delivering the mail when I'd come home for a break from college.

The OC is a fan of all things modern and innovative. He has had moderate success dragging me into the 21st. century. But not without a struggle. The food processor lived in its original box for many months before I approached it cautiously, as you might a wild animal that could  attack at any moment. I did tame it though and now we are on friendly terms. But I still don't completely trust the microwave. It's all very handy for reheating cups of tea that have grown cold, but cooking my oatmeal in it? It just wouldn't seem right.

The most convincing proof of my claim though is the pony and trap. Whenever I spent any time out the country with my Granny we went everywhere in the pony and trap. And if it was hay saving time, I'd get to ride on the horse drawn float to bring the hay ricks back to the barn with my uncles.

There's a blessing I've often heard, or is it a curse? "May you live in interesting times."

I spent my childhood in wonderfully interesting times. It never occurred to me that things could change so much in one lifetime. I miss them now. "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone," as the song goes. 

These days I live in the present, thankful that I'm still here, thankful for all our blessings, thankful for our modern gadgets, even for the microwave, because how would I warm up my cold cup of tea without it?

Cheers Sabine!


Elephant's Child said...

Smiling. I also happily identify as an antique. And cook very little in the microwave. Reheat yes, cook no.
I well remember the milkman. And the postie on his bicycle. And regret having no memory of ponies and traps.

Susan Kane said...

I am smiling as well. I am not quite an antique, at least I deny I am.

We grew up on the farm, had all the farm products one could desire.

Relatively Retiring said...

I'm the real thing.
I was invited into my grand-daughter's school to talk about and to provide evidence of pre-plastic toys - crunchy old straw-filled teddy bears, porcelain dolls and so on.....all my own childhood playthings. Afterwards my grand-daughter told me how proud she was, she has the oldest granny of anyone in the school, including the Headmaster.

Annemiek said...

I am an antique in quilting: I cut my own templates from sandpaper instead of buying ready made ones e.g. It took me years to get used to a rotarycutter and I sew almost everything by hand or on my 1951 Singer Featherweight. Friends called me the quilting dinosaur.. hopefully because of my way of doing things and not because of my appearance..

I’m happy that in the Netherlands almost all postmen ( and women) still go about on bikes….

Colette said...

I remember those regular deliveries! The coal man was especially exciting. I was just thinking the other day how much I wish there was still milk deliveries where you got your milk delivered in glass bottles, and put your empties out for pickup.It would be good for the environment, and provide jobs for the drivers.

Molly said...

EC - :)

SK - I didn't grow up on the farm but it was just 25 miles out the country from where we lived. That was a longer distance in those days! But we still got to visit my Granny there a lot.

RR - I don't mind being an antique because look at the great memories of a slower paced life we have. I have one of those Teddy bears with the straw stuffing. He sits on the couch in my living room. Also have a pink dog with similar stuffing. Teddy and dog are both blind now but they've been together for as long as I've been breathing so they're safe in my and each other's company. I love that you got a chance to tell that class about the toys that used to be. Looking around in a toy store today is depressing.

Annemiek - Hats off to you. I'm not that much of an antique! I'm a mat and rotary cutter girl. But I do still love hand stitching.

Colette - Young people think that protecting the environment is a new thing. We were much more conscious of using uo everything and not being wasteful. So much for affluence!

Pam said...

I remember all those things except the pony and trap, or at least, not to ride in. But I remember horse-drawn lorries in the street.

Re your environment thing: when I was a child in the 1950s, the council collected paper - you had a green sack to put it in. And we had pig bins, in which we put potato peelings and so on, that theoretically went to pig farms to feed the pigs. And then these things were discontinued until about ten years ago. The food waste is now composted by the council rather than fed to pigs (though in fact I never put any out because we eat the food and compost the scraps ourselves).

Great post!

Wisewebwoman said...

Ah now, nothing like nuked porridge. They don't make one minute oats for nuttin.

I remember the tinker fixing the pots and pans and sharpening the knives and the ragwoman, only later did I realize she was clothing her children with our discarded clothing.

I recently acquired an airfryer and honestly? Can't get enough of it. A bit of a learning leap but well worth it.

I was working at the dawn of the computer age, converting systems, etc. so I've fully embraced modernity. If things make my life simpler, I'm on board immediately and for many years now I learn a new skill every single month.


Thimbleanna said...

As always, you deliver a fun post Miss Molly! I could definitely smell your onions -- and your fab slow-cooking oatmeal, for that matter. Oatmeal in the microwave? N.E.V.E.R! And bite your tongue for even mentioning it? I might make quicker oats on the stovetop once in a while, but the 30-minute kind are by far, the best. I identify as a half-antique -- I use kitchen gadgets (but totally don't get the air-fryer thing -- from what I read, if you have a convection oven, it's the same thing?) I like things homemade. It drives me - well, not crazy, but definitely grates on me when people buy cookies and cakes at the grocery store instead of baking them from scratch. How hard is it??? Not that I haven't nabbed the grocery store treat on occasion, but only in a pinch -- homemade just tastes so much better -- although, sometimes the texture is hard to achieve 'cause store bought is so full of chemicals and preservatives. Ah well, sorry to drone one, you hit a nerve LOL. (Which extends to many other areas, but I'll cut this short ....)
Wait! ... just have to throw in that I'm definitely an antique when it comes to Christmas decorating! In the old days (pre-fake trees), you had to wait until just a week or two before Christmas to decorate. If you want to really send me over the edge, throw up those decorations between Halloween and Thanksgiving!
(PS - very fun reading through the comments!)

Molly said...

Pam - we recycled old papers, covered our schoolbooks with saved brown paper, didn't even have to deal with the excessive packaging so ubiquitous today, and saved glass jars for when we made jam. A few years ago our area here stopped recycling glass with some lame excuse about it exposing workers to danger! Every time I dispose of a glass jar or bottle now in the rubbish bin I expect to be smited!

Molly said...

WWW - ah, come on now! One minute oats are for babies with no teeth or old folks who've lost all of their along with their taste buds!
I remember the tinker women coming to the door, asking " Missus, could you spare a few coppers for the babby?" Said "babby" being lost in the folds of their voluminous and very smelly shawls. My mother always gave them food or clothes but never money as the "babby" was just as likely to be a bottle.
And of course my "aversion" to modern gadgets is tongue in cheek though computers continue to flummox me!

Molly said...

Anna-Banana - I hear you on the cookies - store bought always have too much sugar and too many things I can't spell! Agree with you on the tree thing. Growing up we never (mercifully) even realised that fake was an option. The real one went up in the last days before Christmas and stayed up 'til Little Christmas, the feast of the Epiphany. It makes me sad to see naked trees at the curb on St.Stephen's day. That week, from Christmas to New Year was the best part of the holidays when you could curl up by the fire with the books you got for Christmas or take over the dining room table to put a jig saw puzzle together. All the churches had beautiful nativity scenes - it was magical! I still put a real tree up a few days before the 25th. However, with no youngsters coming for Christmas and the prospect of decorating all by ourselves leaves me less eager this year to tangle myself up in strings of lights that may or may not decide to twinkle when you plug them in. But I haven't got to bah-humbug yet. I try to keep the real reason for it all in mind.
That said I hope you and all the commenters here have a very happy and blessed Christmas!