Thursday, May 27, 2010

Project Update and Lentil-Quinoa Salad

"Could it be that it was all so simple then........Or has time re-written every line?" I look at the photo above and think - "both". It was much simpler then, in the sense that there were no cell phones, no computers, no internet, and I'm pretty sure that when this picture was taken back in 1938, there was no television either. I don't know when TV came into popular use, but I think it was after 1938. So life was simpler. It took a long time for news to reach us. In 1938 there was a war going on in Europe, and the images of that war reached us via newsreels, which were shown in movie theaters. Radio existed, of course, so people here heard the news, but it was all so far away. Until, of course, it reached us at Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. But back in '38, it was still a distant war on another continent.

Life was simpler then because we didn't think it was necessary to stay in touch every day with everyone of our "friends" on facebook. We didn't need to answer the phone while we were driving. People wrote letters by hand and mailed them. There were times and places where we could be alone, or with our families, and if people wanted to talk with us, they'd have to drop by. My aunt used to drop by on her way somewhere, and leave a steaming hot apple pie in our kitchen, admonishing me to let it cool first before eating it. My uncle would stop by every Sunday to do the New York Times crossword puzzle with my mom. My grandparents, seated in the center of the photo above, would stop by on Sundays and take my older brother and sister out for a ride in their car. It was called a Sunday drive, and people used to do that for pleasure.

Or has time re-written every line? There's an uncle and an aunt in the photo above who later divorced. There's another uncle in that photo who caused a huge rift in our family, which has fortunately been healed by the cousins. The youngest blond girl, seated on her mom's lap above was the first to reach out to heal the rift. We never speak of what happened back then, because we have different understandings. But when we are children, we hear from our parents what has happened in our families, and so naturally she would have heard a different story from her parents than I heard from mine. And over the course of time, we have all come to the conclusion that we would rather have family than be right.

My current project is almost complete. I am waiting for a few more photos from a woman who knew my sister when she was in her 20s, and who had photographs of her from those days. (We didn't have cell phones with cameras back then, so photos were not taken as often.) Last nite I learned that I have a program on my computer that will take my slide show and convert it into a DVD which can be played on a DVD player. It wouldn't have occurred to me that this would be an issue until a colleague of mine mentioned it because she had made a slide show for her dad on his 80th birthday. That's when she discovered that there was more to it than making a digital slide show on a computer. There's the final step. She also told me that I should have the final product in more than one format, since it's possible that what works for me here might not work for me on my sister's equipment.

Delving into my family's past, going through all of the photos of us through the ages, has made me even more keenly aware of the beauty of simplicity. I don't want complicated or fussy. I've never been drawn to it, but I'm even less interested, if that's possible. I'm so grateful that I love to cook. I'm so grateful that I'm not a fast food person. It's a throwback to an era when food was made at home, and we brought it with us when we went anywhere - from school (lunch boxes), work (brown bags or lunch pails, depending on your job), or to the beach (soft coolers with ice). I consider it normal to eat fresh food, as do the readers of this blog and all of your readers as well. We have been the exception for a long time.

I made this lentil and quinoa salad to bring with me to work. It lasted for days, freeing me up to concentrate on making a slide show for my sister's upcoming birthday.
My husband used to say "start with what you've got in the fridge." As long as you've got a well stocked fridge, this works well. I learned back in those days to keep a pantry and fridge well stocked, so I had almost everything I used in this salad - quinoa, lentils, cherry tomatoes, garlic, vinegar and olive oil. I had a necessity for arugala that day. Don't know why, but sometimes these things just happen. Whole Foods is a short distance from my house and provides me with a small amount of exercise when I walk there. I have parsley and mint growing in my garden. So what I ended up with was a kind of variation of tabbouleh, but slightly more substantial with the addition of lentils. Since both lentils and quinoa cook quickly, this dish was a breeze to put together. A lot easier than a slide show, but satisfying, and simple. Because these are the good old days.

10 comments:

Terry B, Blue Kitchen said...

An interesting post, Toni. Perhaps things were a little simpler back then, but I think we all have a tendency to oversimplify the past. If anything, they faced many of the same problems we do today, but had fewer resources to deal with them. But yes, a number of the "improvements" in our modern lives maybe aren't such improvements after all. Fast food being a perfect example. Again, a nice post. I'm glad you've resurfaced, Toni.

Penny said...

"The Way We Were." I think I know what you are feeling with looking at pictures from the past. As far as television goes, I can tell you that my Father came home from WWII as a decorated Marine with training in communications and became the first and only TV distributor and radio repair shop in our small town. It was 1950. He was the communication guru of his time, and the town loved him for putting up their antennaes so they could watch the Ed Sullivan Show. You are doing a beautiful thing for your family by documenting the history. I love your style.

chris said...

Great post, Toni! Miss stopping by...need to make sure I get by on the regular...

This salad has my name written all over it! Love love love quinoa! *Hugs*

Toni said...

Terry - I think that people all had the same kinds of problems in the past as we do today, but we didn't have quite as much information and input as we do now. Perhaps that made solving those problems simpler, as the choices were fewer?

Penny - How great about your dad being the communication guru of his time - love that story! And thanks for helping to clarify the timing of TV's entrance into our lives. It's pretty much what I thought it was.

Hey Chris - Good to "see" you again! I've missed you.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

The other day, we were looking through some packed boxes in our barn and found photo albums from trips we took to Asia in the 1990s. We sat and looked through the hundreds of photos, recalling adventures of days past. While I love technology and what it can do -- where would we all be without digital photography? -- I miss the "old" days.

Mimi from French Kitchen said...

Excellent post, Toni. Once you start going back, it is addictive. You learn so much about yourself. That salad sounds addictive, too. I'm looking for something like that to take on a trip with me so I have GF foods on hand.

Toni said...

Lydia - I get it. I have loved having the actual, physical photos in my hands, knowing that they were created when I was a small child, and that they were tucked in a drawer in my parents home. However, many of them have degraded since then, and I'm glad I've had the chance to digitize them.

Mimi - Yes, I am now a confirmed addict. Do they have an "anonymous" group for us? ;-)

Cynthia said...

It is amazing the stories that you can write just looking at one photograph. You can write about each person and if they have gone beyond, you stare a little longer at the photograph and wonder about life itself.

Toni said...

I agree, Cynthia. It's amazing how rich and deep our histories are when we stop long enough to look and linger over the photos...

myfrenchkitchen said...

A delicious sald...and yes, I agree that there was a time that life was simpler and more importantly...slower. But as Terry B. blue kithcen says...maybe we are oversimplifying. I remeber my mom saying exactly what I'm saying...life was much simpler way back. But still, I do wish for life to be on the slower side.
A great post.
ronelle