MEMORIES OF AUTUMN AND FOOD
By Jean C. Butterworth
What childhood memories do I have of Autumn I ask myself?
Pulling back the years of my memories, I think first of my grandmother,
who was as busy as a bee when it came to preparing for our family’s
long winter months ahead.
As a child I would follow her around as she surveyed the storeroom.
There—in neat rows like soldiers—were her vegetables,
standing proudly in Ball jars with Kerr lids applied for sealing. They had
undergone harvesting at the appropriate time, preparation—snapping,
shelling and cutting—and then washed for canning.
Canning consisted of placing the vegetable jars in a cold water canning
pot with a lid and boiling for many minutes (I can’t remember now how
long!) My grandmother reminded me that this process killed the germs
and kept the food from spoiling. I spotted peas, beans,
butter beans, corn, tomatoes, okra, and pickled peaches—dotted with
cloves—on the shelves. Also on the shelves were jars of honey with the
honeycombs that tasted so good on a cold morning, poured over hot
biscuits and butter. My grandmother made these in the wood stove’s oven
for my breakfast. In one corner of the storeroom was a pottery jar filled
with cabbage, making sauerkraut.
Later, we looked in the corn crib to check out the large white onions
tied and hanging from the rafters and the peanuts stored for drying in a
bin. Oh, how wonderful those peanuts tasted after roasting in the oven
on a cold night!
Such memories although faded, now remind me of how times have
changed as I hurry to the grocery store.