The Old Meets New in Maxine’s Kitchen

The following is a guest post from Dorothy Robinson.
Doro as she prefers to be called is from Canada, and has written many articles about life‰Ûªs moments. Now well along into her senior years, she savors the richness of life in each day, and often sees a good story in what may just seem ordinary. Her attitude is summed up in the French expression ‰ÛÏLa joie de vivre‰Û, the joy of life. åÊåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ

ItåÊfelt goodåÊto be sitting in Maxine’s sunnyåÊkitchen that beautifulåÊautumnåÊday soåÊmany years ago. IåÊwatchedåÊintently as sheåÊput the finishing touches on our muchåÊanticipated lunch.

Delicate handmadeåÊUkrainian perogies were ready to be served to three appreciative and hungry grandmothers. We all loved to cook, and we knew the work Maxine had gone to in preparing theseåÊfrom scratch for us.
As sheåÊspooned the crispy fried salt pork over the perogies it became apparent to me that Maxine‰Ûªs traditionalåÊmethodsåÊwere very deeply rooted in her Ukrainian heritage. It might have been easier to buy a pound of bacon and fry it up, but no, this was theåÊthe way she was taught to dress her perogies.åÊåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊåÊ
Salt pork was a European staple thatåÊsustained many through long hard winters. So wheneveråÊI happen to taste perogies made in this traditional way, it brings back manyåÊmemories.åÊMy Polish parentsåÊwent into the winter prepared with many staples for the cold months ahead.åÊ Amongst these wereåÊthe very important salt pork, a barrel ofåÊsauerkraut, and a crock filled with butter layered with salt to preserve it. Sacks of potatoes and other root vegetables ensured we had interesting meals on the table all winter long.
Our lunch wasåÊdelicious and memorable.åÊ As we passed the sour cream and perogies,åÊI recall with aåÊgreat deal of humoråÊhowåÊvery technical ouråÊconversationåÊbecame as we spokeåÊabout our computers. Gigabyte was a brand new wordåÊ and high speed was coming on ‰ÛÏstream‰Û.åÊ We wanted to be savvy in navigating our way around.åÊ This new world called the “information highway”åÊhad arrived!åÊOurs was a moment encapsulated in time where theåÊoldåÊand theåÊnewåÊseemed to come together seamlessly.åÊåÊA time tested recipeåÊdating back into antiquityåÊwas sittingåÊon our plate.åÊ åÊAs weåÊsavoured it weåÊwereåÊspeaking ofåÊthe future,åÊof the computer age that was here now,åÊand we wanted to be a part of it. This struck me as a real paradox of how quickly technology canåÊchange our world. It‰Ûªs as though we have had our feet planted in two worlds the old and the new, and surprising to some, how veryåÊadaptable seniors can be at any age embracing and understanding this new technology.
On another occasion recently the new and the old met once again. I was speaking to my great granddaughter who was going to give me a pedicure with the latest bake on acrylic nail polish. I had an opportunity to tell her a bit about my early years, and how life was then. To a seventeen year old who was diapered in Pampers when a baby, to learn that her grandmother wore diapers made from flour sacks was quite a revelation.åÊ Yes, I told her, ‰ÛÏWe had the words Robin Hood Flour written in red ink plastered on our diapers until the red ink faded after many washings. These were made from a hundred pound sacks that were large enough to make a couple of good sized diapers‰Û. Women cherished those flour sacks; they would embroider them and make many pretty household items from them. She was shocked to learn that I was born and raised in a sod buster‰Ûªs shack on the prairies during the years of the Great Depression, and that I learned to crawl on a dirt floor. åÊAt that point she raised her eyes up from what she was doing and said ‰ÛÏWow Baba, I didn‰Ûªt know that‰Û.
Yes, time seems to quickly move forward, and the momentum of all the changes taking place to-day can be very daunting for many of us. As the words of the poem by Ralph Hodgson so succinctly put it
‰ÛÏTime you old gypsy man will you not stay,
And put up your caravan just for one day‰Û.
No matter though how busy we are, or how full our day has been working in a very technologically oriented atmosphere, it‰Ûªs still wonderful to think of coming home to something ‰ÛÏold‰Û something timeless, a delicious plate of homemade perogies.