HOW’S IT MADE?
by Leonard Sullivan
Young people today do not know where things come from, or how they are made. Example, we picked cotton so we knew where cotton for our clothing originated.
We went to the chicken pen with a long stiff wire with a hook on one end and hooked a chicken for lunch. We watched our mother chop the chicken’s head off, dunk the chicken in boiling water, pick off the feathers and cut it up for the frying pan. Incidentally, hand cut chicken have a pullybone. Several weeks ago I asked a young person where chicken came from. He answered “KFC”.
In the past, young people knew where eggs came from. We were given a basket and sent to the chicken house to gather the eggs. All young people knew where milk came from. We either milked, helped milk or watched someone milk. Everyone knew where butter came from because we helped with the churning. I saw my mother make cottage cheese.
When my children and grandchildren were young I exposed them to as many things as possible. We went to the stockyards, saw the cattle and pigs being unloaded from the truck and other aspects of the stockyards.
While on a hunting trip near Hollis, OK with my grandsons, we saw several cotton fields. We stopped and went into the field. I explained the harvesting process. They each took an open cotton boll home for “Show and Tell”.
As my grandchildren say, “back in the day” we helped pick and harvest all types of fruits and vegetables. We knew potatoes, onions and peanuts came out of the ground. Peaches and apples from a tree and grapes came from vines. Just last week my brother had a family gathering to show the next generation how to make kraut. My brother had his own cabbage shredder and crock. I have my mother’s shredder and crock which is probably more than 100 years old. At my brother’s house we shredded the cabbage and packed it into the crock. After each 4 inch layer we sprinkled in some salt. When my mother made kraut, she would place a large lid on the cabbage and salt mixture and weigh it down with a couple of well-scrubbed bricks. A white cloth was placed over the crock to keep bugs, flies and dust away while the mixture fermented at room temperature. My brother showed us a new trick. He replaced the brick and lid with a large plastic bag partially filled with water into the crock on top of the cabbage. This weighted the mixture down and also sealed the crock. I don’t know if mother would approve of this “new-fangled idea”. When you have an opportunity take your children or grandchildren on field trips and show them where things come from or how they are made.
For our field trips, I made my grandchildren leave their cell phones and other devices at home. Kids will not listen, talk, or look if they have a phone in their hand. My children and grandchildren love to retell stories of some of our field trips. Young people really want to know and learn, lease help them.
Thanks for a wonderful article. As a ten year old I would visit my grandmother in rural NW Oklahoma. I participated in the preparation of a chicken dinner as you described. My job was plucking the hen. I vividly remember to this day the details of this process. Wonderful experiences need to be shared with our children and grandchildren.
I worked my way through college and early married life by working as a butcher in a store with counter service. We customized most everything from the thickness of porkchops, fresh fish on Friday, lunch meats like head cheese, pig feet, cube steaks, liver cut to size and so on. I also sanitized the tools of the trade and learned the tricks of the trade as well. Learned a lot about dealing with customers and their wants and needs.