What else can possibly happen to threaten our economy and more importantly – our nation’s collective peace of mind?
I listened with rapt attention yesterday as two doomsday prophets chatted about the corn crop washing away in the mid-west, oil prices running truckers out of business, runaway inflation and the mortgage meltdown. One even suggested that we might want to consider stock piling food for our families – just in case.
Just in case of what, I wondered. Hello. Where is Congress? Are they fiddling while America burns?
Could we be destined to see dwindling supplies at the supermarket? Will we be fighting over that last loaf of bread? The “F” word was even used – famine!
Now, admittedly, I tend to operate under the cloud of a “Chicken Little Complex.” You remember her – the frantic little hen that got hit on the head by an acorn and immediately thought the sky was falling. That’s me to a “T”, but I subscribe to the philosophy that if we expect and prepare for the worst (which rarely happens), we will be ready for anything.
The panicky chicken’s origin among the English folk is centuries old, but simply substitute ”economy” for ”sky” and ”President Bush” for ”king” and you’ll see how timeless Chicken Little’s folly continues to be.
Feeling the need for positive action, I rushed to the library and checked out some survival books. I found a wonderful cookbook titled “Grandma’s Wartime Baking Book” – after all, we’re experiencing war on many fronts in this world. What I read was truly shocking and I tried to imagine how Americans would cope should we be faced with rationing again.
Of course “The Big War” was before my time but the book explained that during those years the troops were the priority. Households would receive a limited number of coupons to allow the purchase of items such as butter, sugar and coffee (my three favorite food groups). I mentioned it to my aunt and she remembers my grandfather accepting food and gas coupons in place of payment for items like shoes and overalls in his mercantile store. (Far be it for my family to ever go hungry.)
I also read with alarm that many of our grandmothers had to make their cookies with chicken fat as a substitute for butter. Eeuw. Chicken cookies? That would certainly wean me off cookies forever.
I made a mental note to clean out a cabinet immediately and restock it with coffee, sugar and shortening – just in case.
Back to the cookbook – I was struck by how much smaller the portion sizes were in those days. Pie plates and other serving vessels were positively diminutive. I’ve always wondered why my mother’s muffin tin which is now in my possession can only produce eight muffins about 1-1/2 inch tall. I compared it with with my 21st version which makes twelve four-inch muffins or cupcakes.
There are several lessons here. We could all stand to downsize our consumption, and we need a new “king.” As you may recall, after creating widespread panic, Chicken Little finally arrives at the palace with all her frenzied feathered friends like Henny Penny, Cocky Locky and Turkey Lurky. The king merely laughs at her from his velvet throne and tells her the sky can’t fall and she should go on back to the house. Sound familiar?
Maybe the sky isn’t falling, but forces are certainly working together to make it seem that way. On top of it all, we still have a hurricane season to get through. Have a good day – maybe the sky won’t fall until tomorrow!