Daily Prompt: Handmade Tales – I am Mrs. Do-It-Yourself in person

Automation has made it possible to produce so many objects — from bread to shoes — without the intervention of human hands (assuming that pressing a button doesn’t count). What things do you still prefer in their traditional, handmade version?


Who makes their own lasagna? The photo is a Mrs. Angloswiss lasagna fresh from the oven. Perhaps there are those with Italian ancestry that would not dream of buying a ready-made, frozen lasagne and would do it all themselves from the beginning. Is it worthwhile to make the pasta pastry, roll it out to size; make a cheesy sauce as well as cook mincemeat in a tomato sauce put it in a dish layer by layer and top it all up with the remains of the cheese sauce, sprinkle parmesan over it and bake in the oven? There are not many that bother today; after all it is all available in the supermarket, even if the British did have a crisis when they discovered that some frozen food companies were using horsemeat instead of the normal beef. Mrs. Angloswiss does it all herself, although I do buy the ready-made pasta leaves to save time.

I have a thing about ready-made food. I do not trust it. I do not know what it really contains and today there is so much automation, the greedy food companies do not really care. Now and again there might be some food poisoning, but nothing serious and today’s news is always news, but tomorrow? If I write a prize suspicious blog today, tomorrow it is already forgotten, or a few days later, because something new has arrived. So if the customers of supermarket “A” all have digestion problems because the ready-made automated food they bought from the frozen food selection or special sterilised section or whatever from the shelf had some sort of germ, who cares. No-one really talks about it a week later and the toilet roll sales multiply in turnover.

If I am invited to a restaurant I will go and I will eat, but I will not visit a restaurant as a treat. I had to make enough compromising solutions when I was a working woman. I arrived home half an hour before lunch. I cooked for my son and I, with enough left for Mr. Swiss in the evening and I returned to the office ninety minutes later. I could not afford to eat in a restaurant with son no. 2 daily, and I did not want to. I had dealt with the shopping problem before I arrived in the office and I had it all worked out timewise. Pasta cooking needed about twenty minutes, veg ten at the most according to what it was, and meat could be cooked in the pressure cooker to save time. I did it all myself. I could have taken advantage of automated food, but would I know what I was eating? There are so many preservatives, chemical elements mixed into everything. It is not my sort of thing. Basically it is all a question of logistics. I remember once I had to bring my car to the garage and near the garage was a MacDonalds. I had to eat something for lunch and so I entered this fast food temple. I found a small table. The other tables were occupied by mothers and their children. Do mothers actually cook today I asked myself?

Today I am a golden oldie and no longer a working woman, so I have the time to think it over and cook it. I do not need prepared packages. I buy my meat over the counter usually. I do not buy pre-packed meat in a cellophane wrapper. Perhaps I should have married a farmer, then I would even know the mother and father of the cow I was eating, but there I would have a problem. I am not a vegetarian, but prefer my meat to be anonymous, otherwise I would not eat it. If I knew that the leg of lamb I was eating came from the farm around the corner where Bluebell was its mother and the only ram in the pack the father, then forget it. I prefer New Zealand lamb. There are thousands of them roaming the prairies and probably the mothers do not even remember how many children they had. My dad had a basic saying on stock as always “Let’s face it there are enough cows walking around and they must be there for something”. I am not agreeing, but try feeding a cat vegetable, he cannot digest it and so it always eats meat. The human body is able to digest meat, so why not.

That is the food problem dealt with for me. I love knowing how things arrive. I made my own clothes for many years; mainly because I had such an impossible figure, that it was the best solution – I was very tall. I even made trousers for the kids, but that was more a financial solution. Today I have perhaps shrunk a little, but what I have lost in height I have gained in width, although being a golden oldie who bothers. I dress in comfort and comfort clothes give and expand and I can buy it.

I buy bread although I even baked bread almost daily some time ago. Ok, it taste fine, smells good, but is it worth it? I decided eventually no, it was not worth it and so I now buy my bread. I do not eat a lot of bread. Making shoes is nothing I ever thought about, but I do not think so. There is nothing better wearing a pair of adidas or whatever for roaming around the country, and in summer either shoeless or a few leather thongs wrapped around the feet do the job quite well.

A thought came to me. This prompt is really directed at the so-called western civilisations. I remember a week in Marrakesh, Morocco. There is a market (souk), full of hand workers. They recycle what they can. They are not rich people and they would probably laugh when they would see the subject of this prompt. They would not have a great choice (except for the rich), they know how to make everything themselves and do not throw it away because something new has arrived.

Daily Prompt: Handmade Tales – I am Mrs.Do-It-Yourself in Person