When I was a girl, we preserved a lot of food. A lot. Like, if we were driving along and my mom saw a tender green shoot peeping from the earth, she'd stop the car and make me go pick it so we could put it away for the winter.
We did so much canning that if you could only know how much canning we did, you'd drop whatever it is you're doing, build a time machine, and travel back to my childhood so you could rescue me from my life as an indentured servant.
Don't worry, however, about building that machine for my own children. Although they may feel otherwise, I assure you they are only making cameo appearances in the Dickensian world of putting food by.
Because a most fortuitous coincidence occurred the other day. Just as my sister and I were reminiscing (read: deprogramming each other) about the endless vats of spaghetti sauce we used to make so many years ago, a friend called with some rather nebulous information about a load of tomatoes which apparently fell off the back of a truck.
She didn't offer any information. I didn't ask any questions. But I did purchase a few boxes of her wares.
And it was fun to watch my girls treat the experience as a novelty...for the first thirty minutes. After that, they grimly realized we were not flittering through the kitchen, playing our usual games of make believe.
This was actually work.
Which is when I explained to them: however did they think I came up with games of make believe in the first place?!
Listen, dear reader, when your mum has you up before the break of dawn each day of summer vacation, canning whatever happens to be in season and you stand at the kitchen sink, peeling pits from apricots or snipping the ends off green beans, and you cast a tremulous glance over your shoulder and behold a trail of fresh boxes of produce awaiting your attention, enough boxes to snake around the corner and disappear from sight, your mind finds an escape hatch right smartly.
It has to.
Otherwise, and I'm not kidding, I'm pretty sure I would still be standing there.