Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Sharing Skills

Two days ago I was at the supermarket and the couple in front of me had a young baby.  I watched as they tried to pay with their card again and again without success and ended up having to leave without their groceries.

I would have loved to have been able to help, but you can't very well offer to pay for someone's groceries without offending them.  Nor would it have been practical.  Why were they in this situation?  Why would it not happen again?

I also had an urge to run after them and tell them all about cooking from scratch, about vegetable gardens, making the things you need, or maintaining the things you already own.  I would have loved to tell them about the jerusulaem artichoke soup that we had eaten the night before.  I had cooked some corned beef earlier in the week and kept the broth.  I bought some artichokes for $1.50 from our local shop and cooked them, a supermarket onion and some of our home grown garlic in the broth.  When cooked, I added some milk and blended the lot.  It was wonderful!  We ate it with the cheapest supermarket bread (Oh the shame, but it's been a tough week!)  The kids loved the meal and dinner cost us about $3.00 for five people.   Recipes don't need to be hard or fancy.  You just need to learn how to cook and the types of food that work well together.

I would have loved to tell them how to make a loaf of sour dough like the one I just pulled out of the oven.  How little it cost, how much healthier it is, how little packaging we use..............  I would have also told them how wonderful a home smells when the aromas of home made bread waft through the house, making it smell enticing and cosy.

I would have loved to discuss which plants grow well at this time of year and share the story of my silver beet root from which we enjoyed a feed this week.  This time we ate the roots, rather than the leaves and they were lovely!  A bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on them, and baked in the oven.

I would have loved to sit with that woman and knitted together while her child was entertained by my daughter, Pumpkin.  We could have chatted about life and skills and shared information.  Now don't get me wrong, my life is far from perfect.  In fact, when posting the photos of the soup, I chose not to put a couple up because of the grime on the chairs.  Life is hectic, there's always work to be done and my house is usually messy but I wouldn't have any other lifestyle.  We are living our lives in a fulfilling and meaningful way and I wish I could share information about how live with everyone.  Come to think of it, that's probably what brought me to blogging!

I would have loved to have talked to them about all this and honestly had to hold myself back from running after them, but our society decrees that you behave a certain way, and they would have thought I was a weirdo, not someone trying to help.  Not someone with some answers that they could use.

Are this family, and many others, doing it tougher than they need to because they have never been taught simple skills of how to care for themselves and their families without spending a fortune?


Dani said...

Oh, I feel for that young couple, too. Bless you for even thinking of assisting them :)

I often wonder why more people don't try and grow / make their own. Perhaps they don't have a garden? Perhaps they don't have the knowledge? Perhaps they have been ill-equipped by their parents to handle what is being handed out by the financial world today?

Have we become too worried about what others feel when trying to offer assistance?

All we can do is try, in whatever small way we are able, to help others in need - especially if there are little one's involved. If more people thought like you Linda, then this world would be a better place :)

Busy mum of 3 said...

I don't know if you saw Rhonda's blog yesterday, she was talking about home skills classes that they run at the community centre. Basically very few people even turn up!

I really don't know why more people don't grow/make/bake for themselves, but I do think it is a complex issue. Everything from personality to marketing influences these people. But I do want to shake them up at times too and say GIVE IT A GO! Especially when you see say parsley or lemongrass for sale at the supermarket for $2.50 a bunch...It grows like a weed, you don't need to do a thing to it! Everyone should have some!

Kim said...

I agree , Linda. I think there is a generation ( ours! and younger) that missed those home skills somehow. But I think that the internet brings these skills to the forefront once more. Hopefully people like the ones you found will read your blog with all its wonderful ideas!

angela said...

I know how you feel. I listen to those complaining they have no money and then they go to the supermarket every day to buy packaged food that tastes terrible, costs a fortune and isn't good for you. But if I try to hint about cooking for scratch they think I'm talking about being a master chief. Good simple wholesome food just doesnt cut if apparently. As for growing it yourself, reusing recycling and doing without, well I might Ae well be talking another launguage! So for years I have been dealing with there sly remarks and condensending attitudes. But there is a change in the wind now they are asking me how did I cook that and what am I planting in my garden and even wow your so clever to have learnt to knitt that! Funny how it now is starting to make sense to them. I've been on the simple life road for all my married life. Oh well better late than never!

simplelife said...

I've never been in that situation where I was unable to pay and had to leave my groceries, but if I was I would love someone to run after me and offer to share their knowledge and skills. I'd love it now, it could be the start of a great new friendship.
Sadly I think we have been conditioned to think that we can't possibly do any of those things unless we are a masterchef, gardening guru etc, also that they are menial tasks best left to someone else. By the way I believe the person who cooks night after night with a limited budget and many fussy and varied tastes to cater for is the true masterchef, not someone who has access to anything they need, and uninterrupted time and all the equipment to prepare one dish! oops off my soapbox now ;)

cheers Kate

farmer_liz said...

Having a blog is a great way to pass on information, if people know what to look for, but I don't know how to help the people who don't know to look (due to being brainwashed by all the ads on TV and thinking its normal to just buy everything). I have also wondered if there is an opportunity for me to pass on life-skills somehow, the only thing I could think of was volunteering at girl-guides or youth groups and offering to teach them some skills. I think its too late to reach some of the older ones, unless they are looking for help. Its such a shame that schools have stopped teaching home-economics, that's where I learnt to bake/cook and sew, and all the boys did too, soon there will be whole generations who have no idea how to look after themselves! Good on you for wanting to help even if you couldn't.

Linda said...

Dani, who knows what was behind their situation. And yes, I think it's sad that people feel unable to 'interfere' when they want to help.

Busy Mum, yes I saw that post and felt it was so relevant to this situation. But I don't think that people consciously avoid learning skills. I don't think they even realise that certain skills will improve their lives!

You are right Kim. Thank goodness for the internet where we can learn just about anything and connect with other people!

Angela it makes so much sense in every way to be more careful in how we live, doesn't it? It's thanks to people like you that it is finally turning around! Oh and some serious climate change!

Kate, you are so right! People who juggle kids, work, gardens, budgets etc., etc., etc., are amazing! And what a meaningful way they live!

Liz I couldn't agree with you more! People aren't anti learning skills, they just have no idea that they need them and how useful it could be in their daily lives. It would be great if you could find somewhere to teach life-skills to others. In the meantime we just all need to keep talking everywhere we go!