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Friday, June 16, 2017

The world we have lost

The disappearance of cooking is merely one of many factors in the Great Break with tradition that took place in the 1970s.
A comprehensive study published in 2013 showed that all Americans, no matter their socioeconomic status, are cooking less than they have in the past. Between the mid-1960s and late 2000s, low-income households went from eating at home 95 percent of the time to only 72 percent of the time, middle-income households when from eating at home 92 percent of the time to 69 percent of the time, and high-income households went from eating at home 88 percent of the time to only 65 percent of the time.

Men and women, collectively, are spending less time at the stove. On average, the two genders spend roughly 110 minutes combined cooking each day, compared with about 140 minutes per day in the 1970s and closer to 150 minutes per day in the 1960s. The main driver of this trend has been a significant drop-off in the time women spend cooking.
This subject came up in a recent Darkstream, when we were discussing how the Millennials and Generation Zyklon simply don't remember America as it was. They were fascinated by stories of what growing up in a homogeneous suburban white America that was still recognizable as Norman Rockwell's America.

That's what gave me the idea to publish a non-fiction anthology, by Generation X writers, about their recollections from their childhood. If you're interested in submitting, write one - ONE - story between 2500 and 7500 words, and email it to me with LOSTWORLD in the subject. Do not send me inquiries or questions or attempt to discern whether I'm more interested in story A or story B. Non-Generation Xers should not submit; we're not looking for Tales of the Baby Boom or perspectives from younger generations.

This is intended to be a chronicle of the world that we knew that our children and grandchildren will not. Keep that in mind. It's not about you, or trying to demonstrate how clever or unique or wonderful you are, it's about sharing the things you saw and experienced that no longer exist for the benefit of those too young to have seen them.

UPDATE: In answer to several questions, we're using the period 1961 to 1979 to represent Generation X. So, please don't submit unless you were born between those years.

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205 Comments:

1 – 200 of 205 Newer› Newest»
Blogger Cataline Sergius June 16, 2017 6:33 AM  

Slim girls in tube tops with no tattoos. (*sigh*)

Blogger Cataline Sergius June 16, 2017 6:41 AM  

Fiction or non-fiction?

If fiction is permissible, what are the restrictions on that?

Blogger Jack Vibe June 16, 2017 6:44 AM  

"Non-fiction anthology"

Blogger Scott Birch June 16, 2017 7:00 AM  

America only?

Blogger RobertDWood June 16, 2017 7:03 AM  

"From now on, only America first" -GET

Blogger KJE June 16, 2017 7:08 AM  

It not only has to be the the things we no longer have, but by extension, an examination the things we are losing out on.

to wit....

... families who don't eat together are less connected to each other,
... we are more obese as a nation for it,
... we have less understanding of what it means to perform mundane physical labor,
... we are more dependent on the supply chain or service economy to obtain our food,
... we spend more disposable income on our food than is prudent,

Anonymous basementhomebrewer June 16, 2017 7:10 AM  

Millenial, but I will put in that, while my mother was not a great cook, she cooked us dinner every day on a week night. Starting when I was 10, similar to what Vox said he does with his kids, I had to cook one night a week and my sister had to cook one night a week. Meal plan through execution.

When I was dating I was amazed that nearly all the girls I dated couldn't cook at all. To this day my fiance attempts to cook but she often defers to me or asks me many questions throughout the process.

In their defense it does seem women have retained the skill of baking. Most of those same women know how to bake, they just can't cook a meal. It works for me, because I derive absolutely no enjoyment from baking since it tends to be such a regimented process.

Anonymous rien June 16, 2017 7:12 AM  

Hm, no american here, but we do just the opposite: we are cooking more than ever before.
I simply don't trust any prefab anymore. We do everything starting with the raw stuff. Call me crazy... but I feel much better (and so do the others) and weight has become a non-issue.

Blogger VD June 16, 2017 7:12 AM  

America only?

This one, yes. If it's successful, we might do a UK/Europe one.

Blogger KJE June 16, 2017 7:13 AM  

Forgot one...

... fathers have less of a chance to influence their daughters,

Anonymous Zophiel June 16, 2017 7:28 AM  

What "Year of Birth" borders are you using? I ask because I was born in 1980, which depending on which set of borders you use, is either late Gen-X or early Millennial. I have memories of the Golden Age, and of watching it fade, all from my school-age days. . .

Anonymous User June 16, 2017 7:36 AM  

When I was in 6th grade my "homeroom" teacher told all the little pickaninnies to be nice to me on account of I'd been in Europe all summer and I hadn't seen a black person in months. Shockingly their response was a uniform "oh okay" and they toned their nogging way down.

Blogger Durandel Almiras June 16, 2017 7:42 AM  

Like Zophiel, I too would like to know what birth year range you want. I was also born on the cusp between X and Millenial. I watched it fall apart during my teenage and college years.

Blogger Wanda Sherratt June 16, 2017 7:42 AM  

How interesting! And yet, if you look at real estate listings, a big selling point is the big, fabulous, beautiful kitchen with luxury appliances and granite countertops. Why pay for such a lavish kitchen when you're only going to use it to make coffee and toast in the morning?

Maybe it's a sort of nostalgia for the past, when the kitchen really was an important power center of the house. Sort of the way people still talk of how important it is for family cohesion to talk things over around the dinner table, when it's been decades now since families all sat down together nightly to eat all at the same time.

Blogger Midnight Avenue J June 16, 2017 7:42 AM  

Is there a submission deadline?

Anonymous Shimshon June 16, 2017 7:47 AM  

This sounds fun. I gotta give this a whirl. My mother didn't do much cooking growing up, and she didn't have daughters to teach, but she was a fantastic cook. So was her Polish-born mother.

Blogger Beowulf the Geat June 16, 2017 7:48 AM  

This is a brilliant idea.

Anonymous Faceless June 16, 2017 7:49 AM  

@14

It is a form of conspicuous consumption, play acting, and female territorial pissing. Home sales are all marketed to women, and the listing agent believes it is his job to gang up on the idiot husband after dazzling the wife if it's a married couple.

My bachelor cousin bought a house in the country which was owned by an old woman after her husband died. She cried and cried and cried at the closing that that it wasn't going to a married couple or a woman because she had poured lots of money into redoing the kitchen to make it marketable to a woman.

He cooks - a lot - for himself, but he would be OK with the cheapest construction grade particle board everything because he's not doing it as play acting.

Blogger Salt June 16, 2017 7:50 AM  

This could be a video, put out on BetaMax.

Blogger Gordon June 16, 2017 7:52 AM  

Wanda, it provides the caterer a place to serve, and the guests a place to hang out and talk, during parties.

BHB, my baking is limited to scones and biscuits. But I bake very, very good examples of both. I've tried bread, but I have not succeeded in making a good loaf.

Anonymous Dudemanhey June 16, 2017 7:57 AM  

As a rural NC resident, born and raised, I definitely remember the nation that was. Being born in 1981 however, I don't really belong to gen X, or millenials. I think I still will try to write one account to submit for your collection if a 1981 birth date qualifies me...

Blogger Salt June 16, 2017 7:58 AM  

Faceless wrote:the listing agent believes it is his job to gang up on the idiot husband after dazzling the wife if it's a married couple

Even in the boating world, it's the same. Couple is buying that 40'er and it better have granite counter tops in the galley.

Blogger roughcoat June 16, 2017 8:05 AM  

@ 7

Yeah, it's a sad state of affairs. I have known a lot of girls who could bake cookies or cakes, but couldn't cook to save their lives. I also knew a cute young girl in college who told me she could in fact cook very well, but pretended to be clueless because she "doesn't want to be seen as housewife material". Thanks, feminism.

Blogger Cataline Sergius June 16, 2017 8:14 AM  

Flogging my brain to come up with stuff Millennials will find strange and amazing.

Cigarette machines and no one cared if a kid was buying. Mix tapes and a Walkman. CB radios and a car that could go from zero to sixty in 10 seconds was godalmighty fast. Everybody and I mean every si single body you knew had gone to Sunday school.

Blogger Ransom Smith June 16, 2017 8:19 AM  

a car that could go from zero to sixty in 10 seconds was godalmighty fast.

That's actually an area where most millennials are behind their predecessors. A lot either don't own cars, or don't care.

And can't drive stick for that matter. Which has basically become an anti-theft device.

Blogger tweell June 16, 2017 8:19 AM  

Baking may appear to be still known, but that's masked by the number and variety of mixes and frostings available. Most of these 'homemade' goodies come straight from a box, and very few women can make frosting from scratch.

Blogger SouthRon June 16, 2017 8:29 AM  

Working on one called "The Grandparents that Were". After having watched my own parents fail as grandparents and the discussion the other day about how our boomer parents don't know how to be grandparents to our children, it seems appropriate.

Anonymous Curlytop June 16, 2017 8:34 AM  

Before we pulled our boys out of the Scouts, a CUB Scout den leader asked the question of how many days a week did the scout families eat together around the table...only our boys and another family had raised hands by the the 3rd day and both sets of boys answered all 7 days.

Even having teens w part-time jobs, activities, and Husband traveling for work, we still have home-cooked meals and eat together well over 95% of the time. Time well-invested.

Blogger roughcoat June 16, 2017 8:36 AM  

Cataline Sergius wrote:Flogging my brain to come up with stuff Millennials will find strange and amazing.

Cigarette machines and no one cared if a kid was buying. Mix tapes and a Walkman. CB radios and a car that could go from zero to sixty in 10 seconds was godalmighty fast. Everybody and I mean every si single body you knew had gone to Sunday school.


Calling people on an honest to goodness wired phone, and having to ask whoever picked up if your friend was there.

Making plans with friends ahead of time and actually keeping them.

Proper dating, instead of a hookup culture where asking a girl to dinner is tantamount to proposing marriage.

Anonymous David-093 June 16, 2017 8:37 AM  

The year range for the generations is

Silent 1925-1942
Boomer 1943-1960
Xer 1961-1981
Millennial 1982-2004
Zyklon 2005 -202?

Strauss and Howe use these dates based on massive social patterns rather than simply entertainment shifts.

Anonymous Zophiel June 16, 2017 8:38 AM  

Thank you for the update. Looking forward to reading and sharing this when it's released.

Anonymous Überdeplorable Psychedelic Cat Grass June 16, 2017 8:41 AM  

Early Millenial here: my mom was (and still is) a fantastic cook; my dad too. They never really taught me but gave me a cookbook (of family recipes). I got a few more books from my home stay in Spain and became proficient in some basic Spanish meals in my 6 months there (can't believe that will be a decade in January). If if weren't for this damn job I currently have (hoping one I've got in the pipe comes through), I'd cook more as I just don't have time right now.

@Cataline I'm just old enough to remember radio Walkman.
I must be the 1% of my generation and 5% of Americans that can still drive stick (I drive a Jeep Wrangler). I mentioned to a client yesterday how it is in automatic antitheft device like someone else up the thread said. He agreed.

My ex-girlfriend, we may get back together, is a phenomenal cook. Then again she is from West
Virginia, where it seems much of what's left of America along with parts of the South reside.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 16, 2017 8:43 AM  

Between the mid-1960s and late 2000s, low-income households went from eating at home 95 percent of the time to only 72 percent of the time, middle-income households when from eating at home 92 percent of the time to 69 percent of the time, and high-income households went from eating at home 88 percent of the time to only 65 percent of the time.

Men and women, collectively, are spending less time at the stove. On average, the two genders spend roughly 110 minutes combined cooking each day, compared with about 140 minutes per day in the 1970s and closer to 150 minutes per day in the 1960s. The main driver of this trend has been a significant drop-off in the time women spend cooking.


Fascinating how linear those trendlines are. There may be a very simple socioeconomic law at work here. For starters, let's try "Time spent acquiring and preparing food is proportional to economic need." Or, T = c*N.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 16, 2017 8:44 AM  

Please keep in mind that "need" is not economic demand, because demand requires both need and purchasing power.

Anonymous basementhomebrewer June 16, 2017 8:48 AM  

Gordon wrote:BHB, my baking is limited to scones and biscuits. But I bake very, very good examples of both. I've tried bread, but I have not succeeded in making a good loaf.

Bread is a little unique. The biggest improvement you can make is cold fermenting the dough for 3-4 days. I bake bread on occasion with my spent brewing grain to pair with my finished beer on occasion. They go together really well.

Blogger Gaiseric June 16, 2017 8:48 AM  

Riding my bike to school in kindergarten; about two miles through a residential neighborhood. By myself. Stopping on the bridge on the way home to gawk at what we think was a water moccasin in the creek below with a few of my neighborhood friends. Getting my butt whipped because I was an hour late from school with no good explanation.

Spending evenings and weekends taking my bike to the nearby shopping center. Trying to do jumps off of a small stair on the loading dock in the back. Gawking at the Erol Otus and Larry Elmore covers on those boxed sets for some newish game called Dungeons & Dragons in the hobby store that everyone was talking about at school.

Coming home for dinner to home-cooked meals at about the time my dad arrived from work. Staying up late on Friday evenings because one of my dad's favorite old movies was on TV that night, and nobody had heard of a VCR yet. Playing "Battlestar Galactica" with my friends at recess. The black kid had to be Boomer.

Seeing Star Wars for the first time in theaters when it was new. Going to the drive-in for double features.

In general, feeling free and safe to wander around town as much as I liked, even as a very young kid. Riding my bike a good 10-15 miles or so the public library downtown once a week or so during the summers and loading up my backpack with Edgar Rice Burroughs, Poul Anderson, Robert Adams and even John Norman books as a 12-13 year old kid, because the shelves were still full of them.

Going to the mall with a pocket full of quarters and spending hours at the arcade, after seeing Disney's The Black Cauldron by myself, because my parents weren't interested, and were worried it would be too intense for my little brothers and sister.

Cross-country road-trips every summer to go visit grandma and grandpa and the cousins, because my dad was the one who went away out of state for work, and we didn't live next to them. Mixing up the trip by stopping at all kinds of scenic or interesting places in New Mexico, Colorado or Utah on the way back out west from Texas. Driving around after dark looking for a motel that had a vacancy sign on, and popping in for a few bucks and having all us kids piled on the floor sleeping.

Wrestling and playing in the back of the station wagon with the suitcases all around us while driving. My youngest brother spending most of the trip standing on the wheel-well looking over the front bench seat. Man, I miss road trips. I try to take them with my family, but it's not the same. Nobody even pays attention to where we're going or what's out the window.

Stopping at mom and pop diners all up and down the country, because there were only a few national chains anyway, and they were usually fast food, which we avoided.

Going out to some flat river bank or other semi-secluded place with my boy scout leaders, setting up tin cans on a log and taking turns shooting a .357, then a 12-guage at them.

Blogger rumpole5 June 16, 2017 8:55 AM  

In our local town of Elkhart, Indiana about half of the real estate was owned by man named Charley Fieldhouse. During the great depression he bought a tankcar of mudbrown paint. So, into the 60s most of the town was "Fieldhouse brown". Grayish white was the other dominent color. Coal was a primary fuel. After a snow there was one glorious day of glistening white, and then the coal dust painted everything gray. Into the 60s many folks had outhouses instead of inside toilets. There was a bucket of powered lime or wood ashes in it in the corner,with a cup to sprinkle in the hole to keep down the smell. Most folks had kerosene lamps on hand because the power went out after storms.

Elkhart was on the Pennsylvania railroad and Illinois Central rail lines between Chicago and the east coast, so we spent much time waiting for long lumbering trains to pass through at about 3 miles an hour. We had the time. There was not much to do. We might have a get together in someone's parent's garage and dance to scratchy single song 45 records, or the radio. There were 3 TV channels, largely in black and white, that played the National Anthem and switched to test patterns around 11 pm when the programing went off. Elkhart had three theaters downtown, and three single screened outdoor theaters open in summer. We spent a lot of time outdoors in summer. My friends and I would make our way to the concrete island "icebreaker" in the center of a nearby river bridge and swim. The water was much less clear then than it is now. Lake Michigan beaches were abour an hour drive away. The beaches were often fouled with mass die offs of a small Alewife fish, so local lakes were more dependably clean. Most kids had after school jobs. I helped my big brother with a trap line for Muskrats on an island in the St. Joe river. My first income tax record dates from age 14. I had been working for my grandfather putting cardboard sleeves on V-belts from age 13. My aunt was afraid that I would get in trouble, so I went and got a social security card and an underage work permit in 1965. I also made hay in August, picked cucumbers (50 cents a 5 gallon bucket), picked apples in the fall and did lawns in summer and cleared snow in winter. In high school I worked as a bagboy at Krogers grocery. ($1.90 an hour) In college summers at a window factory and a trailer factory, and college winters at the dorm kitchen. I didn't have to work, that is just what one did.

In the 50s through early 90s We lived in a technically primitive age. When I was very little I recall picking up the phone to talk to the lady operator who physically placed calls. Then, into the 80s, most phones had dials where one physic90sy spun the dial from a number hole to a stop, and then let the dial spin to input a timed impulse. This had to be done for each number, so placing a call took a good deal more time. Calling several people was a real nusiance. In the 1980s I bought a small black box device for my office dial phone. I would hold it up to the phone mouthpiece, push buttons to produce tones, and place calls quickly. It was a real blessing. As a young appeals court aide and then prosecutor I had to write every opinion and pleading out on a legal pad, then give it to the typist for a draft. Then make corrections on the draft and give back to the typist for another draft or final. It took at least 3 days to produce annything. Novel pleadings consumed hours in the law library pulling down reference books to try and find applucable case opinions. By the time I left, I was easily writing multipage responses and motions on the computer, and doing all of the research on the computer as well. No typist (except me) was involved. When I was finished with a pleading it could be signed, filed and sent out instantly. I and several other attorneys could share one secretary who was freed up to do scheduling. I could place a call to a regular party by pushing one button.

All in all, I prefered living and working recently than in the last century.

Blogger Sillon Bono June 16, 2017 8:56 AM  

I can cook enough variety of food to not repeat a single meal in a month.

I owe it to my mum, she made sure I could cook for me and my brothers in case she would get sick or had to be absent from home.

Sillon is moved to tears.

Anonymous Curlytop June 16, 2017 8:56 AM  

I still don't buy that Millenial cut off point at 2004. By and large the shift is seen at the 2000 mark.

Kids born in 82'are miles apart from those born in 2000.

Anonymous The Original Arrogant Penguins Fan June 16, 2017 8:56 AM  

This is an awesome opportunity, thank you - on of the best posts & ideas I've seen on this blog in the 13 years I've been reading it, and that's out of many excellent posts.

It's good to know that there are some things still positive about this era we live in.

Blogger Gordon June 16, 2017 8:58 AM  

So how is it that "poor" folks can afford to eat out so much? One of the things about EBT welfare food stamps: there are places like fish or chicken joints wherein you purchase "raw" food. This is eligible for EBT. Then you pay the store a cooking fee (usually a dollar) and walk out with the same cooked food a cash customer gets. They usually have some sort of refrigerated display of the raw stuff, just for the inspector (I was an inspector, once).

It's a scam, utterly and completely, just as corner stores in the hood will purchase a block of cheese at Cub or Hyvee or wherever, mark it up $4, and sell it as WIC eligible to Latrina.

Wondering why Latrina can afford the hair and nail salon twice a month and you can't? She doesn't pay for food, is why. Or rent, usually.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 16, 2017 9:07 AM  

I'd bet that 110 minutes would be even lower if not for the foodies bringing up the average. I knew a woman who rarely cooked, but when she did it always had to be a big production, with recipes carefully selected from magazines, odd ingredients that she'd never use the rest of, and a massive pile of dishes to clean afterwards. She'd put in hours on a meal like that and end up exhausted, but she would have thought it beneath her to spend 30 minutes three times a day frying some bacon and eggs or slapping together some sandwiches for a husband.

Anonymous David-093 June 16, 2017 9:07 AM  

We're too near the date for it to be settled yet, but S&H are likely correct since the Crisis began in 2008 and generations are shaped in part because they don't remember the previous era. It might help to think of it this way: every generation has cusps at the edges where the generations are blurred, and a large core. This is where the public ad hoc dates come from.

Blogger Farnswords June 16, 2017 9:09 AM  

As a millenial, I think this is a brilliant idea and I can't wait to see the result. The stories of homogeneous America really are legendary to me. I grew up with all the vibrant strength of car thefts and break-ins in my neighborhood, which other than that was quite picturesque. That's the only America I know.

Blogger Ransom Smith June 16, 2017 9:14 AM  

I mentioned to a client yesterday how it is in automatic antitheft device like someone else up the thread said.

@überdeplorable

For some of my dad's failings, he was at least adamant that all three children drive stick.

Much to my wife's irritation. As she can't. And struggles with the concept of two peddles.

Blogger Laramie Hirsch June 16, 2017 9:17 AM  

I will send something within the next week. Look forward to the opportunity.

-LH

Blogger dienw June 16, 2017 9:21 AM  

I didn't need a calendar to know what day of the week it was: today is oatmeal da...Friday. Liver day was not looked forward to.

Blogger LibertyPortraits June 16, 2017 9:27 AM  

Millennial here. Babyboomer parents cooked a lot but were terrible cooks, like nothing was ever seasoned... at all. As a result I was painfully thin because I didnt eat much. That led to eating out a lot which put me in credit card debt which led to me being fat. Didnt start cooking until I watched Gordon Ramsay's ultimate cooking course and I realized then I could do it.

Blogger Brian S June 16, 2017 9:31 AM  

Been using a cast iron skillet a lot lately, also picked up a probe style meat thermometer and it's really upped my game. Made some (bone & skin on) chicken breast recently, never knew it could taste so good. Seared it on the range, then put it in a 350 degree oven until the internal temp was 155, let it rest for 10 mins... wow! Juicy and flavorful (thanks to my marinade).

Anonymous fop June 16, 2017 9:32 AM  

I remember never locking the house or car. It simply was never a thought.

Anonymous The Original Arrogant Penguins Fan June 16, 2017 9:33 AM  

"I still don't buy that Millenial cut off point at 2004. By and large the shift is seen at the 2000 mark."

Anyone know of an "officially" accepted year, I don't? I'd split the difference here and say 1993... or may as well make it mid-decade at 1995.

Anonymous basementhomebrewer June 16, 2017 9:39 AM  

The Original Arrogant Penguins Fan wrote:"I still don't buy that Millenial cut off point at 2004. By and large the shift is seen at the 2000 mark."

Anyone know of an "officially" accepted year, I don't? I'd split the difference here and say 1993... or may as well make it mid-decade at 1995.



82 is the official cutoff to Millennial. I agree it's not a great place to start. I am '84 and I have a much different perspective from someone born in '87.

Anonymous basementhomebrewer June 16, 2017 9:43 AM  

Cail Corishev wrote:I'd bet that 110 minutes would be even lower if not for the foodies bringing up the average. I knew a woman who rarely cooked, but when she did it always had to be a big production, with recipes carefully selected from magazines, odd ingredients that she'd never use the rest of, and a massive pile of dishes to clean afterwards. She'd put in hours on a meal like that and end up exhausted, but she would have thought it beneath her to spend 30 minutes three times a day frying some bacon and eggs or slapping together some sandwiches for a husband.

This is definitely something most younger women don't get. They have trouble grasping that I would be happy if they just brought me a basic sandwich while I was working on the car.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 16, 2017 9:43 AM  

A Millenial is someone who was old enough to remember 9/11, but too young to remember Reagan.

Blogger Aeoli Pera June 16, 2017 9:44 AM  

And you're all welcome, as always.

Blogger GracieLou June 16, 2017 9:48 AM  

My Mil daughter loves microwave oven stories, how we didn't understand them when they first came out. You'd go to heat up a dinner roll and set it for two, three minutes, thinking that might just be enough time because microwaves were supposed to cook fast. You'd pull out a smoking desiccated heap and say, "microwaves suck!" And we all worried about radiation. Should you stand next to it? Don't look into it! Your eyes will melt!

People kept trying to cook with them though. They had microwave cookbooks, microwave safety cookware (always ugly and beige) and microwave/convection oven combos to temp bitter people who had figured out microwaves weren't really for cooking. I know someone who tried to nuke a turkey for Thanksgiving.

It took about five years for people to understand a microwave is a reheating appliance, and to be fine with that.

Blogger dienw June 16, 2017 9:52 AM  

@Brian S
Try dipping the chjicken breast in egg then in spiced flour. Cook at 450 for 20 - 25 min. Very juicy. Spice mixes are now available in the racks.

I will have to try the resting of the meat part.

-----------------

I was taught the basics of cooking in the 60s by a professor who tald me knowing how to cook kept one from marrying the first girl who could.

Blogger Will C June 16, 2017 9:58 AM  

@35

I bet that bread is wonderful. I started using a starter that I made using Hofbrau Weisse instead of water and it is awesome. You have to start your bread the day before, but true homemade sourdough is the only way to bake bread.

Blogger Brian S June 16, 2017 10:02 AM  

@dienw

Thanks, I'll try that.

I've been doing steaks in the skillet more than anything else, and the instructions I found had me pulling them off the heat @ 10 degrees (f) lower than the target temp, so I decided to do the same with the chicken.

The other small details that have helped me a lot lately is using a healthy does of salt in my brines & marinades to get the flavor into the cells of the meat through osmosis. Also, letting the meat warm up by pulling it out of the fridge an hour or so ahead of time before cooking it has brought me better results. Seems to be the same with frying eggs... the yolk seems to break more often when it's right out of the fridge.

Anonymous Magus June 16, 2017 10:06 AM  

"The other thing that is marginalizing the country's care for cooking is the fact that people simply don't have the time that they used to. The majority of Americans, after all, still enjoy to cook. The problem, according to Balzer, is that time is more precious than it once was, especially now that both genders are working. "People don't have the time for dinner that they used to," he said."

Makes me think of the great illusion of labour saving devices. My dad will marvel at the wonderful things we have now. How much time they save, how much quicker everything is. It's just been a trade-off. We can do everything faster, but wage stagnation means we have to work just as long, if not longer, to eek out the same standard of living.

Anonymous fop June 16, 2017 10:08 AM  

I remember not being harassed by cops for not wearing a bicycle helmet on a freaking cul-de-sac.

Anonymous fop June 16, 2017 10:10 AM  

I remember being able to go shooting on a nearby vacant lot without panicking the entire neighborhood.

Blogger Dr Caveman June 16, 2017 10:12 AM  

Great idea, would love to read it

Blogger NO GOOGLES June 16, 2017 10:15 AM  

A lot of this decline is just a function of the 2 income household becoming the norm. If both mom AND dad are working full time jobs, they don't have ~140 minutes a day to cook - they might not have much more than that to spend with their kids IN TOTAL. As a millennial, I grew up in a poorish 2 income household and we ate out maybe twice a month. My mom still did almost all of the cooking (my older brother cooked sometimes too) but she did most of the cooking on the weekends. She would prepare a ton of food and practically fill up the fridge and we would eat off of the food she cooked all week. It was a pretty workable plan and I liked it (other than I always got stuck washing dishes for an hour and a half on Saturday).

Blogger roughcoat June 16, 2017 10:15 AM  

Letting meat rest makes a huge difference. I generally warm up a stoneware plate in the microwave (25-35 seconds), put the cooked meat on it, and let it rest for 5-8 minutes under tented foil. Even for stuff like Italian sausage it really helps keep the juices in.

I'd use a warming drawer for that but I don't have one, and short of making my own, I'm not going to buy one. The typical warming drawer costs as much as a decent mid-range gas oven; they're obviously not aimed at the typical homeowner. They should be standard equipment IMO but few people will buy one at $800-1300 a pop.

Good article on resting meat: http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/12/how-to-have-juicy-meats-steaks-the-food-lab-the-importance-of-resting-grilling.html

Anonymous fop June 16, 2017 10:16 AM  

Seatbelts were those bothersome things you stuffed under the seat or simply cut off altogether.

Blogger Cherie Beck June 16, 2017 10:18 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Pax_Romana June 16, 2017 10:20 AM  

I learned that my generation didn't cook when I cooked tacos for my Bible study. Everyone there was under 30 years old, and all of them were amazed at my "prowess." I didn't do anything beyond brown meat, sautee some onions, etc. That's why I started a YouTube channel to teach Millennials how to cook simple, affordable recipes.

Anonymous Azimus June 16, 2017 10:20 AM  

It might not be a candidate for a short story anthology, but I remember all the time I spent with my paternal grandfather - how I enjoyed it, and he enjoyed it too. But the thing is, we didn't "do" anything - we just cleaned his lawnmower, or sat on the porch and listened to the Cubs while he drank a PBR and I drank a Coke. Or we would drive to the quarry and I'd borrow his 1950's swim trunks. Or go to the hardware store to buy wood and build a shelf in the basement. My parents - they see my children once/month and A) have to make it some kind of event and B) signal that they are sacrificing their time to do so. It's not like they don't love my kids, but they are just not involved in their lives at all. That's been a very stark difference between now and then. I will definitely be buying this book, BTW.

Blogger Cherie Beck June 16, 2017 10:20 AM  

@30. David-093
The year range for the generations is

Silent 1925-1942
Boomer 1943-1960
Xer 1961-1981
Millennial 1982-2004
Zyklon 2005 -202?

Strauss and Howe use these dates based on massive social patterns rather than simply entertainment shifts.
------------------------------------------------------------

I am a practitioner of generational theory, specifically this one outline by Strauss and Howe-- somehow I missed the naming of Generation Zyklon. My understanding gained during the early formation of "Generation Z" - is it was named the Homeland Generation. The naming of the this generation will be important because of the memetic impact of the internet in shaping our individual and collective mindset, as can be interpreted through the term zyklon.

Strauss and Howes' modeling of the generational history overlays archetypal framing to enhance meaning making. Every four generations is distinct from the other and similar to its repeating 4th generation according to archetypal influence. Therefore, calling generations - Gen Y and Gen Z distorts our understanding of the universal patterning shaping the march of western civilization, by extrapolating linear patterning rather than cyclical/seasonal patterning. Gen Y and GenZ are not just the generations following GenX. Each generation has a specific function and set of characteristics relative to the each other and the whole of the dynamics of generative unfolding.

While I understand the name Zyklon may make sense to this generation, I return to the naming convention of the Homeland Generation which follows Lost, Hero, Silent, Boomer, GenX and Millennial in a the continuum laid out from looking 15 generations and 500 years back in US history. The naming of these generations represent the uniqueness of each generation to the whole of western civilization and its turn in archetypal patterning of Nomad, Hero, Artist, Prophet, Nomad, Hero. As an artist archetype, Generation Homeland will have more in common with the Silent Generation than with any other generation in that continuum. Therefore the truth, beauty and goodness of the Silent Generation in its life cycle offers a rich wisdom to the parents and participants of the Homeland cohort.

Also, especially salient given the the precepts of this blog (you have to go back), Homeland Generation suggest to me a cultural endowment of a natural return sought by this generation to their homelands in order to restore thru recover, regeneration and renewal of homeland cultures in the context of present day conditions of global interconnectivity. Conditions which are the product of the generational turnings of the past. Thus calling them the Homeland Generation supports in a generative capacity the natural drivers of the generation itself, memetically.

Blogger Quilp June 16, 2017 10:28 AM  

Wow...my wife & I are born two weeks apart in 62. You picked us up out of ghetto that is the late boomer generation, and set us down softly in the land of Gen X. We can never repay such an act of kindness and Christian charity, but get those comics out, and we will try.

Blogger Matt Robison June 16, 2017 10:30 AM  

Ah man. I was born in 1981, and consider myself Gen X. At least, I have fond memories of my 5th to 12th years, roaming free on my bike in various small towns of the US. Should be a good project.

Blogger Adm Trell June 16, 2017 10:32 AM  

I have a small vegetable farm, and I can tell you that these cooking-at-home numbers are only accurate if they consider microwaving prepared meals as "cooking." People across all age groups cant cook anymore! It's almost a lost-art, and the millenials are the worst... they just look blankly at celery, cabbage, and greens and ask "what do I do with that?" If the just-in-time supply chains ever get disrupted, people will be eating each other within 48 hours....

Blogger dienw June 16, 2017 10:33 AM  

To name a generation Generation Zyklon is malicious wickness. Whoever did this deliberately spiritually marked them for destruction and should be rebuked. I recommend that the alt-right and any other alt- never use this term out of a sense of compassion.

Blogger Adm Trell June 16, 2017 10:35 AM  

I'm an X-er, and my mom taught me how to cook, bc she said "women today cant cook, so you better learn to feed yourself." And that was back in the early 80's. Mom was a Seer

Blogger OGRE June 16, 2017 10:38 AM  

I think the generational definitions will be revised in the years to come as we are able to look back and see the societal changes that would create demarcations. In particular I think the Gen-X definition of 1961 to 1981 begins too soon and ends too soon; I'd probably shift that to 64 and 84. I think the biggest societal change between Xers and Millenials is that of technology, specifically the internet and cell phones, such that the Xers grew up without them and the Millenials generally always had them. This also puts Y2K, the 2000 election, and 9/11 dividers at around the age of adulthood, and thus those events would have a different impact on those still in school vs those of voting age and in college or the workforce.

Blogger Ingot9455 June 16, 2017 10:38 AM  

The problem is coming up with a story structure for a time in which mostly good things happened. There are lots of snippets, but a story is a challenge.

Do you remember Halloween Trick or Treating, when if a family was unavoidably away from their house on that magical children's day, they would simply leave a bag or bucket of candy on their porch, on a chair, with a sign reading 'Take One'? And the kids, whether or not they were accompanied by their parents, would? (Oh, maybe two.) Do you remember there being an 'age' when you could actually go trick or treating just with your friends, not with your parents, and that was considered safe once you were old enough? And that some people would set up little haunted houses in their front living room, and it was completely okay for unattended kids to go into a comparative stranger's house for candy and a silly scare?

Blogger Akulkis June 16, 2017 10:42 AM  

@2

"Fiction or non-fiction?

If fiction is permissible, what are the restrictions on that?"

C'MON Cateline. You're smarter than that -- an anthology documenting the society we have lost would be completely undermined if it included fiction. The whole point is to DOCUMENT ACTUAL LOSSES, not imaginary ones. Fake but accurate doesn't cut it.

Anonymous Lostie June 16, 2017 10:43 AM  

This is relevant for people who think roaming free was only something done in small towns.

I spent the first part of my youth in NYC (a city area, but filled with detached houses). To me it was like the suburbs compared to Manhattan, but after living in a more rural area, it is definitely city. This is what was going on around 1985, for children ages 4 and up (sometimes younger if their sibling was there). I could ride my Big Wheels up and down the street. There were probably 10-20 kids living on the block. After school, we'd get a snack from our mothers and watch M.A.S.K., GI Joe or Inspector Gadget with a friend, and then go outside and play kickball, stickball, wiffleball, tag, ride Big Wheels, etc. I remember the girls playing hopscotch together. No parents were around watching us. We weren't allowed to cross the avenues or leave our street. All the kids would start running home around 5pm or so, when their mom's called them for dinner. Then we might all be out again around 7pm in the summer, playing and waiting for the ice cream truck.

I remember one time there was a van on the street with people living in it. We weren't allowed outside to play while that van was around. No idea if they were hippies, but that was the type of "out of the ordinary" situation that would get us restricted.

We would get out of school early (public school) once or twice a week to go to the private Catholic school to get CCD. I can't remember if Jewish kids went to do something else. The overwhelming majority of students were Catholic in the area. I have no idea if this still goes on or not, I suspect not.

My and all of my young friend's mothers were stay-at-home moms. I don't remember any mothers who worked a regular job, some did part-time work. I don't remember anyone being divorced. Even though we could roam free, there was always a neighbor or someone's parent around if we needed help.

Blogger OGRE June 16, 2017 10:45 AM  

@49 Brian.

You can 'sear' the chicken in the oven by popping the temp up to 425 or so for the last (or first, either way) few minutes of cooking. This works particularly well if the skin is still on. For a whole roasted chicken I'll usually cook at 350 for about an hour then up it to 425 for 20 or 30 minutes. Chicken doesn't need to rest nearly as long as beef, as its not as dense; a couple minutes is all it takes. Thomas Keller has a great vid online on roasting whole chickens. I can't suggest this enough as not only is the whole chicken cheaper than the parts, but you get a lovely carcass as well from which to make stock--which you should always do as chicken stock can keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. And no soup can compare to one made from homemade stock.

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 10:48 AM  

" . . . we're using the period 1961 to 1979 . . ."

That would be the period in which Norman Rockwell himself went full diversity retard.

I understand why you're using that period and I am not here to gainsay it, but I'll note again that what I have observed is that the generation gap between those remember the old America and those that don't occurs chiefly between those who remember changing the flags and those who don't.

'61 to '79 is the period of transition, so people born in that range have some sense of what things were like, but were themselves subject to the forces of change during the development of their cultural vision and outlook.

My advice is to read old books, the ones written in the time of interest. It's all in there.

Reading "Young Adult" books can be particularly instructive, because they not only reflect how people lived and thought at the time, but also the ideals of what people wanted children to become.

Blogger David-2 June 16, 2017 10:48 AM  

Anthony Daniels, who writes as Theodore Dalrymple, has written about this - it's covered in one of his books of essays on the decline of the British and the coarsening of civilization.

I can't find a reference to the original essay of the bat but here's a taste of it: from 2014.

Blogger dienw June 16, 2017 10:48 AM  

On meatballs: my mother cooked Swedish(?/approximation) meatballs, a drier andharder meatball I have never eaten. I never cooked them until several years ago when I was taking care of my elderly mother. I was making larger meatballs (Italian size) when,on the spur of the moment, I added red wine to the bread crumbs before I mixed them in to the meat. The results were delicious,firm, juicey meatballs,

A few years afterward, I was an artist friend's funeral and post meal: he was Italian and the family served Italian meatballs. They were delicious; so I mentioned how I cooked them; my friend's sister told me that is exactly how their mother used to cook meatballs (with wine); however, these had been cooked using water.

Blogger Kathy June 16, 2017 10:49 AM  

The timing of those years doesn't make sense. I'm 1984 and my oldest is 2004, big difference in just 2 decades.
I can cook and bake (though I choose not to bake for health reasons). I cook a big dinner nightly and a hot breakfast every morning. I might be an exception however. As a teen under that ever present boomer pressure to go to college, I considered cooking school for quite a while before I finally settled on tech school.

Blogger David-2 June 16, 2017 10:50 AM  

P.S. Here's the transcript of the speech: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass I just referred to.

Blogger Akulkis June 16, 2017 10:51 AM  

@24

"Flogging my brain to come up with stuff Millennials will find strange and amazing.

Cigarette machines and no one cared if a kid was buying."

My high school had two smoking lounges.


One was the Teacher's Lounge.

The other was next to the cafeteria -- for students.

Blogger Ingot9455 June 16, 2017 10:52 AM  

In my house, the concept of not eating around the table was unthinkable. Also, one was required to converse with the family.

The only day that we were permitted to eat in front of the television was the day the Mars Lander pictures were coming in live on the news.

Blogger Kathy June 16, 2017 10:54 AM  

@86 My mother lived in England in the 60s and started smoking at age 12! She said the peer pressure to smoke was really high (both my parents gave it up early on, thank goodness) there and that everyone was smoking. By the time I was a kid in the states, smoking was already vilified.

Blogger OGRE June 16, 2017 10:55 AM  

110 minutes is an excessive time for cooking a basic meal. In that time I could prepare tomato sauce and meatballs from scratch, boil pasta, make a salad, toast garlic bread, and even prepare and bake a cake from scratch as well. That is completely unnecessary for a weekday meal. There are dozens of proteins that can be cooked in minutes, and many vegetables can be prepared in that amount of time as well. And then there are plenty of things that can be roasted or baked in an hour or so that doesn't require constant attention. One person should be able to prepare a meat main with a side veg and side starch plus a salad in 20 to 30 minutes.

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 10:56 AM  

"I'm 1984 and my oldest is 2004, big difference in just 2 decades."

Yes, but what you may not realize is that there was just as big (and perhaps more significant) difference in the 20 decades before. The decades in which frozen dinners, imitation foods and microwave ovens were actually introduced.

"I might be an exception however."

You are. It happens.

Blogger Akulkis June 16, 2017 10:58 AM  

@26

"Most of these 'homemade' goodies come straight from a box, and very few women can make frosting from scratch."

Which is pathetic, because a basic buttercream frosting is simply beating together with an electric hand mixer:

A stick (i.e. 1/3 lb) of butter

1 pound of 10x confectioner's powdered sugar.

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract and/or chocolate powder
OR other flavor extract as desired

About 1 tablespoon milk (add in a few drops at a time as you add the sugar


Anybody who can't make that is pathetic.

Blogger SouthRon June 16, 2017 10:58 AM  

@fop I remember helping my Dad install seatbelts in our car to get it licensed because they didn't put them in the back seat.

There's another possible story for the book. Working with your Pop on his car and learning to your own when you could darn near stand under the good with the motor.

If we're not limited to one per author I may have to submit this one too.

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 11:00 AM  

"Flogging my brain to come up with stuff Millennials will find strange and amazing."

Open carrying rifles to school. And adults reacting to it by telling you that you were evidence that at least some of the youth of America was growing up OK, with solid, traditional values.

Blogger VD June 16, 2017 11:02 AM  

I recommend that the alt-right and any other alt- never use this term out of a sense of compassion.

You quite clearly don't understand the Alt-Right. At all. We have many positive attributes. Compassion is not one of them.

Anonymous Holmwood June 16, 2017 11:03 AM  

VD wrote:America only?

This one, yes. If it's successful, we might do a UK/Europe one.

What about Canada? (Clearly not UK/Europe, but also not USA).

Arguments pro and con. Canada wound up with very different immigration patterns but accelerated at many times the speed. And the Somalis still hit like a shockwave in the 1990s, forever altering where one lived and how one viewed public schools and democracy.

Blogger Kathy June 16, 2017 11:03 AM  

@90 I suppose you are right though I personally didn't grow up with most of these, my Mom thought tv dinners were horribly unhealthy things and wouldn't buy them. I was so jealous of all the kids who got to have packaged stuff in their lunch...or those that got to buy hot lunch! Shame she was hung up on the low fat craze though :(

Blogger OGRE June 16, 2017 11:04 AM  

@65 roughcoat

The warming drawer should be avoided for resting meats as it will tend to dry them out. A foil tent is usually sufficient unless you are resting in a room with a cooler ambient temp. In a warm room such as a commercial kitchen even that is unnecessary.

Want to know the best way to rest steaks? Dip them in beurre monte and let them sit for a few minutes. Beurre monte is a butter and water emulsion, very simple to whip up, but with the additional water it increases the temp at which butter can stay emulsified to about 190 as opposed to 100. It can then be used to make a sauce, or as a poaching liquid, or as I'd suggest as a base for resting meats. The benefits when it comes to resting meats are that it does so faster because liquid transfers heat better than air, and the fat acts as a sealant trapping the meats liquids inside (the butter is denser than the meats juices, thus they can't penetrate outside the meat). Drop a steak in beurre monte for about five minutes, dab off the excess butter with a paper towel, and you will have some incredible juicy, buttery steaks.

Blogger CM June 16, 2017 11:15 AM  

--I'd bet that 110 minutes would be even lower if not for the foodies bringing up the average. I knew a woman who rarely cooked, but when she did it always had to be a big production, with recipes carefully selected from magazines, odd ingredients that she'd never use the rest of, and a massive pile of dishes to clean afterwards. She'd put in hours on a meal like that and end up exhausted, but she would have thought it beneath her to spend 30 minutes three times a day frying some bacon and eggs or slapping together some sandwiches for a husband.--

/sigh/ I AM doing something wrong.

As to big kitchen houses, a working kitchen is a messy kitchen and women who like pretty, showy kitchens want to entertain in the kitchen. Dirty dishes and floured counters aren't conducive to picturesque entertainment. It is vanity.

Our floor plan is semi-open, so hiding a kitchen that cooked a big meal is only a semi problem. As in all things, I seem to be struggling with balancing worldly expectations and what is actually necessary.

If I cook, do laundry, and scrub, clutter is acceptable, right?

Blogger Gaiseric June 16, 2017 11:17 AM  

David-2 wrote:Anthony Daniels, who writes as Theodore Dalrymple, has written about this - it's covered in one of his books of essays on the decline of the British and the coarsening of civilization.
Are you suggesting that Dalyrimple is C-3PO?!

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 11:18 AM  

@96:

My first wife, born in the 50s, could cook. Not like my grandmother or mother (or myself, for that matter) could cook, but she could cook.

My second wife, born in the 70s, I had teach how to - break an egg.

She was at the other extreme of being an exception, but it still serves as an example of how much things had deteriorated already before you were born.

Anonymous Tom Bri June 16, 2017 11:22 AM  

Hurrah! I'm not a boomer? 1961, and always thought I was a late boomer. Didn't like being associated with hippies. Never cared for the Beetles or John Lennon either, and when he was shot, my reaction was a mild 'Oh, that's too bad.'

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 11:23 AM  

@98: "a working kitchen is a messy kitchen"

I have generally put it in the negative case: A clean kitchen is a useless kitchen. There were no shiny pots and sparking floors in Great Houses.

Blogger bosscauser June 16, 2017 11:26 AM  

Making me hungry. Where's the lard? Mexican today!

Gab.ai/GaryCauser

Blogger SouthRon June 16, 2017 11:26 AM  

Generation Zyklon: Gassing the Boomers

Blogger J Van Stry June 16, 2017 11:27 AM  

Here in California they're trying to make a change to this by putting all of the fast food and low price restaurants out of business, by raising the minimum wage to levels that no small business or restaurant can afford to pay.

Blogger OGRE June 16, 2017 11:30 AM  

"a working kitchen is a messy kitchen"

strongly disagree. Even when cooking the kitchen should not be messy...clean as you go. I'm not saying the kitchen should be kept spotless while working in it, but the key to good cooking is organization and you can't stay organized with messes all around. Not to mention the potential safety hazards due to cross-contamination. Its one thing to have a lot of stuff out for whatever you are making, but there shouldn't be dirty utensils laying around or stuff spilled on the floor. I can't recall either of my grandmothers kitchens ever being messy no matter how many people they were cooking for.

Blogger Cataline Sergius June 16, 2017 11:31 AM  

Check out a cookbook from that period. Recommended doneness for poultry and pork was 180 degrees.

No point in wearing rose colored glasses, the food wasn't as good when we were kids. Particularly if you had parents who had been poor during the Depression.

Meat and vegg had to be cooked until they were DONE in my house. Probably because the quality of meat they got at that time was iffy at best.

If Mom brought home Ritz Crackers we knew we were having guests that night because she sure as hell hadn't bought them for us. We got regular old Saltines out of a tin when it was snack time.

Blogger Jon D. June 16, 2017 11:31 AM  

Neat concept. I'd like to read that. I definitely need to cook more, but at least I know how to do it (My mom is great). I know a lot of folk who don't and eat out almost every night.

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 11:35 AM  

@106:

There is a difference between keeping things organized and wiping up as you go and this:

https://www.kullabs.com/uploads/kitchen2.jpg

Anonymous Texas exile June 16, 2017 11:36 AM  

@14 Wanda Sherratt

Kitchens are the new sitting room/parlor.

I got one in my house. It's great. No need to tidy the whole dang house when a friend stops by. Just keep one room clean where the kids can't play.

But now everyone wants to follow you right past that straight to the kitchen!

I remember even as a millennial kid in Texas, having a front room was a luxury marker, and it was rude, except for family or close friends to go in further into the house without it expressly stated.

I have had that conversion with family. They've confirmed that even that small custom has changed there.

Blogger Sterling Pilgrim June 16, 2017 11:37 AM  

Born in 1981... old enough to remember, too young to be Gen X... ((sigh))

Blogger Brian S June 16, 2017 11:42 AM  

@OGRE... thanks for the tips, the resting liquid sounds interesting, never heard of that one before

Blogger OGRE June 16, 2017 11:48 AM  

@109 thats actually a pretty usable kitchen, judging from the equipment and layout. I'd add an island table though for additional workspace and storage, but overall thats a solid setup for a kitchen.

I know what kind of kitchen you are talking about though, the massive display kitchen thats bigger than a restaurant kitchen, with granite countertops (god what damage those do to a knife!), glass cabinets (which would collect grease if anybody ever cooked in there), shiny copper pots hanging over the range (clearly never used and never seasoned), and high end equipment that nobody who lives there even knows how to use. Something like this:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-eut5bVsj1oI/TwYBh4M_bSI/AAAAAAAABgc/prb-czTDYrc/s1600/Styleonashoestring.com.jpg

Blogger Sheila4g June 16, 2017 11:49 AM  

My husband qualifies as Gen X by your chart, so I'll see if I can talk him into submitting something. I enjoy such recollections - sort of what various Alt-Right sites occasionally feature about when or how someone took the red pill. Would definitely purchase.

I was interested in cooking from a really young age, but was actively discouraged by my mother - she didn't want me underfoot in the kitchen. She was a good, basic cook and baker, but I really learned to cook (and sew and do decorative needlework and make candles) from all the neighbors I babysat for, who were late Silents or early Boomers. First learned to make bread, and various baking, and then cooking thereafter. I've had to come to people's rescue when their electric beater broke and they didn't know how to use a whisk to whip fresh cream (and I learned that while living in England). I remember the neighbor who first taught me how to separate eggs. I love experimenting with new recipes, but my husband prefers my tried and true meals. I get up and cook him breakfast every morning, and my whole family starts the day with a plate of fresh cut fruit. My son's foreign-born friends (specifically Filipino and Russian) commented I was the only American they ever knew who always had a bowl of fresh fruit out on the kitchen counter. I picked up recipes and cookbooks wherever I lived, although I learned my Asian cooking from a Thai friend in Bulgaria before I ever went to Singapore. I first made ice cream in Bulgaria as well - got an Italian ice-cream maker from the diplomatic store, and then a tip from a friend and went out to the dairy factory with my own lidded container which they'd fill with a hose - pure, rich, fresh cream.

A chicken cooking tip (I use this for thighs for that's what my husband prefers, but should work for breasts as well) - is bake first at a low temp of say 325 just until no longer pink, then broil. My general go-to marinade is olive oil, fresh squeezed juice of 2 lemons, salt, pepper, oregano, lots of fresh garlic (I use this so much that I cheat, and buy the tubes of Amore garlic paste from Italy). Marinade the chicken pieces meat side down in the fridge or at room temp for an hour or more. Flip to skin side down and bake at 325 in the marinade for 15-20 minutes until no longer pink. Transfer to broiler skin side down first and broil to lightly browned, flip and brown the skin. You will have lots of extra run-off from both the marinade and the meat's extra fat, but the chicken remains juicy and extremely flavorful.

Neither of my sons wants to learn to cook, even though they appreciate eating home cooked meals. My husband claims he used to cook himself all sorts of things, but I've never seen it in our 27 years of marriage!

Blogger Cail Corishev June 16, 2017 11:53 AM  

Check out a cookbook from that period. Recommended doneness for poultry and pork was 180 degrees.

That's true. I never had meat less than well-done until I left home. I thought hamburgers were better than steak, and liver was dry, chalky stuff.

But here's the thing: my mom put a meal on the table in front of my dad three times a day for nearly 50 years now. He knew that, with occasional exceptions, he could come in at mealtime, sit down, and eat. I don't think I can express how incredibly valuable that is to a man. Yes, sometimes it was balogna sandwiches and pork and beans. You get busy on a farm -- including the women -- so sometimes you're just there to shovel in some calories and get back to work. And it wasn't always as tasty and juicy as it could have been, but it was all good. For all those years, he never had to think about whether he needed to stop plowing an hour early to start simmering the spaghetti sauce for lunch, or whether the kids had lunches ready to take to school before he started work in the morning. Good, filling food was just there, meal after meal after meal.

If a woman can promise that today, she's already ahead of 99% of the pack, even if it's the same three meals every day.

Blogger Sterling Pilgrim June 16, 2017 11:55 AM  

We've amassed a nice collection of deep south cook books, the ones put together by local churches and banks for fund-raisers. No one can convince me they aren't pure gold, and yes, we've also got the Southern Living Cookbook, Betty Crocker, etc. These things are Southern Baptist's recipes going back who knows how long, perfected by ripened Belles of the South. If anyone is interested in Scans, let me know... but don't bother if you are afraid of Crisco and/or Butter in large quantities.

Blogger Sterling Pilgrim June 16, 2017 11:56 AM  

Last thing from me... If anyone has some nice recollections of Shopping Malls in the 70s or 80s, I'd love to hear them... heck, I'd read a whole anthology just on Mall experiences.

Blogger Brian S June 16, 2017 11:59 AM  

"Recommended doneness for poultry and pork was 180 degrees"

Trichinosis was a much bigger problem in farm raised animals in the past, it's rare now. Still a problem with wild black bear and cougar meat tho.

Anonymous paleopaleo June 16, 2017 12:02 PM  

How about going to a sporting event or concert (or any public event really) and not going through security?
Also as a fan of street photography the thing that stands out is posture. Dignified men and women standing straight, regardless of class.

I always tell those younger than me to imagine not locking your house or your car. The old farmers would typically leave their trucks running if they had a quick stop at a supply store.

I was born 1970 in a farming town that went from white majority to minority over the course of my K-12 life.

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 12:03 PM  

"thats actually a pretty usable kitchen"

Yeah, but it isn't in use. The pot on the stove is empty. The crate is full of fruit and salad greens arranged for artiness and won't be cooked. The dish rag has just been unfolded for the first time.

Yeah, it's an advertising photo shoot, but what they've pictured is what they're selling. The buyer wants what the photo looks like and would be reticent to cook and spoil the image.

I chose an image of an actually useful kitchen, rather than the admited monstrosity you posted, intentionally to show what is potentially a useful kitchen that is maintained useless, for show.

Even the pot on the stove is empty and was only placed there as a semiotic device and the food in the crate was chosen by someone who doesn't know what cooking is.

It's an ad by people who don't cook for people who don't cook.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 16, 2017 12:04 PM  

Sterling Pilgrim, you might be interested in James Lileks's collection. He has a ton of memorabilia from the 70s online, and some stories sprinkled in with it. There's even a page on mall postcards, which I didn't even know was a thing.

Anonymous paleopaleo June 16, 2017 12:07 PM  

The "open" kitchen and house "flow" are a direct result of mixing the sexes socially. My grandparents had a boxed up (as opposed to open) house which allowed the men and women to socialize separately.

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 12:08 PM  

Well, that last was a bit of disjointed stream of consciousness. Maybe I should turn off the computer for a bit and give full attention to cooking lunch. Comments and food will probably both benefit.

Anonymous MDZ1985 June 16, 2017 12:16 PM  

I've given a lot of thought to the vanished world that I was born into in 1966. One thought is that the 1950's lasted until about the mid-70's. In the 70's you could still eat at Big Boy restaurants, shop at Woolworth's, watch Captain Kangaroo in first-run and the original Micky Mouse Club in syndication. We lived in the mid-century housing stock, before the McMansions. You could still buy 50's cars from used car dealers (but they were already becoming cool because of the 50's nostalgia that was starting to hit). Most of this fizzled out by the early 80's.

Television was key. Not just the fact that there were only 3 networks and everybody basically watched everything. It was those syndicated shows and old movies that local stations used to fill up their air time. I mentioned Mickey Mouse Club. I grew up watching the same TV shows that my parents had and the same movies that my grandparents had. There was a strong sense of cultural continuity between our 3 generations. We all knew the same pop culture. I knew all about early football players, movie stars, the war, and loved talking about such things with older people. In high school, most of us had a pretty good understanding of the recent past, at least the major points. Much of this was already mythical and inaccurate, of course, but at least we knew that things had happened. The younger Millennials I work with don't know anything that happened in the 90's, let alone earlier. I can't even have a conversation with them.

Blogger Nate June 16, 2017 12:17 PM  

Submitted.

Anonymous patrick kelly June 16, 2017 12:19 PM  

Will see what I can do.

Usually it is a painful, sad experience for me to reminisce about the life past, the future lost. The best I can do is channel the sorrow as motivation to fight and struggle for restoration of the best of those times in my own life with those I still cherish.

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 12:24 PM  

"One thought is that the 1950's lasted until about the mid-70's."

Eras are no respecters of the calender. The fifties ended with the arrival of the Beatles/assassination of JFK and the 60s ended with the resignation of Nixon.

While I will continue to argue that the 50s should not be taken as a model of traditional American life because they were in fact extremely disruptive, the world changed in '65.

Blogger Nate June 16, 2017 12:29 PM  

"Last thing from me... If anyone has some nice recollections of Shopping Malls in the 70s or 80s, I'd love to hear them... heck, I'd read a whole anthology just on Mall experiences. "

Every saturday me and my two best friends would jump on our bikes and ride across our home town to the shopping mall. ON saturdays the arcade there ran a special... 60 tokens for 5 bucks. We'd spend all morning playing Gauntlet and Sinistar and RoadBlaster and Afterburner. It was awesome. We'd run out of tokens and walk across to the pet store where they had a giant python they always fed at noon on Saturdays so we would get to watch him eat a rat. Freakin ruled.

Then it was up the hallway in the mall to the music store. We'd pick up the latest Krokus or AC/DC CD and then we'd get back on our bikes... ride into across the street from the mall to the other shopping center where there was a taco bell. We'd eat... then it was back to the mall for more video games.

Blogger Nate June 16, 2017 12:30 PM  

did I say CD? Tape. Obviously back then.. 1986 or so... it was still tapes.

Blogger OGRE June 16, 2017 12:34 PM  

@120 kfg

yeah thats an advertisement of course. But that is definitely a kitchen designed by someone who knows what happens when cooking is done in a kitchen. The floor looks like epoxy, which is ideal for a kitchen as its resilient and easy to clean and maintain. The tiled walls from floor to ceiling are also ideal for the same reasons. Stainless steel cabinets and appliances; commercial grade utensil racks; full stainless steel backsplash and hood over the range; gas range instead of glasstop electric;
real vented exhaust and not the useless ventless kind; bright lighting over work areas. Even the lighting is an easy to clean design. Thats most certainly a kitchen designed to be worked in. Now whether its being marketed to people that can cook I don't know, but theres an awful lot thats right about that kitchen. Honestly its one of the most utilitarian home kitchens I've seen.

Blogger OGRE June 16, 2017 12:35 PM  

I'll add that the rug in there is absurd though...

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 12:58 PM  

"Every saturday me and my two best friends would jump on our bikes and ride across our home town to the shopping mall."

Q.E.D.

"Obviously back then.. 1986 or so... it was still tapes."

And again. If Edison cylinders were good enough for me . . .

Anonymous Hoppes #9 June 16, 2017 12:58 PM  

1963 and just glad to see I am not lumped in with the Boomers.

Damn, how can I focus on work now with all the possibilities running through my head--from playing war (pre-video games) to the crowd-accumulating 2-mile walk to school, to skipping school to ride our bikes out to the reservoir to fish and swim, to the big 4th of July picnics with the McConnell clan on the edge of the hay field, to taking our shotguns to school to go hunting after class in high school, to the broken noses and collarbones from playing sandlot football, to going to the principal's office to get cracked with a paddle... on and on.

Blogger newanubis June 16, 2017 12:59 PM  

What an excellent idea Vox. Even a cursory memory scan yields an absolute pantload of situations an delightful examples.

I would expect subsequent generations to read these collective experiences in a general state of disbelief.

In H.S. c.1984 our history teacher did the then unthinkable: she took a 10 day trip to the U.S.S.R.! We thought we would never see her again.

Upon return though, we peppered her with questions and the one reply that has stuck with me is that her biggest takeaway was essentially that while she was explaining about life what life is like in America, with considerably mundane examples (our other car, season tickets to the Yankees, etc) basically they didnt believe her. So the impression she felt that she had left was that Americans are by and large disingenous or prone to boastful exaggeration at best.
Wow.

Blogger SouthRon June 16, 2017 1:02 PM  

Tape or CD?

Try convincing a Millennial that their streaming music sounds like crap and I don't mean the music. I mean the compression artifacts and lousy production.

That's something that's been lost you can't put in a book.

Still remember being excited to find Foreigner on CD years after it was released. Popped it in my car and it sounded horrible. Went home whipped out the original vinyl with the almost holographic image on it, dropped it on the turn table and sure enough it sounded great. My memory wasn't flawed the CD was and I still can't stand streaming music.

Dammit. Now you made me nostalgic.

Blogger Whisker biscuit June 16, 2017 1:08 PM  

TV Guides

Cartoons on Saturday morning

Photo bugs to develop photos

Turning the channel on your cable box manually

Wiffle ball

Coke in 6 pack glass bottles and returning the bottles to the store.

Blogger Carnivore June 16, 2017 1:10 PM  

Regarding baking - about 25 years ago, mom gave me a call and asked for a lift to her local RC parish for the Christmas cookie walk. A cookie walk, for those who don't know, is a fund raiser where platters of donated cookies are presented. One fills a box with the desired varieties and the box is weighed at the end with a $ amount per pound donated. Anyway, the church ladies (silent gen and boomers) had baked their best. No two varieties were alike, and my mom and I both each took a box home filled with great cookies.

The same day, the local public high school's home economics class was also holding a 'Holiday' cookie walk. Mom expressed an interest so we checked it out after the church cookie walk. Each girl (that would have been late GenX, I suppose) in the class proudly stood behind the cookies she had baked, and they were standing in a row behind long tables put end-to-end. The cookies were piled high on full size (commercial) baking sheets and were all the same - the kind you slice from a pre-made dough log that comes packaged as a liverwurst. I couldn't see the point of teaching girls to bake that stuff, let alone expecting the public to pay by the pound for it.

Blogger lowercaseb June 16, 2017 1:18 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 16, 2017 1:24 PM  

Try convincing a Millennial that their streaming music sounds like crap and I don't mean the music.

Apparently Millennials are bringing the album back; sales have been up for a few years. I was listening to a couple of them talk about it -- not hipsters, by the way -- and they both said they don't necessarily think the audio is "better." They like the artwork that the album provides space for. They like the way they have to walk over and put it on the platter and set the needle down, so it's more of an experience, not just sound that's always running in the background. They like the feeling that they actually own something they can touch.

It was interesting. I've noticed myself that now that I can listen to basically any song anytime, I don't care nearly as much as when I was standing in the record store with $20 in my pocket, trying to decide whether there was something there worth spending a few hours of pay on.

Anonymous Sam the Man June 16, 2017 1:25 PM  

No one has mentioned it so I will.

Boys of the gen-x/boomer era were always building models. Heck there were magazines devoted to the hobby.

There were model rockets (which flew) balsa wood planes (powered by rubber bands), plastic models which would be come more and more elaborate as time went by. Every department store had a model section, and complete hobby shops existed in most small towns (or at least part of a shop). The plastic models went hand in had with elaborate dioramas built up with railroads and such in folks basements.

In any of these activities the period of time spent to become competent at building the models was a few years. The goal of every young chap was to build something sufficiently nice to have it find a place in the hobby shop as a display model.

all pretty much gone now.

Blogger lowercaseb June 16, 2017 1:28 PM  

I graduated from High School in 1985.

If this was a movie the Church of the Poison Mind would start playing in the background as I started the monolog until I physically yanked the LP off the player with a loud and conspicuous scratch.

We had an open campus. Generally, we were trusted to come and go as we pleased. We also had a magical thing known as a free period, where we could go off campus to get food, go to the library, or just sit in the sun as long as we weren't being obnoxious and disrupting class in session. Did we abuse it? Oh yes...but generally we were given the benefit of the doubt and if the right to a free period was revoked, it was an individual basis.

We were loud and obnoxious and annoyed the storekeeps around the school, but they also handled their discipline on an individual case by case basis. Individual troublemakers would get banned, but you hardly ever saw a "No Students between XXX and YYY" sign in the window.

I recently was back in my hometown and went to visit my old high school again. Gone is the open campus. The entire campus is locked down like a county jail with tall walls, limited locking entrances and copious video cameras about. Students have very strict schedules with no free periods and bike racks and student parking lots are locked once school begins. All of the stores around the campus have signs outright banning students from the stores from 7 am until 4 or 5 pm.

I'd bemoan the administration until I saw the feral hoard that erupted from the campus at 3 pm. Granted, I was trying to keep in mind that I am looking at it from a 50-year-old's eyes but the rampant disrespect that the students had as they walked in front of cars against the light while glaring at the drivers. We were kinda obnoxious, but we were not downright threatening.

If I was in the administration and I did not have the ability to kick out the ones that act like thugs, I'd lock them up too.

Anonymous paleopaleo June 16, 2017 1:30 PM  

CDs are better than vinyl.

Blogger dienw June 16, 2017 1:30 PM  

Compassion is not one of them.

Oh, yeah,forgot ZFG rules

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 1:36 PM  

"Every department store had a model section . . ."

The general store in Norman Rockwellville, population circa 1500, had a model section.

For some reason I got the hankering to build up a 1/72 scale Spitfire a couple years ago, and then I found out what a kit costs these days.

Blogger Elder Son June 16, 2017 1:41 PM  

Gassing the boomers. - You're just jealous.

All right, I was born in 3/59. But seriously, I just can not recount some of the hor-er-er-er stories some of you come up with. Well, except in my 12th year of high school, I remember that group hug thing started creeping up with the younger ones. I'm thinking some of you were raised by hippies, which should be put in an entirely different class. I grew up in a hard working blue collar neighborhood with no hippies.

Anonymous Causal Lurker June 16, 2017 2:06 PM  

As Max said on the show, "Missed it by that much!" I won't submit under pain of Malwyn. Good project to retain memories and give a place to rebuild. I fall close to the window, and remember we needed the high sugar diet as kids, so you could ride your bikes for hours, play football (touch or tackle) in the streets or playground, rounds of hide-and-seek over city blocks. You always had neighbors watching out for kids, in case of trouble or accident. Our arcades were pinball and skee ball, none of the electronic toys there yet. I also remember the constant cleaning or washing to get traffic dust and soot off everything.

Firmly agree with the damage induced by the lost art of cooking. That's where you pass down recipes and stories. Kids learn from their parents and elders the skills of concentration and patience, and the need to prep and clean up. I'll make pies and cakes from scratch, no need for a box or frozen crust (bleah).

I'll trade a cookie tip here. Make chocolate chip cookies with dark chocolate chips, about 2/3 the recommended amount, and then add about half a bag (5-6 oz) of toffee or brickle bits. You get a soft, chewy Heath Bar, that's nearly irresistible. My wife yelled when I made them for a chorus bake sale - then stopped when she saw that they went first. They were a big hit with her students for birthdays, and with stage crew; the tins always come back polished clean, no crumbs left at all.

Anonymous Sam the Man June 16, 2017 2:16 PM  

Something else I recall: Kids having realistic gun toys. When a boy I had a bolt action wood and steel rifle, made along the lines of the Parris-Dunn Navy drill rifle of WWII fame. Our neighbors came back and gave us kids very realistic version of the colt Model 1851 revolver (cap guns) and we had again very realist looking model 1873 revolvers and a 1908 luger as well.

Many of the higher end guns had modeled wood/grips and from say 15 20 feet would have been indistinguishable for the real thing.

We kids walked around with them, played war with them and no one every called the cops on us nor did anyone fear we would have been shot by cops.

No yellow tips either. I recall the Bolt action Paris-Dunn rifle came from Woolworths around 1970. years later I found the remains of it and made it into a passable Swiss K11 drill rifle for my son. Of course he has to play with it on our 4 acres only and not leave the property with it.

Now a kid with a semi-realistic gun is likely to be shot and if eh passed on school property with it the swat team will be called.

Anonymous Athor Pel June 16, 2017 2:20 PM  

"142. Anonymous paleopaleo June 16, 2017 1:30 PM
CDs are better than vinyl.
"



I remember the first CD I ever listened to.

Dire Straits, Love Over Gold
It was in a stereo equipment store within a year of CD's first being sold. Could have been 1982, maybe 1983 or 84.

Listening to Telegraph Road coming from huge Klipsch corner horns was almost life changing. No needle scratch. No change in turntable speed so no tone changes. Very very clean and I could hear everything.

Of course it was the best possible presentation with a high quality CD.

Yes vinyl can be very good. If you spend some bucks on good gear. And it is not portable.

CD's made it possible to bring much higher fidelity music with you wherever you went for the price of a portable player and headphones and it would last longer than a tape.

Forget about the purity of the optimum listening experience. That wasn't what happened. CD's allowed everybody, even us poor people, to hear an expanded frequency range as cleanly as possible for much less money than required by vinyl.

Anonymous Athor Pel June 16, 2017 2:37 PM  

Toy guns.

One of my Daisy BB guns looked like an 1892 Winchester. When I was 14 I tore it down to reuse the parts to make a 1:1 scale AK-47. I took a photo from a Guns & Ammo magazine of a Russian soldier marching with his AK. Assuming he was 6 feet tall I drew a grid on the photo and scaled all the measurements I took from the photo to arrive at the dimensions I used to build my model AK.

Dad had a cabinet shop so I had access to the tools I needed. Took me less than a day to build. I still have it. Looks real from a distance.


I also built a bazooka from a piece of stove pipe, a light saber tube, a plastic toy telescope and wood scraps to center the light saber tube in the stove pipe and for hand holds. Painted it all black cause that's the color I had. I shot bottle rockets out of it. Turns out for shooting bottle rockets a 5 foot long piece of 1/2 inch diameter grey pvc pipe capped on one end with a penny is more accurate and easier to carry.

Anonymous J. J. June 16, 2017 2:49 PM  

"we're using the period 1961 to 1979 to represent Generation X"

Not that it's not welcome... it is... but that's the furthest back I've ever I've ever seen Generation X dated. Having been born in 1968, I have at times feared being confused with being a late boomer, even though I was in diapers when they were doping their brains out at Woodstock. I guess I haven't really thought about it since 1993, when I was 25. I was involved with a rock promotions group. I was partial to the hard rock/metal that was waning about that time, while most I worked with were into the ascendant grunge/emo/faux-punk/alturdnative stuff of the time. I was assured there was NO WAY I was "Generation X". I didn't sufficiently fawn over Eddie Vedder I guess. And Generation X was about being young and wild and yes, Xtreme! (You have to cross your arms in front of you in an X pattern while saying "X!!!" while wearing your fluorescent skateboarding equipment!). Anyway, for historical perspective, that's what people thought Generation X was in 1993. At 25 years of age, I was the old man stuck in the Iron Maiden heydays... definitely not "X!!!!", dude.

Anonymous dystonia June 16, 2017 2:55 PM  

If there is a UK/Europe version, it will show that the UK and US are divided by a common language, as usual. Never mind that cultural imperialism has brought the names of the later generations over the water, Greatest and Silent are strictly American terms to this day. And when it comes to the vexed issue of the Boomers -- with wartime rationing carrying on in the UK into the early 50s, the immediate post-war increase in births was short-lived. The real "baby boom" didn't happen here until the '60s when the social mood started to lift; as if the echo of the post-war boom was louder than the original.

Anonymous Lawyer Guy June 16, 2017 2:56 PM  

I do 90% of the cooking in our house. My wife has taken classes with me but isn't that great. She did take a knife skills class and doing a lot of my slicing and dicing, because she is almost as good as I am at it.

I only spend about 45 minutes to an hour a day because things are much easier now than the 80s. Food processor, Kitchen Aid, good quality nonstick pans, garlic peeler and mincer, herb stripper. My stove top has two 12k BTU burners, back in the 80s you were lucky to have two 5k. Even my spatulas are light years better, flexible and can clean cans out in 5 seconds.

Anonymous patrick kelly June 16, 2017 3:13 PM  

"Cartoons on Saturday morning"

Yeah, I miss Bugs, Yosemite Sam, Wile-E-Coyote and the Road Runner in the background while cooking breakfast.

My Grandmother taught me how to fry bacon & eggs, make toast and fix my own coffee when I was about 6 years old. On a gas stove.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( Give us this day our daily bait, that we may crush our enemies, see their weaksauce driven before us and hear the lamentations of their women, thank you Baby Jesus, Amen ) June 16, 2017 3:15 PM  

37. rumpole5 June 16, 2017 8:55 AM
In our local town of Elkhart, Indiana about half of the real estate was owned by man named Charley Fieldhouse.



i'm curious, were you familiar with the Winebrenner's? lived on east Beardsley?

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener June 16, 2017 3:22 PM  

Car exhaust used to be really, really bad when we were kids. It was common for cars' exhaust pipes to have noxious, thick smoke billowing out of them and to have your eyes watering and be coughing when you were in dense traffic. This was mostly from older cars but still there were lots of them on the road.

By the mid-90s the situation had gotten a lot better, and it's only continued to get better since. Air quality is so much better than it was when I was a kid. This is a recurring pattern - the media sells doom and gloom while engineers are busy quietly fixing the problems.

Blogger Keoni Galt June 16, 2017 3:23 PM  

I am burning the candle at both ends on some projects at the moment, but I would like to contribute to this one. It reminds me of a blog post I did last year that I was surprised when it garnered higher then usual pageviews:

http://hawaiianlibertarian.blogspot.com/2016/04/genx-vision-2020.html

If I can find the time, I'll send in something by the end of this weekend.

Blogger Noah B The Savage Gardener June 16, 2017 3:36 PM  

My wife barely knew how to cook when we met but she's come a long way and now makes the best fried pork chops I've had anywhere. But she's a very experimental cooker too, which is interesting at times. A few weeks ago she found some online recipe for Turkish Delight from the Narnia books, and it was probably the worst thing I've ever had. A tiny spoonful tasted like a mouthful of soap from all the rosewater she used.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( Give us this day our daily bait, that we may crush our enemies, see their weaksauce driven before us and hear the lamentations of their women, thank you Baby Jesus, Amen ) June 16, 2017 3:48 PM  

to the subject at hand:
i would consider myself one of the leading edge families in the pathology of Boomer child rearing. my parents straddle David-093's dividing line, although i've always considered them both late Silents. i went to an integrated elementary school in Florida, thus have no recollection of a "homogenous" suburbia.

i was somewhat vaguely aware that other families weren't like mine but usually wrote that off to fairly significant monetary hardship.

the whole "Dad's on the run because the cops know he was the pilot on a marijuana smuggling op" for a year thing was obviously atypical.

as is having a mother ask her 8 year old to show her where ( one of ) the old man's girl friend(s) lives.

it was the culture shock of interacting with my paternal grandparents for the year i lived with them after the parents separated that highlighted all of this for me.

i wasn't aware that my situation was widely applicable, sociologically, until recently though.

Blogger Kathy June 16, 2017 3:49 PM  

@114 If you're putting it in a sauce or soup....you can make incredible chicken in a pressure cooker. My pressure cooker is one of my favourite kitchen toys. It makes the best beef stew too.

@151 My Mom always said that her school in Newcastle (it was a "public" school) had air raid drills where they had to get under their desks. Is that true or was she just pulling my leg? (She lived in Newcastle in the mid-late 60s)

Blogger Nationalist Flicka June 16, 2017 3:55 PM  

I love to eat out but eating out is getting so expensive that it's just not so enjoyable anymore. Even if a family can afford it, I don't understand how they can justify pissing so much money away on such an unnecessary expense and fleeting enjoyment. We typically grab pizza one night a week and eat out as a family one night.

For four of us to go anywhere anymore it is easily 40+ dollars and you pretty much leave hungry. We went to a casual Mexican place down the road from us the other day, we hadn't been there in a while, with tip, it was $75 for basic Mexican food.

I think a "value" meal at Chick-fil-a is up to about $9--

Another weird thing too is I read my local Facebook group and people are constantly flipping out about their cable bills --probably just under $100 a month but yet, they'll go piss $80 away at Texas Road House or wherever for 1 hour's worth of pleasure.

Don't get it.


Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr June 16, 2017 3:59 PM  

I was born in 1963, I'm in.

Although the whole 20-year generation idea is false. The sample rate is too low, you won't get right answers. Think in terms of 10-12 years and generational politics become much clearer.

Anonymous Tom B June 16, 2017 4:06 PM  

I used to write a community column on the Jacksonville.com website, before I moved to South Carolina. I wrote a piece called "An Open Letter to Mayor John Peyton" about how my parents were moving from Jacksonville, and the changes in the neighborhood I grew up in that facilitated that move.

The rights to the column belong to me. I'm going to send it (when I get home from work). I think it may be what you looking for. Or at least I hope. =D

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 4:17 PM  

@159: "My Mom always said . . ."

She not only wasn't pulling your leg, we did it in the US too. And throw in the nuclear attack drills, which included the odd neighborhood wide "everybody make an orderly line to the community fallout shelter" drills.

Anonymous kfg June 16, 2017 4:27 PM  

And The Gates of Vienna reminds me of L.P. Hartly's line from The Go Between that seems apropos to this thread:

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”

Blogger Wanda Sherratt June 16, 2017 4:33 PM  

I was born in 1959, but my sister was born in 1963. So while I'm *technically* disqualified as a Boomer, she fits into the next generation, and on her behalf I'll contribute one memory: when we moved into our house in the 70s, it was a dirt road. It was paved later, but I always remembered that in the summer, to keep the dust down, they used to coat it with some sort of oil.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 16, 2017 4:39 PM  

And throw in the nuclear attack drills,

Yep. I don't think we did those by the 80s, because people had figured out being under your desk or in a basement wasn't going to help -- you'd have to be in a lead-lined bunker completely sealed underground to survive. Tornado drills served the same purpose anyway, and we did those regularly in the Midwest. I still remember the fallout shelter signs pointing downstairs in some public buildings, though.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 16, 2017 4:42 PM  

to keep the dust down, they used to coat it with some sort of oil.

It used to be just that: used motor oil. They still do that on gravel roads around here in front of people's homes in dry weather, but I think they use something different now -- probably something more environmentally friendly. It smells sort of sweet.

Anonymous dystonia June 16, 2017 4:43 PM  

@159 Kathy
I wasn't in the country for the mid-late '60s, but I do remember there still being a maintained air-raid siren near the school I was at in the 1970s. No organised drills, though -- I think it was understood that if the alarm sounded, that was the 4 minute warning, and you just had time enough for a prayer. Things actually got a little more official in the big nuclear scare of the '80s -- see e.g https://infogalactic.com/info/Protect_and_Survive -- but were still essentially about just muddling through.

I can believe them doing things differently up north, though.

Blogger roughcoat June 16, 2017 4:54 PM  

Couldn't say what they use in residential areas, but calcium chloride solution is used in mining to keep dust down on the dirt/gravel roads. It seems to work okay; there's still dust but not nearly as bad as before they apply it. It can make for some pain in the ass sticky mud on rainy days though.

Anonymous Osprey June 16, 2017 5:22 PM  

According to the charts in the original article (especially https://archive.fo/rEkXW/f762746974688e7d0f6c22d2698aeb99405fa565.png), most of the drop in preparing meals at home happened between the mid-1960s and the mid-1990s. During that thirty year period, the relevant rate dropped by 22 percentage points in each of low income, middle income, and high income homes. The 1 percentage point change between the mid-1990s and today is lost in the noise of economic booms and busts.

Blogger Natalie June 16, 2017 6:39 PM  

I don't qualify, but I definitely remember things like the cigarette dispensers in Shoney's and the tail end of Reagan. Gas used to be cheap, and my parents would record every filling in a log book.

As for cooking - there are times when my church gives me a headache, but we can COOK. When a much loved woman in our church was having a baby a few of us signed up to cook all the food for this very large party. The rest of the group showed up to find massive amounts of food in the kitchen - all homemade and all incredibly good. There are still parts of the world where women take pride in their domestic ability.

Blogger rumpole5 June 16, 2017 6:51 PM  

I think that Rob, a fellow classmate in the class of '69, might have had that last name. Winebrenner certainly sounds familiar.

Blogger weka June 16, 2017 7:08 PM  

Memo to self. Next car to get shall be manual. Thank God the Europeans still make them... Because she dry Jap import or German car is some form of automatic

Blogger Nate June 16, 2017 7:52 PM  

My oldest turns 15 soon... he will be learning on our old 4 cyclinder S10... 4 on the Floor.

Anonymous Curlytop June 16, 2017 7:56 PM  

Gen Xr here. Do teen girls babysit anymore? That is something I don't hear about outside Homeschooling circles and even in that circle it isn't widespread. Yes, people home-educate to keep their kids away from the riff-raff but it doesn't mean they are raising them to be traditional ladies.

Much like young boys getting to earn money doing yardwork/farmwork by age 13, growing up, turning 13 meant a girl could start earning some money and gain valuable mothering/tending home experience. I had 3 consistent families that I babysat for. What a fabulous gig! Paid well above minimum wage and no taxes.:-) Only reason I took a part-time retail job was to put something to paper for the inevitable credit history bs. Baby-sitting was my bread AND butter!

My Millenial SIL had none of that and the difference is striking. I'm looking around at my children's peers and see 2, maybe 3 families w girls who are having their preteen-teen daughters be mother's helpers and babysit.

Anonymous Alice De Goon June 16, 2017 8:12 PM  

Playgrounds. Kids today will never know the pleasure of seeing a fort made of splintery logs towering above their heads, connected by solid wooden planks set at a breakneck height. They'll never know what it's like to spin on a swing made from stout chain and a tire, subjecting themselves to centrifugal forces that would make an astronaut hurl. They'll never know what it's like to dangle upside down high over a bed of concrete, with only their own strength keeping them from a date with eternity. They'll never know what it's like to lose half of their thigh skin on a hot slide, or both of their kneecaps on a rolling log. In short, their childhood will never be an adventure.

Do they even MAKE playgrounds for children over 3 years old now? All of the playgrounds of my youth have been replaced by plastic coated duplo blocks and swings that look like high chairs. Even elementary school kids would find it a boring waste of time.

Another thing I miss from my youth: decent tasting chocolate. Wars in Africa and penny-pinching CEOs have rendered all of the mainstream chocolate brands little better than flavored wax. But in my day, the chocolate was rich and lavishly portioned. I miss Chocolate Ice Cubes! I thought about special ordering some online from Germany, but a review of the product said not to bother: it now tasted like flavored wax just like all of the other chocolate being sold these days. Sigh.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 16, 2017 8:20 PM  

Do they even MAKE playgrounds for children over 3 years old now?

I was at the town park a couple weeks ago, and people were marvelling that they still have a merry-go-round. Everything else has been replaced by the boring, plastic structures you see everywhere, so the kids spend most of their time on the merry-go-round. It's caused some injuries at family things we've had there, but no one's died, so it's all good.

Anonymous BBGKB June 16, 2017 8:26 PM  

Lawn Darts for the ultimate non Asian minorities affected worse.

Blogger Nate June 16, 2017 8:54 PM  

"Do teen girls babysit anymore? "

Yeah.. they still down here in the Deep South. Its still common in rural small towns. Cities... doubtful.

Anonymous Curlytop June 16, 2017 9:14 PM  

Exactly, Nate! I live in a farm area and all 3 families that I can cite are our neighbors or close by. Any homeschool family closer to the suburbs, forget it.

On another note: Gen Xrs...
Arcades, malls, and skating rinks! Lawd, the Saturday tradition was to go to the skating rink in the morning through lunch. :-)

Anonymous J. J. June 16, 2017 9:31 PM  

How about listening to sports on the radio? I'm going to guess that when the last person dies that ever listened to a full baseball game on the radio, he will have been from Generation X.

Anonymous Claymore June 16, 2017 9:36 PM  

I was born in 1962. All the boys on my street had a “Stingray” bike. These bicycles typically had single speed gearing, and you pushed backward and down on the pedals for the rear brake. This style of bike was intended to look much like a Captain America chopper motorcycle, with high handle bars, banana seat, and a wide, slick, tire on the back. We kept our bikes very clean and shiny, and we took them everywhere. In the era of Evel Knievel we built ramps from scrap plywood and made jumps over our Tonka trucks. We never wore helmets. Most of the time we just wore cut off shorts, and went bare footed and bare backed all summer without even considering sun screen (never heard of it back then). If needed we wore keds sneakers with no socks and t-shirts. I only took baths on Saturday nights and then on Sunday it felt so strange to wear socks, long pants and a shirt to church.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 16, 2017 9:39 PM  

I'm thinking helicopter parents probably don't use babysitters very often, if ever.

Blogger lowercaseb June 16, 2017 10:22 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger lowercaseb June 16, 2017 10:24 PM  

Hell...this still shocks me. When we finally got to live off base we had access to a ton of greenbelt hills and seasonal streams. Used to LOVE running off into the hills and exploring for the day.

Again, when back in the home town this last month...I took my dual sport down the old trails only to find that the greenbelt is filled with homeless camps. Not the shiny happy homeless or the down on their luck family. This is the scary meth fiends or migrants that can't find work. Now I can see why the parents don't let their kids run in the hills anymore.

Blogger Clint June 16, 2017 10:58 PM  

Nate wrote:"Do teen girls babysit anymore? "

Yeah.. they still down here in the Deep South. Its still common in rural small towns. Cities... doubtful.


My daughter made quite a bit of money during her last year of High School. She had one family that had her come over a couple of times per week for the whole day. One parent was a college prof and the other was a nurse. When the Nurse mom was out, my daughter held down the fort.

BTW, another good reason for Home School. My daughter had the flexible schedule.

Anonymous Jack June 16, 2017 11:19 PM  

Born '77. One of the best things about growing up in the 80s was the tv shows and films. My parents were boomers and I was a latchkey kid, so I learned more from the tv than I ever did from my parents. Fortunately, the 80s was a time of cultural reaction against the 60s. My favorite cartoons were Thundarr the Barbarian, Spider Man, and later Voltron and Robotech - all heroic action stories. I was watching vigilante action movies on tv since I was born. Charles Bronson in Death Wish, Rambo, Schwarzenegger, Mel Gibson. Those were the celebrity alpha males of that era, celebrated by the media rather than degraded or forced to emasculate themselves by endorsing poz politics. Then there were the tv shows: The A-Team, Airwolf, Bring Em Back Alive, Hunter, MacGyver. Everything was about action and adventure. The 70s had some great ones too, which I caught as reruns. Fall Guy, anyone?

I don't know if there would be an Alt Right today if it weren't for an entire generation raised on this kind of masculinity and heroic values, who then had the rug pulled out from under us in the 90s and thereafter.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( Give us this day our daily bait, that we may crush our enemies, see their weaksauce driven before us and hear the lamentations of their women, thank you Baby Jesus, Amen ) June 16, 2017 11:24 PM  

172. rumpole5 June 16, 2017 6:51 PM
Winebrenner certainly sounds familiar.



they ran the first roach coach in town. Rick / Eric is the one i'm thinking of. would have been a hellion ... if half of his stories were true.

i didn't realize til after he had passed that one of my aunts had worked at his business.

Blogger Tuatha June 17, 2017 2:27 AM  

Amerikwa was always a liberal shithole from the start of its putrid anti-traditional inception. I am glad that all of it is dying: the sooner it is gone the sooner I will be vindicated in the purity of my anti-american beliefs in which the sum of the U.S corporation is nought but a rosicrucian/masonic deathtrap.

Anonymous Rolf June 17, 2017 3:46 AM  

@146 - well, if you're going get all "cookie" on us, I'll have to throw in rhubarb cookies, and lentil cookies. I'll get a post up sometime tomorrow at http://blog.joehuffman.org/ or www.thestarscameback.com .
Yeah, they sound weird, but both are really good.

@175 - yes, some do. My daughter, for one. Just about out of middle school. Not frequently, but she does.

I'll put something together.

Blogger Scott Birch June 17, 2017 8:25 AM  

@127

"The 60s were no fouler a decade than the 50s - they merely reaped the 50s' foul harvest"

- Peter S. Beagle, in a foreword to Tolkien's Fellowship Of The Ring, in 1971

Blogger Wanda Sherratt June 17, 2017 9:15 AM  

Great thread - I love the way it teetered between reminiscing and cooking!

Anonymous E. June 17, 2017 9:50 AM  

The level of innocence was different back then. We didn't have songs about "I kissed a girl {and I liked it}." I was a latch key kid growing up in the 80's - both parents worked and didn't divorce until I was 12. It wasn't feminism that made me a latchkey kid, my family was just lower class who, thanks to decent wages and a good work ethic, managed to claw us into the middle class.

The best part of my childhood was play - I don't think I heard the term "play date" until I was in my early 30s and I was baffled that parents took the time to orchestrate places and meet ups for children to play.

I played with the neighbor girl next door - who still is my close friend to this day. We dug in the mud, we played dolls, princess, Indians, king of the mountain... we were outdoors unsupervised most of the day.

People just don't parent that way anymore. You can't leave your kid alone in the your front yard for a second. When I was younger, my parents feared the ex-hippies made crazy by drugs and moved to a good neighborhood to avoid them. If you saw a disheveled adult wandering toward you, you'd know to run away. Today, you have to worry about the 12 year old kid from the broken home who has been watching porn since he was 7 and what he'll do if left unsupervised with your little girl.

When I went to middle school, which drew kids from the more vibrant neighborhoods, all that began to change. Gang graffiti adorned the hallways. They took our lockers out because of the threat of drugs and weapons. It was an early foretaste of what America is like today.

Anonymous a deplorable rubberducky June 17, 2017 11:35 AM  

Yes, when I was a kid community life was so different. As a kid we had lots more freedom in so many ways. I was what they called a latchkey kid, these are extinct anymore. We used to be able to get pick-up games of baseball, and football, full teams fielded, self-organized, any given weekend. No cell phones to put it all together. I can't even remember how we did it anymore, but it was easy to put together. These days if you want your kid to play these games you have to join a league.

But I have been trying to think of things that highlighted the changes Boomers brought, contrasting how the Silents ran stuff and what happened when the Boomers took over. I've thought of two big examples so far, school teachers and homeowners' associations.

My school teachers were almost always older females. These were former housewives, whose own brood had grown and flown the coop, they were experienced matrons of families who had already raised children (plural) of their own. They made excellent teachers, they knew what they were doing. They were slowly replaced throughout my primary education career by fresh recruits from college with education degrees, as the state gradually required more and more credentials for teachers. This was a disaster, the field became dominated by young, inexperienced women freshly radicalized from campus and chocked full of all these new-fangled teaching ideas. The New Math, and so forth. These ideas were widely ridiculed at the time in the larger society, but that did not stop them from coming. Our classrooms became a collection of various experiments in new teaching methods, and man did the quality suffer. It was possible, for example, to be the best student in history class (even better on the subject than the teacher), yet receive a poor grade because you struggled not on the tests or quizzes but on tableaux re-enactments or various crazy "interactive community reinterpretations" of history. Happened to me.

And then there were the homeowners' associations. And that's what we called them, now everybody says HOAs. These were around, but hardly omnipresent. I grew up in one. The Silents who ran it were reasonable. The association ran the swimming pool, maintained the common grounds, and you paid your nominal fees. They stayed out of your business. The lifeguards at the pool were always kids from the community, too, offered summer jobs, and the groundskeepers were Americans, also often kids from the community. Flash forward from the 70s to the 90s, and now the Boomers are in charge. You can hardly avoid a HOA where I live now, just a fact of life. And, the fees aren't nominal, they bite. Plus, they come around every year with a long list of honeydos for you and you must appease them. Plan on dropping at least a grand every year, at least. Despite the higher fees, the lifeguards are all Eastern European and the groundskeepers are 1) far more numerous and 2) all Hispanic. And we have a layer of professional property management companies. They have problem with you, you are not going to get a knock on the door from the HOA president wanting to have a chat, they send you certified letters from lawyers brimming with threats.

God I hate the Boomers. For what they've done.




Anonymous kfg June 17, 2017 12:03 PM  

@191:

The 50s were the pressure cooker full of peas. The 60s is when the pressure had built up so much that the lid blew off and scattered cultural pea mush all over the place.

Although they had their good points, the 50s were not some traditionalist Shangri-La. They're what brought us here.

Blogger Nate June 17, 2017 12:40 PM  

'I'm thinking helicopter parents probably don't use babysitters very often, if ever.'

They do. They do very much. but rather than being a babysitter the kid is more of a "Mommy's Helper".

yes... she literally babysits... while the mom is there.

Blogger Nate June 17, 2017 12:40 PM  

The rise of the stay-at-home dad has been trouble for the teenage girl baby sitting world though. For obvious reasons. Parents worry. The Dad's worry.

Its awkward for everyone.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 17, 2017 1:19 PM  

yes... she literally babysits... while the mom is there.

Heh, hadn't thought of that. Yeah, that would be dangerous if dad's the one staying home instead of mom.

Anonymous Northwest Watching Thing June 17, 2017 4:16 PM  

I was born in 81, so unfortunately can't submit. Some of my best family memories were cooking in the kitchen. Holiday treats were some of my favorites to cook.
I had to reteach my wife to cook some things (meat) because her mom taught her to overcook everything. She is amazing at making vegetables delicious though.

Anonymous Britboing June 17, 2017 5:19 PM  

70s kid here - in Britain.
On the cooking theme, one thing I remember is my mum had a big cookbook: 'Good Housekeeping Cookbook' or something like that -probably one of the thickest books in our house - hundreds of pages. Was/is there an equivalent in the States?

Also black + white TV - and the 'games console'. It was a cheap rip-off of 'Pong' and you had to disconnect the TV aerial to connect it, then tune the analogue dial until you found the picture.

@181 J.J.
I still sometimes listen to motor racing - Formula 1 - on the radio - cars zooming by in the background.

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