How I wish some of the retirement "authorities" would talk about the hidden danger of too much time on our hands. Especially parents, now grandparents.
Guilt runs amook. On the other hand, on a more upbeat note, I've explored the possibilities for latelife shifts as we head toward the last frontier. One that may last longer than we once thought. Personally, ten years ago an expiration date of 80 felt like enough. Approaching that marker, I now want to push it ahead.
What does this have to do with "food" and "retirement" you might reasonably ask.
Eating and preparation of meals has changed dramatically since we moved to Portland less than two years ago. The local food culture, the emphasis on locavorism, has been a ethic easy to pursue while not so much in New York City.
Cooking classes at Bob's Red Mill have been far more accessible moneywise/timewise/accessibilitywise than in our former home.Many, many farmers' markets and thoughtful vendors. And some years back, strolling through the bountiful magazine section at Powell's Books, I discovered Gastronomica, the journal of food and culture--another link?
All roads appear to lead to Portland but is there more, some kind of epiphany-not-noticed encountered after 75? Food is something that everyone will talk about: the latest restaurant someone's discovered, intense color of kale in the local market, less meat consumption, quinoa and how to pronounce correctly.
With the help of Jeanne P, another quite food enthusiast and native Oregonian, a new group was begun where we live in June 2010. "Food for Thought" (FFT) we named it.
Georgia V, a resident, agreed to talk about how she came to write three cookbooks with two others working with her at the local Kitchen Kaboodle. Here's Georgia, left in photo, at the first of a series of Potlucks, an additional food-focus event, that were an outcrop from FFT.
The monthly FFT discussions have ranged from "Cooking for One or Two" to reflections by Joyce H, a 92 year old resident, a WWII Wave officer who became a Home Ec teacher in 1947 in the Portland Public Schools. Titled "Home Ec: What Martha Stewart Learned," the session included this 1955 YouTube, a 1955 film, "Why Study Home Economics?"
When I first watched it, seemed quaint. Then I reconsidered and find it very sound. Except for that tired notion of preparation for wifehood, there's more about careers and personal relationships. We need to bring it back to middle schools with a re-configured curriculum that includes material about housing. In the 1980s, I used an excellent text, Self, Space & Shelter by Patricia J. Thompson, a feminist home economist, for an Urban Housing class at Morgan State in Baltimore. Sadly, my copy was lost in transition and is out of print--and the course is no longer offered.