Our parents grew up during the depression and always were mindful of not having enough to eat. We weren’t poor, but we didn’t spend money needlessly. I think they budgeted their money and always saved a portion of Dad’s check. Treats were few and far between. We only drank soda when we had company. There were treats in the house sometimes, but we saved them most for company and Dad’s lunch.
We always had meat on the table (if it wasn’t Friday) albeit a limited amount. There was an unwritten rule that if there was not enough for everyone to have two pieces, Mom and I only had one piece, so my Dad and Brothers could have an extra piece. If I was still hungry, I filled up on bread and butter and potatoes. (Evidenced now in my large hips.)
When we had chicken, Mom usually fixed two frying chickens for the family. My Dad loved the dark meat. So did us kids and we were constantly being told to save the dark meat for Dad. For those of you who did not know our Father, he would eat until all the food was gone. We used to kid him about having a hollow leg where he put the extra food. So if there was an extra drumstick on the plate, we would have to ask Dad if he wanted it, before we could have it. More often than not he would say he was full and we could have it. To this day, I eat like I am in a race.
On a serious note though, my Mom was the consummate recycler. She never wasted anything. If we had ham, she made soup out of the bone, turkey, yep, soup again. She reused aluminum foil, plastic bags, bread bags, and oh my gosh, tea bags until they would scream for mercy. She wanted Dad to build something out of those “odd pieces of lumber” out in the barn, instead of buying new for a project.
Mom didn’t work much outside the home until I was in high school, but she is the reason that they were able to make the money Dad brought home go farther. To this day she refuses to throw anything that has any life left in it away. It always gets donated, or used as a rag. I still remember her going through the dumpster at my house when we were getting ready to move out west and pulling things out that someone else could use.
You gotta love her. Saint Delores, Patron Saint of Recycling. I love you Mom.