Grandma is 91. Her longevity and good health serve as testaments to local eating and simple living. Her diet consists of grass fed beef, free-range pork, trout from her creek, and wild game supplied by my mom and dad. Until her eighties, she kept a garden and canned much of her own food.
She's grown frail this year, prone to dizzy spells and falls, but her posture is perfect, her appetite and digestion is healthy, and her mind is sharp. She drives three times a week to have her hair done, pick up groceries, or attend church.
After a hard fall two weeks ago, she contemplates assisted living. Rural living requires a twenty-minute drive to the nearest town with amenities like a senior center, shopping, and her hairdresser. She no longer wants to cook anymore, and often skips meals unless my mother delivers food. She refuses to eat microwavable meals or frozen entrees. To her, convenience foods are the true junk foods that make Americans fat and unhealthy. She has no problem slathering real butter on her bread, polishing off a huge steak, and following her meal with a warm slice of pie topped with a scoop of ice-cream. But she won't eat chemical-laden fake foods. And who am I to argue with her philosophy? We can all learn from the eating habits of near-centenarians. She knows what to feed her body.
I live five hours from my childhood home and Grandmother's house. The distance makes me feel helpless as her vigor declines. Its hard to show the level of care that a once doting granddaughter ought to show. I planned on spending the day in Grandpa's barn target practicing again, but I decided on a task less selfish. Today I created a month's worth of home cooked convenience foods to stock my Grandma's freezer. I used mostly wild game and some grass fed beef. Filling her freezer with healthy and easy dinners is the least I can do for the loving woman who helped raise me.
I'm impressed every time I open Mom and Dad's upright locker chocked full of deer, antelope, elk, and homegrown beef and pork. I'd love to feed my sons such clean and environmentally responsible sources of protein. I'm stunned with the versatility and flavors stacked on the shelves, and comforted with the knowledge of source sustainability.
I spent the summer in Scotland in a flat positioned just above the Pie Maker. I enjoyed savory meat pies a little more than I should have. The pies and probably the Guinness share the blame in the extra 11 lbs I still carry. Ah, but those pies - pure comfort food. I hope Grandma feels the comfort too, as she digs into one of my wild little pies. If she enjoys these meals, I'll continue to cook and deliver a new selection every month. I'm excited to offer her single servings of my future wild catches. She loves razor clams, so hopefully I'll have some to share by next week.
Tomorrow morning I'll hunt black tail deer with my son and his buddy. I won't carrying my bow. I'm no longer an Oregon resident and do not hold proper license. My son plans to teach me to stalk deer and to sit and wait without making noise. That boy of mine was the most talkative child ever. I can't imagine sitting beside him in peace, just listening to the sounds of the forest. He's almost 25 now, but I still see the chatter-box toddler I once knew. Tomorrow will be a new experience in our relationship. He's excited to show me what he knows, to switch roles of student and teacher. But he's probablyl more excited that I agreed to handle the gutting and butchering under his watchful eye. Great...