On one of the hottest days of the year, I was chopping up four litres of yellow beans to make pickles.
My place has some nice shade trees so it usually stays cool during the day, but by the time I had the beans cooking and the brine boiling it was getting very warm in here.
It made me wonder how they did it in the old days.
With all the heat we have been having I have been watching the weather reports to see if we have been breaking any records.
I was surprised to see that we did not break very many at all. I noticed that most of the records were set in the 1930’s .
In the 1930’s the women would have been cooking on the good ole wood stove. They would have needed to get that fire going pretty hot to get things boiling on the top of that stove.
Having that kind of heat in a room on a plus 30 Celsius day must have been horrible.
The women of that time would not just be making one or two small batches of their favourite pickles, they would have been canning the winter supply of veggies and fruits.
This would mean days of cooking and canning in the heat.
Some farms would have a small building beside the main house that would have an extra stove in it and that would be used as the summer kitchen.
This would keep the house cool but the women still had to cook in the heat. Those veggies needed to be canned and those berries needed to be made into jam when they were ripe no matter what the weather was.
It is easy to understand why women were so willing to give up their canning when the canned goods started to be available in grocery stores.
I just feel sad that so many recipes that had been passed down through the generations are now getting lost because no one is using them.
With air conditioning and modern appliances heat is not the big problem it was, now the problem is time and not having enough of that.
I look at my small batch of yellow bean mustard pickles and wonder if I will be the last to use this recipe that was handed down from my mother since my daughter and granddaughters do not seem interested in making their own pickles.
A few days later I got a phone call from my niece. She was just thinking of me because she had just made a batch of yellow bean mustard pickles from my recipe.
The yellow bean mustard pickle lives for another generation.
by Lois Perepelitz