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Nature’s Finest

by Linda Serrano 2 months ago in healthy
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How living in the country helps us save money.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a city slicker for most of my life. I’m used to 10 story buildings and skyscrapers towering over me and the streets filled with people occasionally bumping into each other trying to commute to work. However I’m not used to struggling and living humbly.

The recession hit in 2008 and my dad - the only breadwinner- got laid off. My mom could’ve seized this opportunity to get a job, but decided against it because my sister and I were “too young to be left alone.” Because bills weren’t getting paid, we got evicted and had to move to Holly Hill. This means switching schools and I was not in the mood to be the new girl.

Don’t get me started on the living arrangements. We had to live in a mobile home with my dad’s work buddies in the middle of nowhere. Privacy wasn’t a thing anymore, much less safety. I remember my mom telling my sister and I to wear an extra layer of clothing around the trailer even when the men aren’t around. Hell even if it’s hot as Satan’s balls we had to wear an extra layer clothing just so they won’t “hurt us.” Ridiculous!

Speaking of the heat, here in the south, the summer heat is so disrespectful. You step one foot out there, you’ll get a sun burn. Oh did I forget to mention that the heating/ AC unit in this trailer is backwards as heck? Well, it is! It’s cold in the winter because the heater doesn’t work and the AC would conviently break in the summer. We had to buy a shit ton of fans to cool ourselves down.

By then we were still poor so my mom needed to find a way to feed a family of four with only a hundred dollars (my dad forced her to budget). My mom became frustrated at this new reality exclaiming, “What can I buy with only a hundred dollar? This is stupid!” My dad told her that instead of driving twenty miles to the nearest Walmart to frequent the supermarkets in town. There are only two supermarkets in town: Piggly Wiggly and IGA.

My mom hesitated at first, but decided to go to IGA. Now IGA don’t play when it comes to supporting their local farmers and for a good price as well. I remember looking at white corn and thinking to myself, “Ew white corn,” because I was used to the yellow ones. Nonetheless, my mom purchased the white corn along with a full size watermelon, cantaloupe, and strawberries. Naturally my sister and I weren’t used to fresh produce. It’s always been canned fruit and jello with a banana occasionally, but never anything healthy before.

My mom would whip up the most bizarre things with these fruits. She made watermelon juice from leftover watermelon. She basically added water and sugar with said fruit and mixed it in a blender. It made a great drink, but it’ll go sour if it sat in the fridge all week. The same goes for cantaloupe. I love it as a fruit itself, not so much as a juice. I remember eating strawberries chopped up into pieces. Some were mixed in with frozen strawberry Nesquik. Limber, my mom called it. She saved money on ice cream by doing that. As for the white corn, my mom would almost hurt herself chopping the cobs into four or five pieces for soup. Yes, you read it correctly: soup in the summer. We would be drenched in sweat while eating soup. When my mom didn’t feel like torturing us, she would just cook the corn and topped it with mayo, sour cream, chile seasoning, and sometimes hot sauce.

I remember eating salad a lot while living in the country. I found my love for cucumbers, carrots and a tolerance for tomatoes. I would add French dressing on it as well as the carne asada my dad would barbecue on occasions.

Speaking of barbecue, there was a time when my dad brought home a deer carcass late at night. He claimed that he accidentally ran it over and he didn’t want it to go to waste, so he took it. My mom obviously told my sister and I not to eat it, so she would redirect us to the stir fry she cooked instead. Good call, because I wasn’t in the mood for road kill. My dad did have a cook out with his friends and fed the scraps to the dogs. Can you guess who sworn off venison?

Now meat wasn’t expensive at the time, but people have farms and found it more convenient to kill their livestock for their meat. My dad had a friend that lived across the street from us with goats, cows chickens, and a donkey. They would never host a cookout without veal as their main course. Have you ever tried goat before? Let me tell you what it tasted like. So say you eat it like a taco with shredded lettuce, radishes, diced tomatoes, sour cream wrapped in a corn tortilla that was lightly grilled. Now at first all you could taste was the seasoning and the sauce the meat was marinating in for what you assumed was about twelve hours. Then after you swallow, you made the biggest mistake: tasting the back of your throat. Now you have a funny taste in your mouth as if you just ate manure or basically the whole entire farm. The after taste is overbearing, so you drank a shit ton of coke to get rid of the taste, but it won’t go away. In fact you suddenly remembered how grainy the meat felt and you were convinced that this man’s wife can’t cook at all so you swore off from eating whatever she puts on the plate. That’s what it felt like eating goat. Yeah, never again. After that experience, I only eat beef, pork, and chicken. I don’t try to eat big game or anything exotic. Shoot I would rather eat my mom’s soup from Hell before trying something new.

Then again, I get it. Living in the country means that you have the luxury of getting the real organic food fresh out the ground and fresh meat straight from your backyard. As we drove by a shit ton of corn fields in the summer, I could see the irrigation systems at work watering acres upon acres of corn and I know that not only were these farmers are going to struck gold this season, but we’re going to be eating good at a better price while supporting our local farmers.

I no longer live in the country, but I still travel there from time to time. Just recently I drove there for the nostalgia. A lot has changed, but what remains the same is the agriculture and it gave me a glimmer of hope that one day I would take my kids over there so that they can appreciate these local farmers that put food on our tables.


About the author

Linda Serrano

Don’t mind me. I’m just an ambitious writer trying to write stories inspired by films, books, music, and my personal life. I’m currently working on three different novels on Wattpad as I’m typing this profile so stay tuned 😉

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