Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My, How Things Have Changed!

As I reached for a cold Diet Coke this afternoon, it occurred to me that the contents of today's refrigerators are quite different from the ones I knew growing up. In fact, refrigerators are also very different!

I remember when I was five and looked forward to being allowed to mix the margarine. In those days, you see,  there was butter and there was some white, lardish-looking stuff called oleo-margarine, known as "oleo" to most cooks and still used by some today. The oleo came in a clear plastic bag with a quarter-sized button of red coloring that you mixed in to make it yellow and thus more palatable. I loved to squish the bag and watch the the red dye (mostly paprika, I think) do its magic. My hands weren't very big, so Mom probably had to finish it off, but at least I helped. Very important when you're five.

Our house did not have a refrigerator, it had an ice box. The ice box didn't have french doors and a bottom freezer and it wasn't covered in stainless steel. It had a small top compartment for the block of ice that we purchased at the nearby ice plant, a larger compartment for food, and a metal tray underneath to collect the water that accumulated when the ice melted. That didn't take very long. Many's a time we'd come home to find a puddle of water in the kitchen where the ice pan had run over.

The ice box was wood on the outside, as I recall, and the freezer compartment was tiny. There was no such thing as an ice-maker or auto-defrost. There may have been room for a small ice cube tray and a quart of ice cream, but that was about it. There was no room for frozen dinners, because there were no frozen dinners at the time. I don't know how we managed!

You can imagine how thrilled we were when we finally got a refrigerator. No more ice pan, no more puddles. We still didn't have auto-defrost or and ice-maker, but neither did anyone else. We had arrived!


jeanne said...

Marianne, We have to be the same age. I too remember Oleo and the coloring stuff. Yuck! We lived on a dairy farm and homemade butter was our usual fare. This stuff tasted bad but mom baked with it I guess.HA!

I also remember the ice boxes. We loved to sneak around and chip off ice to eat with the ice pick. Imagine six kids doing that and the ice didn't last long. It was a no no!

We had a frozen food locker in town and all of our meat etc. was stored there. My grandfather was a butcher and my dad's brothers owned an IGA grocery store.

We raised our own cows and pigs as well as chickens. Lots of meat for our table. Boy you sure brought back some fine memories.

As for our time in Canada, we had lots of new memories to laugh about.

Thanks for your visit and sweet comment.
Hugs, Jeanne

Montanagirl said...

That was an interesting post. I vaguely remember Oleo, I think...don't remember the dye part.