So I've been having a fascinating conversation with Rachel over at Growing Things and Making Things about the differences in traditions of food preparation and preservation between the UK and America.
It got me to thinking - just about everyone I know has farmers in their family tree, and not very far back. I think most people could find a farmer or two within a few generations. I guess I always assumed that this was the case for people all over the world - that we were pretty much an agricultural planet up until the past 100 years or so.
But, I'm wondering if that rule holds true throughout the world, or if the idea that farming was the predominant occupation a few generations back is uniquely American... we did have a LOT more available land than in some other parts of the world.
Or maybe this is just my own twisted idyllic picture of the past and the truth is far different even here.
So, I have a question for you - how far back in your family tree do you have to go to find a farmer? For me, it's 3-4 generations - it looks like this:
My mother's maternal grandparents were farmers - I remember her telling me a story about how a rabbit bit her once on her grandparent's farm, thus, rabbit stew was served that night for dinner!
I don't know about mom's paternal grandparents - she never talked about them, so I don't really even know if she knew them. But I know they were Pennsylvania Dutch Mennonites, so they couldn't have been terribly far off the farm.
My dad's mother was from Italy. I don't know what they did in the old country, though the area they came from was primarily sheep grazing country. But I know my Grandma's grandparents bought a farm once they got here - so that's great - great grandparents. Other than that, the Italian side of the family was mostly in the mining business.
My dad's paternal grandfather (who died long before my dad was born) was a saloon-keeper! No farming points there, but lots of character!
I can remember as a kid being really jealous of friends who has moms that tended large gardens and canned vegetables (yes "canning" means preserving them in glass jars for those of you across the pond - I have no idea why that word is used.)
I also had friends who would visit their grandparents "on the farm" every summer. They would come home with tales of adorable animals and mountains upon mountains of fresh sweet corn. Of course, had I known the fate of most of those cute animals, I might not have been quite so jealous!
Anyhow, I'm totally curious to know if your family has a history of farming or not, and if so, how far back. I'm just wondering if there are any trends in different parts of the world, and if a history of farming tradition or not has any influence on our views about things like food, gardening, canning etc.
So, if you wanna help me out by taking a totally unscientific little poll, leave a comment with info on where are you from, and how many generations you have to go back to find a farmer. I'd love to hear what you think about this whole crazy topic.