A common theme in our day, especially among conservatives, is how we should get back to the way our grandparents did things. The cliche is pulled out for education, for neighborhoods, for just about anything, really. One can almost hear the sighing. If only...
It is nearly always completely wrongheaded, by the way.
I have heard it a lot over the years about food. Those wonderful, healthy, natural foods that our grandparents used to eat were much better for us than all those unexplained chemicals we eat today. Sure, they were higher in fat, but they worked much harder, burning more calories, so that was an offset. Good, wholesome, real food.
Like lard, for example. Let's have more lard. And organ meats. We need more liver, tongue, and tripe in our diets. Blood sausage. Don't forget the coagulated cream before refrigeration was much good. Cweam Dwied Beef was my mother's favorite as a little girl, and you can still get those salt strips which reportedly have a bovine provenance at the supermarket. Maybe I should have that on toast again soon. Soup stock made from the even more unattractive parts of animals - fishheads, pig's feet. Even the better cuts of meat were often heavily smoked and salted. Let's rekindle our desire for five or six versions of herring at a shot - that is the center of the romantic and elegant sounding Swedish Smörgåsbord. (Though jellied veal was also big.)
I read in the History of Bedford a sermon at the Presbyterian church by an old Scot-Irish minister who was invited back for some anniversary in the late 1800's. He deplored how far the youth of his era had fallen in industriousness, piety, and learning. He attributed it to the bread. If only the mothers would make that black bread that he had grown up on as a lad, he was sure things would start to come around again. What the Swedish pastors might have recommended we eat worries me even more.
Don't forget the beer and the cheap hooch that was given even to many children. At lunchrooms outside the mills here in Manchester before Prohibition you could get a millworker's lunch - nine beers and a hot dog - once you were old enough to have a mill job. The beers were only six or eight ounces and only about 4% alcohol, but still - that's a fair bit of ETOH for midday.
Just for the record, one grandfather was an accountant, another the egg man. Neither of those were particularly aerobic, calorie-burning activities, though they worked a lot of hours.