(Pictured: Mayan Chocolate Truffle from Mighty Leaf)
Vintage Jenta left a thoughtful and interesting comment on yesterday’s post:
As a historian, I struggle with nostalgia. On the one hand, we all like to think about kinder, simpler times, even if they never really existed. On the other hand, holy crap was life in the 19th century brutal for the average person. Domestic abuse, child slave labor, all kinds of fun illnesses due to poor sanitation, rampant racism and xenophobia, 10-18 hour workdays, etc. My favorite quote about history is “The past is a foreign country.” One that I would like to visit, but dear god not to live in. I’m with you on the penicillin. And hot running water. And the internet.
Doesn’t mean we can’t sometimes do simple things by hand and get joy out of them, though. Maybe even more joy than 19th century people because we choose to do them instead of doing them out of absolute necessity…
I agree that a lot of “crafts” and “hard ways of doing things” are enjoyable to us today because we don’t have to do them. They’ve passed into the realm of “leisure”. On the other hand… they’ve become leisure activities. There’s always a little niggling doubt in my head when I do them, because I could be scrubbing the kitchen floor instead. Oh well.
What are things that I imagine I would like about a 19th century farming lifestyle? What’s the essence of what I like about it?
Being outdoors more
Working with my hands more–having more concrete satisfaction in what I do (as a SAHM I’m pretty close to that anyway)
Greater social connectedness (though Jenta and I would not be having virtual tea…)
Higher quality food (would it really be though?)
Beauty and tactile aesthetics of objects
Lower psychological weight of possessions (but I like to have stuff)