Modern Recipes

American meals have changed. Every once in awhile, someone will invite me over for dinner and proceed to serve a feast my grandmother might have prepared, my mother even. For the record, my mother’s meals have changed, too. But when I was young, her cooking came closer to that of my grandmother.

I’m grateful some of my friends still like to cook in the old style—roasts, meatloaf, stew, turkey or ham on special occasions. They generally include all the trimmings – rolls, potatoes, some kind of vegetable, butter, gravy, cream. While this sort of meal wasn’t always a treat when I was a child, it can come off as pure comfort these days, this food that accompanies a trip down memory lane.

I do watch what I eat. I try to keep it balanced. I’m not a vegetarian, though I don’t eat that much meat. I consume a lot of salads, soups, kefir, yogurt, eggs, grains, vegetables that aren’t overcooked—simple fare. I choose organic when I can. Of course, I have my guilty pleasures—food that is generally eaten out. This cuisine tends to come from different countries, but I will wolf down the occasional burger.

I have noticed how modern hosts tend to roll out low fat – downright nutritious – creations whenever they entertain. I generally don’t find reason to complain. I’m probably healthier than I used to be. I don’t crave as much chocolate and cheese, though I do drink too much coffee.

The challenge of getting older is watching old worlds dissolve—and finding reasons to embrace the new. I like the new cuisines (I like Whole Foods, Sprouts, Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market, and Oceana Natural Foods).

A lot of other things I enjoy have been falling by the wayside. Bookstores, for example. Record stores. I miss the quieter moments on television and film. I miss innovative screenplays that weren’t about loud and flash and crash and cool, but good dialog, off the charts acting, and important issues. I miss the fact that more people used to read the same books at the same time and discuss them at work or at school. I miss handwritten letters.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not clinging to the past. I regularly check my smart phone (speaking of which, I miss phone calls, too). I zip around the Internet, share cat videos, post the occasional photo. I try to make myself read longer articles on the web—I try to notice when I’m just skimming. I use my Kindle app, especially when I’m out and about and have not remembered to lug a heavy book along. I know the world will continue moving. I know it won’t cater to my old-fashioned tastes. I plan to continue to riding new waves—if I can.

Yes, I’m trying to keep up with technology in order to achieve any leftover goals I might have, most of which involve writing. And I must admit the submission process is a lot less time-consuming. I’m not wasting as much paper. I generally hear back from editors and agents faster. Interestingly enough, my blog stats indicate I’ve had people from 41 different countries check out at least one piece I’ve written in the last two years. That’s a reality that was unimaginable when I bought my first copy of Writer’s Market.

Even so, I will probably eventually find a place on the tech timeline—and freeze there for good. I’ll refrain from updating my computer. I won’t sign up for any more “services.” Maybe I’ll even go back to writing by hand and leave a pile cryptic work for people to decipher after I am dead. I’ll calcify into a human cache of sorts—a representation of a scene that no longer exists, even as it suits me just fine.