A few days ago, while talking with friends over coffee (later, over beer and wine!) the topic was non-lasting relationships, about how people dump each other easily at the first sign of trouble, how we are unable to mend things and I heard myself saying “We cannot understand this because we are a generation of the screen-safe.” Around the table, we were more or less of the Gen X so everybody understood what I meant but I am sure, for many of the following generations, namely Gen Z and Gen Y, I may be riding a T-Rex (a tamed one, ha ha!)
All right, a screen-safe was what our grandmothers used to keep food in a cool place, actually a cupboard skeleton covered with a mesh screen. Fridges were a novelty back then, even for well-doing families. Yet one couldn’t keep food, meat, cooked meals in the screen-safe for a long time so it would entail to be creative with your ingredients when you cook: You should be always conscious of what you have, had for a certain time and will have in it.
The will-have part was the real problem though, especially for a large family like ours: grandparents were immigrants, forced to leave their homeland in the Balkans even before WWII and their children were low wage workers, with no promise for higher education. And for us, the grandchildren who later would be labeled as Gen X, as we grew up, the notion of not wasting was deeply ingrained in us: green herbs and tomatoes can be grown at the balcony, some coins surely can be saved from the pocket money in a money-box, sweaters and cardigans can be knitted, dresses can be sewn and sewn up, handed down to the younger ones; shoes as well… so almost nothing was wasted, just like the smallest leftovers at the screen-safe were turned into soups just before their shelf life ends. This was the gist of my words to my friends: We cannot understand because we cannot easily waste things… especially people and relationships. We tend to mend 🙂