The Good Old Days

The Good Old Days
We often refer to or hear others refer to “The Good Old Days”. I pondered that phrase a lot today as hubby and I spent seven hours splitting wood from the tree that had fallen in our gardens last fall. We had the aid of a borrowed wood splitter. We joked about, “why in my day” we would go out in the woods and find the perfect tree and cut it down and cut it into rounds and split it by hand with an axe. Those were “the good old days”. Really? Well, both hubby and I had actually done that…he had fallen a tree and up until about 7 years ago we had split our own wood using an axe and a maul and sledge hammer. But, were those “the good old days”? Today, we have a dump truck load of wood delivered that has already been cut to our perfect stove size and split and partially dried. This splitting of wood today was an exception because the huge tree came down in our gardens and we needed to do something with it and it was perfectly good fire wood that just needed splitting. We thought about going back to “the good old days” and splitting it by hand, but, no, those days are past us. And who decided which days were in fact “the good old days”? Our fathers, our grandfathers, our great-grandfathers. And when did the “good old days” begin and when did they end? So we borrowed this beautiful machine. It was still a long day of hard work (to which our lower backs are reminding us now).

There are so many advances today that we question. Some are true benefits and improvements in our life styles. Many others I have to question. You might be asking, why have wood at all…just push the desired number on your digital thermostat and enjoy the warmth. Well, we could, but we do like the radiant warmth of our wood stove. The living room is cozy and the back of the house where we sleep is cooler. But, again, the real question here is were “the good old days” really good. What made them good? I personally don’t think there’s a solid answer here.

Let’s take cooking as an example. Is it really better today that we have prepared meals that we can just heat up? Is it better that veggies are already cut up for you? What’s really in that box of flakes that instantly becomes mashed potatoes? I personally follow the rule of staying as close to the original source of the food as possible and reasonable (walnut halves not already chopped up is possible; walnuts still in the shell is not reasonable). This allows me to know what I am eating and preserve as many nutrients as possible. And it doesn’t take that much more time. However, there are a few more dirty dishes….but heck…I have the modern convenience of a dishwasher, begging the question, was washing dishes by hand part of “the good old days”.

But, let me tell you something important. We enjoyed those seven hours working together. Lifting rounds that were too heavy together up onto the splitter, we marveled at the color, grains and smell of the wood. We redesigned the kitchen again, discussed world politics, planned our futures (always a funny thought because who can really plan the future) and actually talked for seven hours. We thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company and in the end had a huge pile of firewood. And then we incorporated a little convenience (wonton wrappers and ready-made marinara sauce) into a homemade meal of ravioli that really took less than a half hour to prepare. And, yes, we could have popped some ready-made frozen ravioli in the microwave but would that convenience have been the best choice for us. So, as we sat down to our lovely meal of homemade spinach ravioli and said what we were grateful for….hubby said…”I’m grateful for these good old days.”

  • Easy Homemade Spinach Ravioli
  • 1 pckg wonton wrappers (usually in the produce section)
  • 6 c fresh spinach, rough cut
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 T cream or milk
  • ½ c parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ c mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ t ground nutmeg, opt.
  1. Heat oil in skillet and sauté onion and garlic until soft. Add spinach and continue to sauté just until spinach wilts. Set aside to cool.

  2. Mix ricotta cheese, egg and other cheeses and seasoning together. Add the spinach mix. Add the cream as needed to thin to a workable consistency. You want the mix to hold together in mounds and not be too runny.

  3. Wonton wrappers are an easy, easy way to make ravioli. They will save you hours of pasta making. You can either use one square that you fold over into a triangle or one square as a bottom and one as a top for larger raviolis. You can also use the two method and then use a round cookie cutter to make round raviolis. (One Valentine’s Day I used a heart shaped cutter…fun). It’s your call.

  4. Using a small spoon, drop a small mound of the cheese mix into the center of the wonton wrapper. Moisten the edges that will need to seal with your finger dipped in water and fold over or top and then use a fork to pinch seal the edges. Set aside to dry a little. I sprinkle a little cornmeal on a tray and lay them on that so they don’t stick.

  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and drop your raviolis in a few at a time as to not overcrowd. You will probably be working in 3-6 batches, depending on how many you have made. Remember that you don’t have to make them all at once. I will save half of my cheese mix in a sealed container in the frig to use later in the week and maybe with a different sauce. You can also freeze them for later use. Boil until they rise to the top and become somewhat translucent around the edges. Ease them out with a slotted spoon. At this point you can put them directly into the sauce you have made or into a covered dish to keep warm.

  6. There are so many sauces you can serve over your ravioli. A simple browned butter/sage sauce, alfredo sauce, a jar of grocery store marinara, homemade marinara, cheese sauce, and on and on and on. This particular night I opened a jar of grocery store marinara, added some kalamata olives and capers and a little cayenne pepper and created a quick puttanesca sauce.



1 response to The Good Old Days

  1. Hi there! This post could not be written much better!
    Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this. I will forward this post to
    him. Pretty sure he’ll have a great read. I appreciate you for sharing!

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