Thursday, November 17, 2011

The 99% And Some Recipes From the Great Depression

Today people in over 325 cities in America rallied to support the Occupy Wall Street protests. Unfortunately, I could only be there in spirit because I am getting over a cough. The wind/chill factor in Chicago was around 25º.  The Chicago protest drew several thousand people who knew I was important to get out there.

According to Rana Foroohar in the November 14th issue of Time Magazine, the 1% that the 99% is enraged at takes home 21% of the country’s income and owns 35% of the wealth. He states that partly as a result of this plus several other factors upward mobility has been seriously eroded. No wonder people are angry.

When I graduated from Binghamton University in 1970, I left debt free ready to begin my adult life with no strings. My family wasn’t even close to the top 20%, but my parents were able to send me to a state university. At that time, the cost of a year at a state college including tuition, room, and board was about $1500. Now the cost of a year for undergraduate students at Binghamton University including tuition, room, and board is about $19,000 per year for state residents and it has been cited by Kiplinger’s Magazine for several years for being a great value. The cost for tuition, room, and board at other state universities can be as high as $25,000 per year. This is hardly in keeping with the rate of inflation. Students graduate from college laden with debt and then have great difficulty finding employment. That’s for the ones who are fortunate and/or determined enough to go to college. No wonder people are angry.

The Occupy Protests seem somewhat reminiscent of the Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. Why shouldn’t they? There was no safety net then and some would like to destroy our fragile safety net now.

With that in mind, I wondered if there were any lessons to be learned from the Great Depression. Certainly, there must be some good thrifty recipes so I asked my mother if she remembered what they ate then. This is one recipe she remembered from that era. My grandma must have made it often. They called it Jewish spaghetti. This should serve 4.

                                             Jewish Spaghetti
               a quart of water
               1 pat of butter
3/4 box spaghetti
               ½ pound grated cheese
               spaghetti sauce
               mushrooms, onions, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper

Preheat oven to 350º.
Put pot of water on the burner. When the water is boiled, cook the spaghetti.
Butter a casserole dish. Put the spaghetti in the dish. Add the spaghetti sauce, mushrooms, onions, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix with the spaghetti.
Put the grated cheese on top.
Cook for 40 minutes or until the cheese gets crisp around the edges.


No comments: