Growing up on a farm taught me to save food

Although I have never been a finicky eater, I grew up skinny. Skin­ny as a rail, they used to call everyone in our family. You could see our rib bones pressing against our skin.

We ate all we could get as children, but having more people at the table than chairs never let us overindulge. We had food straight from the fields, but not enough to get comfortable with.

That is why we didn’t waste food. For instance, I remember the summer night when it was 9 or 10 p.m. before we finished hauling hay. Our mother had a big supper waiting for us. We were sweaty, scratched from the hay, ready to eat and go to bed.

Directly across from me at the table was my older brother Vernon. He and I got into a fight (maybe he took the last pork chop) and in angry response, I flipped a spoonful of hot, mashed potatoes at him. None of us wore shirts because of the heat, and the steaming spuds plopped against his chest. He jumped up in pain and chased me out the door.

For some reason, my parents took his side. (They never tried to understand me.) I don’t think I was punished so much for burning my brother as for wasting a mouthful of potatoes. On a farm, food is sacred.

It’s funny how childhood experiences affect us as adults, isn’t it? I never wasted food again. Today, although my wife doesn’t like second-run meals, I take leftovers to work the next day, or for several days.

My office meals are often a combination of several nights’ leftovers, something known by co-workers as “Glynn-dins.” They’re not always appealing (the leftovers, not my co-workers), but they’re always delicious.

Another leftover from the farm table is that I haven’t drunk cow’s milk in years. We would milk our Jer­sey and take the bucket directly to the table. No homogenization or pasteurization. It’s a wonder illnesses didn’t kill us, and I equated drinking warm milk with biting into a pet puppy.

Moreover, when our milk cow got into wild onions, it gave the milk another unpleasant taste I didn’t need. I could avoid that, but not the tainted meat from our beef cattle when they chewed those onions.

By the way, happy birthday today, Brother Tim. Why aren’t you fat?

MOORE WORDS: Downton Abbey ended last night, and along with it, the “dowager countess” played by the delightful Maggie Smith.

The thing is, I have never known exactly what a dowager is.

It always sounded like something unpleasant to me. Dowager reminds me of “dowdy” and the like: dingy, drab, frumpy, shabby, bedraggled; and of “tawdry,” along with its synonyms: gaudy, showy, cheap, sleazy, chintzy.

Actually, I found out, a dowager is a widow who gets a “dower” (dowry) from her late husband’s estate. It also can refer to an elderly woman of stately dignity (imagine Maggie Smith).

I love losing my ignorance a word at a time.

Reach Glynn Moore at

More in Life

Achieving the crispy, flaky layers of golden goodness of a croissant require precision and skill. (Photo by Tresa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Reaching the pinnacle of patisserie

Croissants take precision and skill, but the results can be delightful

This 1940s-era image is one of few early photographs of Cliff House, which once stood near the head of Tustumena Lake. (Photo courtesy of the Secora Collection)
Twists and turns in the history of Cliff House — Part 1

Here, then, is the story of Cliff House, as least as I know it now.

Minister’s Message: What’s in a name?

The Scriptures advise, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”

Visitors put on personal protective equipment before an artist talk by Dr. Sami Ali' at the Jan. 7, 2022, First Friday opening of her exhibit, "The Mind of a Healthcare Worker During the COVID-19 Pandemic," at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
ER doctor’s paintings follow passage of pandemic

Dr. Sami Ali made 2019 resolution to paint every day — and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Almond flour adds a nuttiness to this carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: A ‘perfect day’ cake

Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting make for a truly delicious day off

Minister’s Message: A prayer pulled from the ashes

“In that beleaguered and beautiful land, the prayer endures.”

A copy of “The Year of Magical Thinking” by author Joan Didion is displayed on an e-reader. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Didion’s “Year of Magical Thinking” is a timely study on grief

‘The last week of 2021 felt like a good time to pick up one of her books.’

Megan Pacer / Homer News
Artist Asia Freeman, third from left, speaks to visitors on Nov. 1, 2019, at a First Friday art exhibit opening at Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer.
Freeman wins Governor’s Arts Humanities Award

Bunnell Street Arts Center artistic director is one of nine honored.

Zirrus VanDevere’s pieces are displayed at the Kenai Art Center on Jan. 4, 2022. (Courtesy Alex Rydlinski)
A journey of healing

VanDevere mixes shape, color and dimension in emotional show

Traditional ingredients like kimchi, ramen and tofu are mixed with American comfort food Spam in this hearty Korean stew. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Warm up with army base stew

American soldiers introduced local cooks to some American staple ingredients of the time: Spam and hotdogs.

Peninsula Crime: Bad men … and dumb ones — Part 2

Here, in Part Two and gleaned from local newspapers, are a few examples of the dim and the dumb.

Minister’s Message: What if Christ had not been born?

It is now time to look at the work and life of Jesus Christ.