Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Storing Food in Mason Jars 1946


New Mexico. Mrs. Fidel Romero proudly exhibits her canned food.. [Two women standing in a kitchen pantry. Pantry contains preserved fruits and vegetables.] Department of Agriculture. Extension Service. 1946.

Everything old is new again. 

Today's photo subject was inspired by Nathanael Johnson, who writes about food and agriculture over at Grist. He just wrote about the huge surge in sales of Mason Jars.

Personally, I never met a Mason jar I didn't like and I have a row of them on our kitchen counter which store the bulk foods that I buy at the grocery store, things like dried beans. (So does Nathanael, I learned through his tweet.)

Some of the jars I inherited from my grandmothers. In a previous life, some of them stored food in our Nebraska farm cellar, which we called "the cave". Some are double sized. They have air bubbles in the bluish century old glass, so I like to think of them as beautiful through their imperfections, the principle of wabi sabi. Since blue is the new black, their color is in high style, too. But that doesn't matter because the Mason Jar never goes out of style.

I also agree with Nathanael that there is a trend afoot reviving things from a simpler time. 'Makers' mini faires are sprouting up in the high schools. People are buying bulk foods. Crafting is huge. People want to buy from Etsy, so Etsy just hit the IPO market. Even Toyota recently announced that they are removing some robots on the auto assembly line and replacing them with humans because creative human thinking brains and people with real hands notice how the system can be improved, whereas robots do not. Things have gone far enough in the machine and impersonal technology direction. People are hungering for a return to creativity and simpler values.

Not to dismiss the marketing skills of the Mason Jar folks, but perhaps the Mason Jar serves as a symbol of a meaningful life we'd like to rediscover, so their timing is ripe.

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