Discussion: The “Nostalgia” Trend

Our crop of pickles after a canning session in the summer

Background: Ellie and I have ourselves a little ladies canning group with some other gals in the area. A few times over the summer we got together to make and can some of our own foods, such as pickles, salsa, tomatoes, applesauce, etc.

This blog post is taken from an email discussion we had regarding an article I found on Granny Miller’s blog. I thought it was an interesting subject for discussion and wanted to see what others thought about the trend towards “simpler times” and reviving homesteading methods of yesteryear.

Do you see it as a fad, a trend, or something that is here to stay? Leave a comment or answer this in your own blog post and we’ll get the discussion going!

From Ellie

I got this from Ginger via Google Reader, but I took the time to read it this afternoon and thought it was really interesting.  We started canning largely because our mothers had done it before us and we decided to start on a whim.  Canning and the “survivalist” mentality have apparently been sweeping North America just like knitting did a while back.  The nostalgia for simpler times is becoming a trend.  The lady who wrote this article finds it appalling and draws some distinct lines between the lifestyle of the past and today’s trends.


Check it out and see what you think.

Reply from Ginger

Interesting article, isn’t it?

While I think she does have a point, canning and “prepping” are not just a fad in my eyes. My family has always done the whole emergency-preparedness thing. My brother and I have both learned how to survive on the bare necessities, fend for ourselves and other things along those lines.

In fact, my brother is currently at a college taking survivalist courses so he can become a ranger or work in that field.

Extending this kind of thinking to our food preservation, preparation and housekeeping seems natural to us. Plus, we grew up with the Mennonites out in the country. They didn’t have electricity sometimes! When you wanted popped corn, you had this weird contraption to use over the stove or the fire, no microwave in sight!

Perhaps I am an old soul. I have always seen value in knowing how to do things yourself. While I don’t know how to knit anymore (I did when I was a child), I DO know how to sew and do handy things and repairs around the house. I know how to cook over an open flame (for the most part) and build an “outdoor fridge” as well as garden and grow things to eat.

While I won’t say I wasn’t influenced by the whole nostalgia trend, I will say that it has certainly made it easier to find supplies, information and other interested folks! Without this trend maybe I wouldn’t have met you wonderful and talented ladies :)

Haha, this sounds like it’s turning into a blog post!

I feel for the lady, she and her family take this style of living very seriously, and I understand what it’s like to be passionate about something, then suddenly it goes mainstream and everyone is doing it. It takes the shine off of what you’re doing and becomes annoying–everyone and their sister is suddenly an “expert” on it, while all the while you have been living it without trying to be trendy.

What does everyone else think?

3 thoughts on “Discussion: The “Nostalgia” Trend”

  1. I think it's a little bit of a trend.. not that it's a judgment on whether it's good or bad. I think that it's useful to know how to do things for yourself, but I doubt that our interest in these "home arts" can be sustained at it's current pace. For one thing, it's very time-consuming to learn how to can, sew, etc., especially if you are doing it as a way of everyday living instead of making 4 jars of jam at Christmas time. Unless society undergoes a radical shift in how we spend our time and earn our living, I'd have to say trend on this one.

  2. I'm also voting that it is more of a trend. Although hopefully a lot of people will be able to learn a new skill that they will carry throughout their life. Even something as simple as learning to sew on a button will help some people in the long run. We all learned very young in my family how to sew and cook and take care of ourselves. Do the modern conveniences help? Of course they do! Could we all learn to make due without them, probably. but the question is, do we all really want to forgo our clothing shopping, and our grocery stores with imported goods and already butchered meats? Probably not!

    With the concept of a "housewife" being pushed far to the wayside, a lot of these skills are being lost and not being passed on to future generations. But I think this trend may be showing us that we all really do want to be self sustaining in even a small way. I don't think the "survivalist/prepping" trend is here to stay, but I think that learning to be more self sufficient is going to be sticking around for quite a while.

  3. I’m all for self-sufficiency, but this woman shouldn’t assume that all women would be fulfilled and satisfied by this lifestyle. I resent her calling working women “wage slaves”. I cook most of our food from scratch, and my husband does some sewing and mending, but we don’t raise livestock or sew all our own clothes. If we did, we certainly wouldn’t have time for the intellectual and leisure pursuits we enjoy. I would say that most people wouldn’t adopt the full lifestyle as this woman has, as it requires a great deal of dedication and sacrifice in modern times.

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