Root Cellar 8: How I Would Die on the Prairie

My root cellar food is rotting

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By David Hammond

Last week, my wife Carolyn and daughter Josie went to Costco to get supplies for our root cellar.

I realize restocking a root cellar is contrary to the way such food repositories have been run since the beginning of time, but we needed more stuff. I didn’t put enough away last autumn, and much of our stored food – like apples – is getting wrinkly and withered.

If I were living years ago, let’s say as a sodbuster on the Great Plains during the brutal winter, I would have died on the prairie of starvation because all my root cellar food would be inedible.

That’s why I’m looking at my root cellar as a replenishable domestic appliance. The goal now is not to store food to last us through the winter, but to store food long enough to get us through the cold days until the next trip to Costco.

This is not a tragic occurrence…because we’re not sodbusters living on the prairie during the winter. We can refill our root cellar and just use it as a cool dark place – a natural refrigerator – where we can load up a bunch of stuff.

We’re still using the earth as a resource to provide cooling, rather than relying upon electricity, and we’re saving on gas because we load up on stuff during each trip to Costco.

So even though I would have probably perished, along with the rest of my family, had our little house been on an eighteenth-century American prairie rather than twenty-first century Scoville Ave., I still feel good about my root cellar.

I know we’ll do better next year.


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