By Frank Ephraim
“We have to eat the sardines,” my mother said. She always bought those canned in tomato sauce. I did not like the combination, I preferred oil.
“Why can’t you get the ones in olive oil?” I asked.
“No, oil is not good for you. Tomatoes are much better -- they are a vegetable,” she answered with a stern look at me. It was no use to argue. I knew she would never buy the sardines I liked.
We had sardines every few weeks from the stock of a dozen cans stacked in the linen closet. The idea was simple. The canned sardines served as the “escape” provisions for the family.
My father had put it this way: “In case we have to run, small cans of sardines are easy to slip into one’s pockets, or pack in a bag. They do not spoil and provide a meal that is nourishing.”
To keep them edible, even though they were canned, this emergency food was opened and eaten periodically, and then replenished with “fresh” cans of sardines.
This was 1960. World War II was long over. Our wartime experiences were a memory, but to my parents they were a lesson never forgotten.
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