This morning, I had the unique experience to visit Old World Wisconsin for the first time with the 4th graders from St. Alphonsus School. Leaving the world of technology and modern conveniences aside, we entered a rural landscape filled with signs of immigrant life in the 19th century.
Focusing our time in the norwegian farm territory and the town village, our group gained significant knowledge about the daily challenges the residents encountered living there. However, even with primitive tools and harsh conditions, with perseversance, endurance, and faith, they created a thriving community that lived on.
By the time we had our picnic lunch, I had become so immersed in the historical culture that I immediately recognized how different the immigrant diet must have been in the 1800s. Fruit, dried meats, beans, and home-grown vegetables were the norm for them. Convenience foods, diet sodas, even fairly simple foods like peanut butter, were out of the question. They didn’t exist yet! Thus, I’d like to believe the majority of inhabitants were most likely healthier because of the food choices they had around them.
Have you had a chance to visit Old World Wisconsin yet? If so, did anything in particular grab you as so strikingly different from our modern world? Were simpler times actually better for society? Are all our technological advances necessary?
Let me know what you think about then, and now. I’d love to hear it!