The kitchen window
I've been conquering the pile of fruits I collected from Lord and Lady's garden (plums) and public parks (crabapples) as well as from my own greenhouse (tomatoes). I'm processing them into preserves and sauces.
While waiting for some plums to stew, I happened to read an interesting passage in Temple Grandin's book Animals Make Us Human (p282). It pertains to the enrichment of captive animals' environments in zoos:
"They are not pets or farm animals; they're wild animals and they're built to go out and find food. Many, many studies have found that captive animals will choose to work for food instead of just having it handed to them. Wild animals don't want a free lunch.
The reason they like working for food is that it feels good. That's because in all of the studies 'working' actually means SEEKING. The animal has to forage...or manipulate a puzzle...They let the animal hunt.
Another great thing about using food as enrichment is that animals never get bored with food. Animals habituate very quickly to everything else, but they stay interested in food and will work for it even when they are not hungry."
I think this behavioural assessment applies to people as well. Anyone reading this who grows their own vegetables, forages for mushrooms, goes fishing or hunts does so because it enriches his or her life somehow. It may explain why someone goes to the trouble of preserving found fruits instead of just buying a pot at the grocery store.
Personally, I derive pleasure and contentment from the act of harvesting the food (even when I'm not hungry) and from preserving it. So far this week I've made 4 apple cakes, 11 jars of jelly, and two family-sized servings of plum sauce (excellent with venison). The happiness was in the labor.
And what's more appropriate for Labor Day?