The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It


Three days a week the monster machine did its job.

Whhhhrrrr…Whhhhrrrr…Whhhhrrrr – the sound coming out of the kitchen as I was getting dressed for breakfast and school. 

I called it the monster machine because it could take whole fruits and vegetables and turn them into pulp in a matter of seconds. It was an early electric juicer that mom had purchased to improve the family’s health. 

The machine was made of cast iron and weighed over 30 pounds. It was stored in our tiny kitchen pantry and had to be carried out and returned to its resting place with each use. 

The machine had two compartments.

 In the first you placed the vegetables that were to be juiced, forcing them into the machine’s blades with a wooden pusher. The pulp collected in a burlap bag. Then the bag was removed and put in the second compartment which resembled a wine press. By twisting and turning the long handle on the top you squeezed out the juice. 

There was a lot of effort involved in making a glass of juice – but it was an effort that mom and grandma gladly undertook. I didn’t understand much of this until many years later. 

Mom’s favorite concoction was a combination of carrot, celery, beet and parsley. She used to tell me that this was good for me, and although I didn’t really object to it, I could hardly say that it was one of my favorite beverages. But I drank it.

 (Incidentally, the other day I happened to stop by Whole Foods and noticed that the same juice combination was available at their juice bar – and at only $6.00 a glass!)

 On days when the monster machine was allowed to rest, breakfast was served with either freshly-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice or my absolute favorite – a glass of Sacramento tomato juice served with a little slice of lemon. Of course, while there was still work involved in preparing these – the tomato juice not so much – they were far easier to prepare than what was required by using the monster machine.

I saw that the other day yet another controversy has emerged – regarding the claims that premium orange juice is “all natural” and “freshly squeezed” – as the manufacturers state. Apparently the fruit is juiced and then stored for periods of up to one year before it is incorporated into the half gallon containers that arrive at our grocery stores.  “Flavor packets” are then added to enhance the product’s appeal. Fortunately, there is a solution for those who enjoy citrus juices and want to make sure that there’s are fresh.

 For about $5.00 you can buy a glass citrus juicer and make your own. It only takes a few minutes and clean-up is a snap. At least that’s a solution for those of us who have access to fresh oranges and grapefruits.

 Well, after years of service the monster machine passed away. It’s strong motor gave out and I was unable to find anyone able to repair it. So I placed it outside to be recycled. Who knows what it has become in its latest iteration? 

But I can still remember hearing it doing it’s job –

Whhhhrrrr ….Whhhhrrrr…Whhhhrrrr.


Comments on: "THE MONSTER MACHINE" (6)

  1. Your family has a loving and warm feel. From the Watermelon man to fresh squeezed juice, it all was a labor of love.

  2. It was indeed all done through love – which I only now really can fully appreciate. As an adult there are still times I wish I could go to them and say, “Please kiss it and make it all better”.

    • My grandparents were the source of great love and joy for me as a child. I often wonder where I would be today if not for them.
      I like the essence and soul of your stories.

  3. My maternal grandmother of whom I speak in these stories was the only one of the four who was alive when I was born. On those rare occasions when I proposed something that my parents thought questionnable, grandma always cast the final and definitive vote – and she got five votes. She was wise beyond her education, loving beyond reasonable expectation and generous to all who asked for help. This blog is my poor attempt to share some of these stories so that we who have so much and are so unhappy might understand how people who had so little were so rich.

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