It was fascinating to learn about how Florida settlers settled Florida. How they built their homes, how they made their food, what they ate, what they wore, what they used for building materials – so different from today’s world.
What was really interesting to me was when the tour guide started talking about what they ate. They would eat gopher, tortoises, feral hogs, raccoon. While feral hogs doesn’t sound that unusual, the rest does. It really had me thinking. Today, the typical meat menu is beef, pork, poultry and fish. Exotic is buffalo meat. The mere thought of eating gopher or raccoon repulses most of us. How did that happen?
It was once normal to eat anything you could catch or shoot – and most of those things are now things that we would turn up our noses at. So how did we go from eating anything and everything we could find to such a limited menu? Don’t get me wrong – I’m not rushing out to try gopher or raccoon any time soon. But I just find it fascinating to think about the evolution of our diets like that.
I also found it so soothing to be in that quiet, old fashioned environment. No electricity, no electronics. No cell phones – except for the ones we brought, which were easy enough to ignore. I could imagine what it must have been like to live in those days. The life definitely couldn’t have been easy, but in some ways, compared to today, it would have been nicer. More relaxing, at least, without the constant barrage of TV, stereo, cell phone, iPad, iPod, honking horns, and all the rest that goes along with modern life.
This tour is one that happens only about once a year, maybe twice. It’s very informative, and uniquely entertaining. There won’t be any more tours any time too soon, but in November the village will be open to the public during Ocali Days.
The Cracker Village we visited is at Silve River State Park in Ocala, Florida. It’s not too far from our home, an easy drive and a nice way to spend a Saturday.