Waste Not, Want Not….Day 5
So….a little late, but all the same….
For those of you have been reading along….uh, huh, still complaining.
For those of you just finding this today, please see Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 for my prior ranting, first world complaints.
7. People who waste food.
The wasting of food is among my biggest pet peeves and is thus the final installment in my five days of complaining.
There are a number of people in my life who first planted this particular seed and many more who have watered it over the years.
There were my grandparents and great-grandparents, who lived through the depression and were very conscientious about waste of any kind, especially food.
Then there was my mother’s third husband, Theophilus. He grew up on a goat farm in Greece and his family had been very poor….so I really couldn’t blame him for eating out of the trash. Old habits die hard.
The first time I walked in on him eating the remnants of a pork chop directly from the garbage bag, I assumed, like all the men in my mother’s life, that he’d been driven to some kind of psychotic break.
When I asked her about it, she wasn’t surprised or disturbed. To be fair, this was actually the least dysfunctional thing any of her prior love interests were in to, so she’d definitely married up.
Next, my father-in-law. He believes expiration dates are merely a suggestion. His refrigerator is full of suspicious looking items wrapped in plastic wrap and tinfoil that he insists are all still edible. Since I’ve never actually seen him throw any of it away, I have to assume he really does eat it all….or it takes off on its own.
As for my own personal experiences with food, I can’t say that I grew-up not having enough to eat. There was always plenty of Hamburger Helper to keep me full of MSG throughout my childhood. But after I graduated from college, I did struggle for a number of years to make ends meet.
Unlike a number of my college friends, I was completely on my own financially. Rent, utilities and college loan payments ate up most of my pay, so I had no choice but to eat whatever could be had on the cheap….with quality and freshness being secondary considerations.
Ramen Noodles and spaghetti noodles with butter made up most of my meals. When I had a little extra to buy things like chicken breasts, I cut each piece into multiple tiny servings that I could freeze and eat over an extended period of time.
Every Friday, the office where I worked treated the staff to bagels and cream cheese. I snagged the leftovers while no one was looking and brought them home in a “gym” bag I brought to the office specifically for the heist.
Anytime my boss treated our work group to lunch, I always ordered whatever pasta dish was on the menu since the servings were typically large and the leftovers could feed me for days. I may have also taken the leftovers of others who forget them in the communal fridge before leaving for the night. I was that gross.
I’m not at all suggesting that I can relate to those that are truly hungry. I was twenty-something, college educated and paying my dues. But, the experience did solidify for me the value of a dollar, how to be resourceful and the importance of minimizing waste.
I’m not quite as fanatic as my idols, but I’m on-board with their movement and I aspire to match their commitment….though in a way that comes with less risk for food poisoning….or worms.
Seriously though, 40% of American food goes uneaten, while something like 40 million people in the US don’t have enough to eat. We live in a country where edible produce is tossed for cosmetic reasons.
We haven’t tossed out Mama June or the Kardashian’s, but the ugly carrot? That thing doesn’t stand a chance.
We’ve got to get our priorities straight people.
In the words of my mother….whose shrieks still pierce my soul….“You need to eat that shit or you’ll wear it.”
Make it a movement.