Friday, January 16, 2015

Food can be clutter

When I moved out I only took the food with me that I knew the kids and I would eat.  That was a huge relief...Ex liked to haunt the sales.  He loved clearance stores, he'd buy 20 single serving bags of almonds for 5 or 10 cents each...all of them tasting stale.  He'd go crazy at Grocery Outlet buying whatever off brand item he thought we might eat.  He had a friend who was a district manager for a grocery store chain, she would give him milk carton crates full of food that were either past their expiration date or couldn't be sold for whatever reason.  

A family of four could’ve survived the zombie apocalypse for years on the food that was stored in our house.  As long as they were willing to eat food that tasted stale the day Ex bought it or was missing the label or was some sort of food never heard of in the US.  After filling our house with these stale and inedible foods he'd get mad at me for buying stuff at the grocery store.  "We have so much food already, why don't you use this stuff up first?"  Because Ex, I can't figure out what to do with frozen escargot, stale, off brand Ritz-like crackers and mystery jelly that the label fell off of.  I tried, honestly I did.  I got on that website where you enter the items you have and it'd come up with recipes for you.  Even that site said "Sorry, no can do."

He would eat anything, literally anything.  But there was never enough condiments no matter how much I put on.  Back in my Susie Homemaker days I would make his lunch every day for him to take to work.  Every day he wanted the same thing, tuna fish sandwich.  He wanted the tuna salad mixed up and put in a different container than the bread so the bread wouldn't get squishy.  Every day he said "That was great, maybe a bit more mayo and pickles next time?"  I was tempted to just put mayo with pickles mixed in to see if he'd notice the absence of tuna.

If the kids didn’t finish everything on their plate he’d eat it or put it in the fridge telling them “You can finish this later.”  They never would.  He would be appalled at any wasted food…the moldy fruit, he’d find the one spot that wasn’t moldy and eat that.  Same for bread and cheese.  I think the condiments were the secret to his success here.  I’d refuse to eat the cheese that he’d cut the mold off of because I could still taste the mold.  He’d insist it was my imagination.  He’d try to slip sandwiches into the kids’ lunches with bits of the bread pinched off to remove the mold spots.  Of course the kids could taste the mold and refused to eat it.  No wonder they decided that hot lunch was a better option.

He’d fill our refrigerator with all sorts of containers full of leftovers so that I couldn’t find anything at all that I’d put in there.  He NEVER labeled them, so every single one was a mystery.  Produce would go bad in the back of the fridge because I couldn’t find it and would assume that it’d been eaten.  All of this would make him crazier and his craziness escalated.

The pantry we had was so overloaded that I had a hard time finding anything.  All of my attempts to organize the food containers by type, or purpose were thwarted by his "throw everything into whatever spot I can find" methodology.  Things were always falling and spilling off the shelves so we usually had stuff a foot or two deep on the bottom.  It was useless to find anything I needed quickly.  With five people in the house who all could cook, how was I to know if that ingredient was used up or lost?  Was it worth my effort to look for?

I have a very small fridge now, leftovers are eaten or tossed.  My cabinets are organized and the pantry is nearly bare.  This feels so good!

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