My previous post on my chronic inability to throw away food well past it’s sell-by date struck a chord. People are still referring to it and I didn’t know so many people quietly read my posts.
It’s been a few weeks and, apart from a break for my vacation, I have been diligently throwing one piece of food away per day.
Sometimes it’s easy. That lemon curd I carefully slaved over a hot stove to create but which now has a feathery grey, green and white topping has no place in my fridge. Nor does the vibrant green icing from the gingerbread house we bought Christmas 2006.
But now I’m down to the wire: canned goods.
How long can you keep tins of food? I checked on the Internet. According to the Department of Agriculture, high-acid food such as tomatoes, fruit and fruit juice can be stored for eighteen months; low-acid foods like vegetables and meat can be stored for two to five years.
So this makes my job easier. Some of my tins have been with me longer than my husband and certainly longer than the kids so they can go. The next week or so is sorted then but what after that?
Sigh. I will probably have to move on to the emergency kit I put together in 2002. It was a HUGE project. We live on the crest of a hill and it would probably take several days for anyone to get to us in the event of an earthquake so in our kit there’s everything we’re ever likely to need. Oh, except for a shotgun to keep our jealous neighbors away as we feast on Raisin Bran and tinned chicken while keeping ourselves warm with blankets, beanies and sleeping bags. (Just kidding, friends, I’m sure we’d share. Maybe. If you’re nice.)
When I was working on the kit, to save myself the agony of buying food from the grocery that I was unlikely to ever eat, consequently requiring me to throw it away, I considered buying MRE’s (Meals Ready-to-Eat.) I figured that food that bad would be easier for me to get rid of when the time came and they had the added advantage of lasting longer than the the store-bought food, enabling me to put off the day when I most likely would end up tipping all that money into the trash.
I did my research and ended up going to a rather scary, windowless place which sold, in addition to MRE’s and water that lasted five years, things like gas masks, body armour and flak jackets. It was rather daunting. I think though the men behind the counter who wore Iron Maiden T shirts and a rather grey pallor (probably from living underground for too long) were even more scared of me than I was of them and they were clearly terrified of my kids.
It was rather odd to see a cute two-year-old wearing his favorite Cookie Monster sweatshirt staring curiously at a six-foot mannequin decked out in a violent orange biochemical suit and gas mask but we made it in and out of there with as few words as possible and some cartons of water. Engaging these men in a conversation on the relative merits of this MRE versus that MRE was beyond me and I decided that the clerk at Safeway was a safer option. Besides, I knew my kids would eat Cheerios.
And so, my thoughts are starting to turn to this major step in my process of recovery, preparing myself for the upheaval, the throwing away of uneaten food and the buying of more to replace it. In time that too, will (I hope) go uneaten and eventually deposited in the garbage bin. With good luck and a following wind, by then I hope I’ll be OK with it.