Waste Not

I’ve been noticing a trend on a fixation on food.  Not that there is anything wrong with people looking at recipes and feeding their families and themselves.  I’m thinking about something different.

Several people I know shop excessively for food and end up having crammed refrigerators and cupboards.  I clean peoples’ houses and in the last three weeks, I’ve been asked to clean their refrigerators and cupboards.  In the one instance, there were tins of food in the cupboard that were dated 2003!  Tins that the liquid had evaporated.  Boxes of crackers that the mouse(mice) had gotten into and they were empty. Bottles of juice that had separated.  Jars of pickles, jam, coffee, tea, cocoa, etc., all past dated.

Then going into the refrigerator.  Today’s treasure trove…my client was complaining that she couldn’t find anything in the refrigerator.  Emptying it out…10 jars of mustard(all different kinds), 7 jars of horseradish, 4 containers of butter/margarine, 8 bottles of salad dressing, ketchup, hot sauce, barbeque sauce, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, 5 jars of capers, 12 jars of pickles(some jars with only 1 or 2 pickles in them).  Stale bread.  Unrecognizable objects wrapped in foil.  Plastic containers filled with who knows what.  I also went through her spice cabinet…emptied and cleaned her mother’s spice collection(her mother is gone 9 years).  Only two people and a dog live here.

4 black garbage bags full.

Two of my friends have cupboards and refrigerators stuffed.  My one friend has a cupboard under her stairs  that I do believe she has forgotten about. There are bags of dog food(all stale at this point) and a closet filled with medications, vitamins and a lot of items from when her children were small…they are now 29 and 32.

This isn’t including toiletries, cleaning supplies, health supplies, paper products, etc.  I’m all for having some extra items in case of emergencies…but in some of these instances, it borders hoarding.  (One client has 14 bottles of laundry detergent that she has forgotten about).

My friend’s husband goes grocery shopping every Sunday…it’s his time out and he spends hours at it.  He pores over recipes during the week and then buys the ingredients needed(even though many of them are already at home).  His philosophy is that if one item is more expensive than another, the expensive one is “better”.  His grocery shopping takes him to the Farmers’ Market and then to 4 grocery stores.

He fixates on food.  My friend had repeatedly warned him to stay on budget for the food bill.  (there are only 2 of them).  He has now taken to hide food in the car trunk to take to work on Monday as well as a box in his closet and drawers. She has asked me if there is such an organization called Shoppers Anonymous.(and yes, there are several).

One thing I have suggested to those I know who have a cupboard filled with presently dated food in tins, wrapped boxes, etc. is to give it away.  I beg of you to pack it in boxes and take it to your local food bank.  There are so many people who would be grateful to have that food to supplement their diet…and possibly not go hungry to bed tonight.  If you have pet food of any kind, please give it to your local pet shelters.   Please do that instead of at a later date throwing it out.

Thank you.

til next time…Eva


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