Yesterday was spent cleaning out a giant chest freezer (big enough to put a body in easily) – an International Harvester at least 40 years old. It was purchased by my husband before we married – most likely at an auction in S.D. After we married, we moved it to a garage and then to a basement. After we moved to Nebraska, it sat in an outdoor shed — running all the time, until we moved it about 30 years ago into the garage of a newly purchased house, where it has resided ever since. Since it’s old, it does not defrost itself (and obviously was made before manufacturers realized the importance of built in obsolescence). About every five years, enough frost builds up to make me clean it as happened this summer. This process never fails to show me how much food one person can waste; I ended up throwing out a really big trash can full of food – outdated or freezer burned — most of it stuck to the bottom where I could never quite get at it. Some of the wasted food was the result of being unable to pass up what seemed like a bargain at the time. Some was purchased in anticipation of a meal that didn’t take place. Some came from a neighbor lady who gave me last year’s meat from her freezer because she was getting newly butchered beef. I should at least have used it for animal food. Mea Culpa. I am guilty of terrible waste ..and there are people starving in this world.
One year when my children were still children, I found a freeze dried parakeet in it. I’d forgotten I’d put it there in the winter after our favorite cat Skunk got it, promising the kids we’d give it a proper burial in the spring. Obviously, some of the waste was due to forgetfulness — forgot I had it.
And some was due to lack of forsight. I had to think ahead to thawing a package out to be able to use it when I needed it.
Each time I go through this process, I vow not to buy any more foodstuff of the sort until I have used up what I have. And each time I fail to fulfill this intention.
Subconsciously, I think having food on hand is a security blanket for me — left over from the way I was raised when food wasn’t so often easily available. Not that I ever lacked for food. But my familly always had a pantry with food — lots of canning contributed to it from my grandmother’s large garden. We didn’t have a freezer of our own then but we had a locker box at the local locker (or butcher) that was only a few blocks away. We never worried about being snowed in without food. There was always food available.
I hate being wasteful and I hate that I am just one example of a rather wasteful socierty.