Shh…Don’t Tell

October 10, 2010 at 2:03 pm (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Have you seen the new Ziploc bag commercial. It shows several scenes where the actors buy food – then THROW IT AWAY!  A woman at the deli counter asks for 4 pounds of steak, “but only wrap 2 pounds.  I’m just going to throw the rest away anyway! Ha Ha” Or the scene with a man grilling hamburgers and hot dogs; he flips over two burgers, and then flips the third into the garbage.

Lately, I find myself relating all too well to this scenario.

I guess food is on my mind today because here in Canada it is Thanksgiving weekend.

The leaves on the trees are changing colours and everyone is getting together to eat too much.

I tried a new recipe the other day. I made Beef Bourguignon. The recipe made enough for a family and then some. It ended up making around ten servings! I ended up flushing most of it down the toilet (this is where most of my compostable leftovers go since I live in an apartment and have no where to compost).

I tried making three meals out of it. I ate the first two and then gagged through 1/2 of the third. I don’t know what went wrong. The pieces were good (no great). The mushrooms & onions fried together well and were very tasty. Yes, I sample while I cook. The spiced meat was perfection. Yes, I taste as I go along.

The dish took over three hours to make from start to clean-up; that doesn’t count shopping for ingredients I usually don’t stock (like red wine). I used fresh tomatoes but the bacon was too salty. I’ve never cooked with wine before, maybe I bought the wrong one. No Wikipedia says Burgundy wine is best and this is what I bought from the cooking aisle of a local supermarket.

I ate the 1st meal that night when everything was freshly cooked. I ate the 2nd meal, the next night, over egg noodles. I ate part of the 3rd meal, two days later, with boiled potatoes. Then, I could eat no more and tossed the rest.

I wasted food. My ancestors would disown me. My grandparents are rolling over in their graves.  My parents would be appalled. My sisters and brothers, most of whom are great cooks, would be shocked. J, my former co-worker, would look at me askew.

I feel guilty, guilty, guilty!

I HATE wasting food.

I was taught to clear my plate, no matter what, which explains my weight problem but that issue is a whole other blog post. I don’t have the healthiest of food habits, though they have been getting better since I’ve started making a conscious effort, just after I went back to school at thirty, to listen to my body tell me what it wants and needs.

It is hard to shop and cook as a single person.  Everything seems to be portioned out in multiples of two or more.  I waste too much even when I shop weekly. Maybe I need to be like the Europeans and shop daily instead. But I don’t feel like shopping after work and it’s nice to have food at home that I can prepare without thinking about it.

Then there’s the reality in which a jar of peanut butter lasts me six months and no matter how small a milk carton I buy I never seem to use it all before it spoils. I’m buying potatoes by twos right now and only enough fruit for two days, and usually just one kind of fruit.

I think I do need to figure out how to shop daily without spending too much because, as we all know, buying in quantity is cheaper.

As well, I am not a cook. I don’t revel in the process. I follow recipes. If I take enjoyment in the kitchen, it is in baking – cookies, cakes, sweets; these are my downfalls. Even here, I do not experiment I follow someone else’s directions.

For far too long, food has not been a pleasure; food has been an obligation, a necessity.

Growing up, Good Food, the stuff I wanted at least, was a temptation. It was payment for what I didn’t want to do in the first place. It was a bribe. If I wanted cookies or store bought fruit, I had to earn it. I use to flirt with the old men who would play horseshoes for quarters down by the bank and they would give me their spare change because I was little & cute & charming. I would use this spare change to buy candy; to support a junk food habit that my mother could not afford to support. My grandmother, my mother’s mother, would spoil me with her spare change admonishing me with “shh, don’t tell” pretending fear of my grandfather. I would keep the change all to myself not sharing with my unfavoured siblings.

Food is not just nourishment.

I was raised on fresh garden food, fruit from the Okanagan, farm raised (free range) chicken, pork, beef and lake fish, freshly caught. The stuff I buy now never compares in taste. Raspberries from my mother’s garden taste like sunshine and red ripeness. Home canned tomatoes taste tart and sweet just like home. We were poor when I grew up and hardly ever shopped in stores for what we could produce ourselves. Perhaps that was better? It was better to spend time not money on food, tastier and healthier.

Maybe, it’s time for me to start back at the beginning, to shop better and to eat & cook with more enjoyment. Maybe then, I can learn to love food.


  1. Kathy said,

    I rarely have to just cook for one, but the times I do–it can be very challenging. Very challenging indeed. You always have to cut the recipe in half or quarters or even more! I wish you much luck, gigi, and KNOW you can do it! Be patient with yourself as you learn. I am excited you are doing this!

  2. omawarisan said,

    It is kind of tricky to deal with the quantity recipes produce. We’re relearning that at our house now that our son is off to college. What was barely enough for three is now two meals for two. We’re filling our fridge with leftovers and strugggling to keep up with them.

  3. solitaryspinster said,

    So far, so good. Rice pudding and soup today.

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