Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Few Words About Food Storage

Today I'd like to talk with you about food storage. I have attached a photograph of a line of products named "If You Care." An alert reader stumbled across these items at an organic food store and e-mailed the photo to me, as if to say, "Hey, do something with this."

It brings to mind the methods of my ninth-grade English teacher, who would slide a page from a magazine into an opaque projector and announce, "Write a journal entry about this picture." The picture would be of a motorcycle or a storm cloud, and our job was to "quick, be creative -- you have 10 minutes." She was quite likely the worst English teacher in the world. Or was she? Her instructional technique prepared me for this reader submission.

When this photo appeared in my inbox, all I could think was, "If You Care? How can I possibly care less about where my aluminum foil comes from? And what is it recycled from?" The presumptuous, guilt-laden name didn't really float my boat, either. Why not "Foiled Again"? Or, "Foiled Rotten"?

No doubt about it, recyling is a noble ambition. But it's really nothing new. I come from a long line of waste-nots on my dad's side. (The other side will fall for anything. Sorry, but it's true.) For example, the whole notion of Ziploc bags (and marketing in general) was lost on my paternal great-grandmother. After she polished off a loaf of bread, she rinsed out the bag and hung it by clothespins on a clothesline on her laundry porch. When it dried, it was added to her collection and voila! Storage bags!

I've pulled the following excerpts from a family cookbook assembled six years ago to further illustrate how you can avoid buying unnecessarily and really give a boost to the environment:

Leftover Sandwiches
(one of the original experiments in recycling)
Save all leftovers. Don't waste anything. Make them into green bean sandwiches and fried okra sandwiches.

Mama Chalker's Peanut Butter Cookies
(an odyssey in food storage)
(submitted by Chris)
Use any peanut butter cookie recipe. The recipe is not the key for this sweet delicacy. It is the presentation that puts this dessert on the top of my list.

After choosing the recipe, mix ingredients accordingly, and make sure to put those little fork marks on the pre-baked cookies. Bake the cookies until they are charred beyond recognition. After cooling the cookies to room temperature, place in Tupperware container. DO NOT put in the normal cookie jar. Treat these cookies like they are the secret to the Fountain of Youth by placing this container inside yet another container (for reasons unknown) and then hiding them below your sink.

There's so much more to my cooking heritage, but I'll save those tips for another Wednesday. I hope these recipes inspire you to reevaluate your own recycling habits. And they should, if you care.