When I first got married and moved into the apartment with my hubby, I went out and filled our fridge. I bought salad dressings and marinades, jams and jellies, syrups and sodas.
I bought spices for my pantry and soon my house was overflowing with food. A family of two. A couple of kids who ate out 50% of the time and our fridge was full.
I honestly didn't know that people live their lives with empty refrigerators.
Um... not that empty.
So in the year after we got married, I went to a friend's house on a weekly basis and hung out with her and her newborn baby, since she and her hubby worked opposite schedules, and she liked the company (and I liked her).
I went to her fridge to get us each a soda and when I opened the fridge I discovered a nearly empty refrigerator, meaning you could see the shelves and the back of the fridge on first glance. There was an abundance of shelf space.
I was silently appalled. I worried that they may have been short on their grocery bill for the month. I grew concerned that she couldn't go shopping because she had a baby. So many thoughts went through my head.
All of them end-of-the-world stuff.
As I casually handed her the soda, I said "Your fridge is so clean! I have never seen so much clean shelf space in a fridge." (Real smooth AJ)...
She responded with "I am going shopping tomorrow morning, it's the end of our meal plan, so it's getting pretty empty in there".
This was the day I learned about planning meals and shopping for what you are going to eat.
Fast forward 13+ years. It's my day to go grocery shopping and my fridge is getting bare, though between my fridge, freezer and pantry I have enough food to last my family of 4 for a solid 4-5 dinners.
As I opened my fridge this morning, I was reminded of the above memory, because I have learned a lot since then.
My family of origin is great, but I do believe I learned the tendency to fill every inch of available shelf space in the fridge with food accoutrements and dressings by watching them.
I don't know if it's not having a system set to throw away the old before buying new, I am not sure if it's a love for food and all the different things you can buy to flavor your meat that fills the fridge, it could be just a habit of trying new things and having an adventurous palette that fills the fridge to overflowing. But growing up, the fridge was always full, and rarely (if ever) near-empty.
As I un-learned this habit (it's taken nearly 10 years), I've often wondered if there is security in a full fridge. Is it a type of hoarding?
Over the last couple of years (especially) I have felt convicted that I waste too much food. There are places in the world where families are starving and I am throwing away food. (One article I read stated that we throw away up to 40% of what is produced here in America!)
So I started doing the following:
1. Planning my meals, so I am not guessing at what we are eating, and buying only what we will use.
2. Cooking what I planned, so I am not throwing away food I end up not using.
3. Trying to get better at eating leftovers (my hubby is good at this, me -not so much)
I can't say that I don't throw food away, but I've gotten better at not throwing away new foods (I still throw away left-overs).
I can also say that I feel good when my fridge is nearly empty, because it means I wasted less.
What about you? Do you tend to have a full fridge or a nearly empty one? How do you keep your food waste to a minimum? Love to hear your ideas!!
PS - It's been quiet around here. I've been at conferences and retreats and OH MY I am tired. I am learning lots and I will start to post on what I am learning in the next week or so. Sorry for the lack of verbosity.