Doggie Bag Blues – December 14, 2020

Homebound doggie bags

Here at Chez Spwilcen, we save leftovers in the fridge.1  Eating healthier, reducing mealtime portions, there are of late more times we have leftovers.  Some dishes, from Gram’s recipe, are measured to feed Ma, Pa, five kids, two hired hands and any farmer who happens by at lunch or suppertime. Proportioning Gram’s measurements to miniscule amounts just doesn’t deliver the right flavors so we make the full or half a recipe.  We know the chili, spaghetti, goulash, hash, stew, or paella will be even tastier the second or third time it’s served.  And for a clincher, who bakes half or one-quarter of an apple pie?

To store in the fridge, you can do it the bachelor way.  Just jam leftovers still in the pan or pot you cooked in into the fridge on any shelf with room.  Yes, seasoned bachelors know not to stuff a hot pan into the fridge, especially if the shelves are glass or that pretend-glass.  “Tempered” is one thing.  Bachelor-proof is another.

Advanced beyond bachelor level in the kitchen, you store leftovers in what?  Old soup cans are inconvenient.  Bowls covered with clear stick-to-everything-but-what-you-want-it-to wrap is more struggle than it’s worth.  I’ve seen a ten-inch sheet of that clingy crap subdue a child and more than one adult male.  Waxed paper?  Yunh, you try wrapping left over green beans in waxed paper once, you’re done with that.  Aluminum foil?  Really?  I want to see you aluminum foil the Ambrosia salad Aunt Pearl brought to Thanksgiving dinner. You dasn’t toss it while Aunt Perl is still visiting; you save that delightful treat.

You’re left with plastic and glass containers.  Both work really well.  Going in.

Plastic however, is evil.  At least, that’s the current read.  Even the heavy-duty, intended for storage plastics.  Something about leeching chemicals.  Not much of an issue when you’re storing winter sweaters.2  Different though, when you need to store squash casserole. Long ago, we gave up the convenience of popping that last helping of stew in its plastic fridge container into the microwave for a quick bite so not to be late for lacrosse practice.  Guess that’s a no-no.  So we don’t don’t.  Plastic is evil.

When the suggested “don’t use after” period expires for handy plastic containers, we still have, well, plastic to dispose of.  We can’t use them all for starting next spring’s onions or presorting saved screws into near similar sizes and types in the shop. Even then, plastic containers will reach a point where they’re just evil junk plastic.

The war on plastics continues.  Mostly single use plastic.  But plastic is plastic.  Some plastic, once you understand the hieroglyphic symbols on containers, is “recyclable.”  Right.  Recycle places that take plastics are shutting down faster than voting booths after all the Democrat votes have been trucked-in.  Plastic is used in everything.  Ev-er-ee-thing.  Furniture.  Auto bumpers and side panels.  Nuclear reactor containment vessels.  Farm tractor tires.  Clothing.

Reduce plastic use.  Okay.  Good plan.

One evening, in a fit of social conscience, I announced we needed to switch to all glass containers for food storage.  We’d been well on the way with that for some ten years already.   It was time to get serious not only with the dry goods in cupboards, but all leftovers in the fridge.  Feigning agreement (knowing full well my lunacy would abate) the idea got something akin to permission from home council members.    

It’s a slow process. We’ve made progress, though we’re not plastic-free.  Heavy duty glass, touted as freezer to microwave safe.  Not cheap.  Good deal.  In the long run.  Re-useable.  Chemically safe.  No BPA, polyanythenes, FDIC, or SAE chemicals. Refrigerator to microwave?   And beyond.  If you’re a bachelor and no one is looking, the perfect single-serving dish.

A word of caution

Brace yourself.

Doing a bachelor feed on leftovers, I’d nuked some leftover date, squash, pecan, and basil side dish for a noonday repast.  Perusing my Popular Mechanics while I munched from a proper dinner plate3 I suspended my read of an interesting article on chainsaw maintenance to reconnoiter what remained on my plate.

Something shiny.  Not metal-shiny.  Glass-shiny.  Squash don’t look like that. Ever.

Yup.  A glass sliver.  About one-half inch long.  Felt-tip pencil wide.  Sharp on both ends.  Lying on the plate.  Waiting.  Patiently.  Fortunately for me, the leftover concoction was a spear-and-lift, not a slide-and-scoop affair.  Had it been scoopable, I might have got my US RDA of silicon.  Which might have been okay.  The disturbing part to me was that I might have thought to chew that glass.  It wasn’t the crunch that I feared but slicing my gums.  If I want that kind of pain, I visit my dentist.

After the container from which my lunch had been dished, I examined every glass container in the cupboards.  All the measuring cups. Any glass utensil clear or mostly clear.  I did not find one with a chip or crack matching the sliver.  That kind of mystery I do not like. I did toss two containers with rugged irregularities suggesting someone at some time had upped their intake of silicon and potash.

Point is, if you use glass containers, be careful.  Be mindful they are not flawless. Especially as they age and if they are repeatedly heated and cooled.

Here at Chez Spwilcen, our move to all glass storage containers is under consideration.  Again.

1 Fridge: refrigerator, icebox, cooler, cold box, and a bajillion other names.  It’s the place you keep your six pack, your eggs, and your spring onions until they achieve the perfect wilt and blackening.  You know, the big box where mustard, ketchup (catsup?) and tartar sauce are kept until the mold they sport is ready for collection and delivery to Johns Hopkins for biologic research.

2 Winter sweaters.  Anybody have a collection of summer sweaters?  I dunno.  I’m amazed one must twice yearly exchange one-half of your wardrobe, the half hanging in your closet, for the other half, the half in the big boxes in the attic.  At least a day keeping the house-husband out of pool halls humping boxes up and down stairs.  Twice a year.

3 The Boss was home. Tempting though it was to dine directly from the nuked storage container, I’d transferred the mélange to a sit-down plate. Someone, on day, will explain to me the need for one additional dish to wash.

Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

8 thoughts on “Doggie Bag Blues – December 14, 2020

  1. I made a little experiment and composted some plastic, then used it in the garden. No problem! Still, we try to use more reusable glass whenever possible. But, it did break down quickly, just like the bones do. They say not to compost bones, total nonsense. On the other hand, we threw out our microwave a decade ago. “Zapping” food? It even sounds evil! 🙂

  2. LOL! Learning to cook as a child, it was all in quantities for 7. When I moved out on my own, I suddenly discovered I had no idea how to cook for only one person.

    Finding that glass on your plate, though… Yikes!!

  3. By far the best post I have read this morning. Strange how food tastes better when it is re-heated. ‘Feigning acknowledgement, knowing full well my lunacy would abate’, man that was laugh out loud funny. The things we find most funny are the things we can relate to, and I think you must have been eavesdropping on the Hobbo household.
    Thoughtful post too, we all need to take more care with our planet. Oh, and that scary warning about being careful with ageing glassware, I’m just going to fix Mrs Hobbo a large G and T in her favourite antique wine glass!

  4. The glossary is a brilliant idea SP, for as I do greatly enjoy reading your posts, always interesting and witty, I get lost on some of the idiomatic expressions and regionalistic slang, so I appreciate it. In the Bravo home we have both plastic and glass…

    1. If I don’t ‘footnote’ I devolve into long parentheticals detracting from the story. Perhaps I am not mindful enough of my runaway use of vernacular and idiom. I will endeavor to be more careful for my international readers while trying not to bore or insult local folk. Thank you, Sir, I value your opinions as that of several other astute personalities.

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