I am going to clean out my fridge today. Pull out every last disgusting bit, spray the whole thing down, and start over-- putting back what's still good. I don't anticipate there being a lot of things to toss, as I do this once a month, but there will be a few. And every time I throw away food that was once perfectly good and has gone to waste, it's never without a tinge of good old fashioned 1920s guilt.
See, my mom's parents divorced when she was 8, leaving her to be raised primarily by her Grandma and Grandpa. Her mom was there, but in less of a traditional mom capacity; her heart and mind were broken, and she spent the rest of her life trying (never fully succeeding?) to repair the damage to both.
But anyway, her grandma. My great grandma. Now she lived to 95 (still living at home, mind you, mind sharp as a tack), so I knew her well too. She met my son, her great great grandson, and I treasure the picture of her holding him and laughing. But anyway, she was old. She lived during the Great Depression, so she knows a thing or two about poverty and making use of everything you have, and she passed this mentality on to my mother. My mom always found a way to make use of everything. It seemed to pain her to have to toss anything past its prime, and needless to say, my father (of a similar mindset) made sure we cleaned our plates.
So, it's guilt that has me reconsidering this "Dixie Cup" mentality, as my mom puts it. Use and toss... And they say we're in a depression nearing that great one-- so why aren't there bread lines and more homeless? Shoes made out of cardboard and rubber bands? I think it's either that we're not actually as bad off as all that or technology that's kept us from getting to that point. We are too distracted to really take in how awful things have gotten-- the internet, TV, movies, cell phones-- (and if we can afford these luxuries, again, we're not to the same point or we'd be in cardboard shoes talking into tin cans-- just sayin').
Either way, I plan to revel in the guilt, to purchase more frugally, to continue cooking like I have been-- eating out much less than we have before. And yes, applying for more full time work.
Have you noticed a difference in your area? Do you tend to throw a lot out?