That's embarrassing. I thought we'd been doing pretty well so far, but a lot of these bottles and jars were hanging out on the door shelves, a little under my radar. We had to do a thorough cleaning out of the refrigerator this week, because my husband bought a new refrigerator. Yes, I did say new. He spent six weeks searching Craigslist for a used one, and even looked at two, but ultimately bought a discontinued model that was on sale. He's just as frugal as I am, but he's not on The Compact, so all I could do was encourage him to look for a used model. But since he's on a schedule, we ended up with a new fridge.
I can't say I'm unhappy at having a gorgeous brand-new stainless steel refrigerator. I would only be happier if it was this perfect, but we'd bought it from someone who'd gotten it just recently and realized they suddenly had to move, or they wanted a different model, or they were going on a nuts-and-berries diet and didn't even need a refrigerator. But I'm not complaining. My husband did a lot of work doing a mini-remodel on our kitchen, so I'm not going to give him grief about purchasing new appliances. But it does somewhat undermine my Buy Nothing New commitment, or at least make me feel a bit hypocritical when I talk about The Compact. So in case I haven't mentioned it: my husband is NOT doing The Compact, but he does support me in my commitment.
So back to this shameful display of bottles and jars. This is several years' worth, because some of these were 4 or 5 years old. In fact, the dressing with the hula girl was bought in Hawaii on a trip we took back in 2001. Okay, so this is really getting embarrassing. But I've come to the conclusion we don't really like or use jam or dressing that much. Obviously. My husband eats jam on toast occasionally, and I almost never eat it. I like it, but there are so many other things I'd rather have for breakfast. As far as the salad dressing, I usually make a simple dressing from scratch, so aside from the 2 or 3 favorites that we use often, these other more "exotic" choices get forgotten about.
I did manage to save a few jars of jam, some hoison sauce, and some garlic black bean sauce by consulting the excellent website Still Tasty. Check it out, you can find out how long almost any food will last before it needs to be tossed. Jam that still tasted good but was past the "sell by" date, I kept. And the hoison sauce and garlic black bean sauce are used so occasionally, and contain so many preservatives, I figure they're good for years.
I first found out about Still Tasty from my friend Kate over at An Exercise in Frugality. If you haven't checked out her blog yet, I highly recommend it. She posts a mix of useful information and thoughtful questions that I find very interesting and a bit different from other blogs. She offers ideas on how to make frappucinos at home, the many uses for baking soda, and creative parenting tips, to name just a few.
And as far as this week's food waste, at least I've learned something. We only need a couple of bottles of dressing, and one or two choices of jam. That way I don't think we'll be wasting any more condiments in the future. Once again, it's a matter of focus. I don't remember wasting mayonnaise or mustard or ketchup, or anything we actually use regularly. And by the way, I put all these through the dishwasher and am saving most of the jars. A couple of the plastic dressing bottles went in the recycling bin.
Have you been keeping track of your food waste? How did you do this week? It couldn't have been any worse than this. So fire away with your thoughts and questions in the Comments section. And if you want to know why you should even care, check out Wasted Food to learn about the consequences of sending rotten food to the landfill.