What IS Normal?

Today’s guest post comes from Dea-chan who blogs at Craziness and More!

Although I’m a fairly solid doomer at heart, and would love to be completely self-sufficient food wise, want to eliminate paper and have a composting toilet, I still have yet to Walk the Walk, as it were. Some of my failure to achieve this lies with me, as I work on breaking my attachment with paper and flushing toilets, but a lot of this lies with how it’s received. Part of the problem involved in this is how differently I think from the average American these days.

I’ll never forget the frantic email that I received from a roommate about someone leaving “trash” all over the kitchen, and that they “thoughtfully” cleaned it all up for this person. That was when it hit home: I’m really on a path that will eventually be non-compatible with the average American without much explanation. So I followed her “thoughtful” email with one explaining the pros and cons of compost, where our compost bucket was, and what can and can not be put into a compost bucket. Problem solved!

Next is the thwarting of my jar hoarding. I manage an ice cream store, and we go through 10 oz. jars of peanut butter weekly, and 3 gallon food-safe plastic tubs of hot fudge regularly as well. Being a proper doomer, I believe strongly in the power of storage and glass jars. So, I will wash, collect and bring home these fabulous items. However, tops to peanut butter jars will disappear. They will disappear at work if I’m not careful — one coworker recycles the jar and throws out the top. He helped me for 10 minutes last night during closing, and in that 10 minutes, the top to my peanut butter jar disappeared! I of course only noticed after taking the trash out. So one culprit discovered. Another is at my apartment. I’ll come home and there will be jars in the drinking glasses section, with nary a top in sight. I’ve taken to shuffling tops as needed in that house. Spices: definitely need it. Leftovers in the fridge: definitely need it. Jar of nuts: well, they’ll get shortchanged this time around. The last crusader against my jar hoarding is my fiance. If I don’t get to the jars first, and stick them somewhere he won’t find them (currently under the sink), they just might disappear because “you don’t really use these, do you?”

Luckily, some preps are obvious, and I do learn, if slowly. My jars of pickles? Surprise, surprise, they look like jars of pickles! There isn’t a person in my world who will go “what are these sealed jars full of stuff on the counter? Looks like trash, so I’ll kindly throw it out for the person who is too silly to do so.”

I recently made Lemon Balm Cordial, and without proper warning, my fiance would have had no idea what was hanging out in his fridge.

Looks scary, doesn’t it? Notice it’s in a peanut butter jar. Granted, my fiance would probably have been smart enough to go “well I didn’t put it there…” and ask me what it was. He’s surprisingly more on top of things than I give him credit for. Now if I could just get him to drop paper products…

The last item in my Show and Tell is my (sadly) failed starter. There were layers upon layers of sneakiness involved in this. Firstly, I had assured my fiance that I wouldn’t do starter until the kitchen was cleaned. But who needs a fully clean kitchen when you’ve got a clean jar and measuring cups?

And thus, I started making starter. But because of my failure to clean the kitchen, I hid the starter under the sink. If my fiance hadn’t noticed me feeding it, he might have only discovered it with the slight smell it gave off (the wrong thing grew, and it promptly died). Look honestly at that jar. If you found a jar that looked like that under your sink, would you toss it? More than likely, yes. My fiance merely went “… is that a starter you’re poking over there?” with my guilty reply of “um… no?”

So I guess to round up my collection of stories with a nice moral: always make sure that the people you live with know what you’re doing. Otherwise, you may end up with trashed, destroyed, or failed experiments and unhappy people.

Dea-chan is a newcomer to the ranks of food preservation and preparing for emergencies, but is enthusiastic about the projects she has been involved in and those she is considering.  Typical daydreams involve dairy goats, farms, and yarn stashes.  You can find her semi-weekly at Craziness and More!, her blog about forays into the world of sustainability, green living, and having a good time in the Greater Boston Area.

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6 Comments

Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Sustainable Living

6 responses to “What IS Normal?

  1. Rosa

    It’s like joining another culture, and having to translate for people.

    Oh, the concept of “composting” and why minerals (like clay cat litter) and plastics don’t compost.

    And the difference between a jar you save and a jar you recycle – After 10 years in the same place, I have enough jars, so all the jars that don’t take canning lids are getting recycled.

    And the big one – the idea that those flushes GO SOMEWHERE where someone has to deal with them, they don’t just magically disappear…

  2. I understand completely and MAY have FINALLY gotten my husband to not touch what either isn’t his or what he doesn’t understand. I have a new coverable compost saver (an ice-bucket purchased at Thrift Town) and he knows to put food scraps in it, but other stuff has gotten tossed through the years. Now, with a new granddaughter, I’m saving stuff for home-made crafts (think paper garbage). That oughta really drive him nuts. Unlike you, however, I’m not at all a doomer. I’m pollyanna all the way.

  3. All this stuff looks like trash – until we magically transform it into something useful/delicious/fill in the blank. My favorite is the Lemon Balm Cordial – it looks like a sorcerer’s potion.

  4. The lemon balm cordial is magical in a margarita in lieu of triple sec (which I hate — don’t like Tang, don’t like alcoholic Tang). It was an interesting few drinks figuring out what to make with it!

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