You guys, I am really feeling the loss of my Grandma’s awesome orange tupperware — I know it was plastic, but it was such a perfect container for the meat counter, especially for ground beef and pork chops. Now that I’m using half-gallon jars, it’s not quite as easy. Or perfect. I’ve yet to get a pork chop because I don’t think they’ll fit.
I can usually go a few weeks between visits to the meat counter because I like to buy in bulk and then cook it all, freezing it in portions (including thinly sliced for Eric’s sandwiches) so I can just pull out what I need as I need it.
Anyway, last Saturday I took in two of my jars specifically for meat. We were out of chicken, and also I’m kind of tired of chicken, so I wanted to get some hamburger. (Eric grilled it all for me Sunday night, adding to the awesomeness factor.) I hit the store about 7 p.m., which was actually a pretty good time to go, since it was fairly empty. The kid behind the counter is the one who’s mind was blown a few months back that led to my epiphany (“I’m trying to reduce my trash.” Such a simple sentence, but so powerful), and when I asked for that chicken in this jar, he told me to put it on the scale so he could tare it, then proceeded to fill it like a pro.
I really like that kid.
But as he was filling it (chicken was on sale, so I told him I’d take whatever fit in the jar), an acquaintance came up to check out the kabobs. Whatcha doing? she asked, and I was all, Oh, just causing a ruckus at the meat counter.
Here’s another person in real life who doesn’t know what I’m doing. Well, she does now.
So she’s looking at my container, watching the kid put the sticker on and ask what else I’d like. Hamburger, I say, like enough for four patties, and he’s on it. That’s clever, she says, and I’m like, Well, I stole the idea from someone else, but it’s an awesome way to reduce your trash. It’s also kind of fun trying to get the meat out later, and she laughed and said, I was wondering about that.
More and more people are bringing containers, the kid said then, like I bet for every 100 people, two or three do. It’s getting more common. That doesn’t seem like a lot to me, but apparently it is to him — and I guess the fact that they must see hundreds of people in a day adds up to something too.
But that made me happy. I’m not alone!
We said our goodbyes, and as I was leaving, it occurred to me that I should have added that it’s actually not hard to get the meat out of my jars at all — and it’s way cleaner. No paper or plastic wrap or trays mucking up the counter, and you can just toss the whole ordeal in the dishwasher and be done with it. As a germaphobe, I really appreciate that.
I caused a different kind of ruckus beforehand, this time with homemade tamales. (We have such great authentic Mexican food in Oregon, I can’t even tell you.) They were selling them prewrapped in foil — not great, but not terrible — and then putting the packages into plastic ziplock bags for people to carry. More crowds, more people I know, more potential weirdness.
So when it’s my turn, I order a dozen and say, I’m trying to cut down on plastic and I’d like them just as they are, which caused a bit of alarm on the vendor’s side — he was afraid I’d burn myself because they were so hot. Can you just put them in my sweater? I asked, holding it out. He looked dubious and repeated that they were really hot. I totally accept all responsibility! I laughed, and he laughed then too, and handed them to me with my hands safely protected by my trusty gray cardigan. It wasn’t so much that he wanted to push the plastic on me as it was that he wanted me to be safe. I can appreciate the sentiment, but I was so happy that he honored my request.
And the tamales were delicious.
And also: My girls were watching. Good job, Mom, Abby said later. Constant vigilance, you guys, that’s the key.
Next up: Haven’t decided. There’s just so dang much to write about …