Friday, April 2, 2010

Defcon 1

The other day, my mom had a panic attack about not having enough food in the house. She mentioned to my brother that she wouldn’t be able to grocery shop for another week and that we’d have to get by until then, make the food that we had last for a while.

(I should explain that I buy most of the groceries for our house, but I refuse to buy junk food. I buy produce – fresh and frozen – of all kinds, meat, jarred and dried foods, and all the household products. My mother gets a small lump sum in food stamps, and with that she buys the crap I won’t buy, like cookies, cakes, pop, chips, shitty pre-packaged foods full of sodium and preservatives, and the white bread products I can’t and won’t consume. Her money doesn’t go far and she usually runs out somewhere around the middle of the month, so she must spend the remainder of the month eating the fresh foods I buy, which drives her crazy because that means it requires her to cook.)

My brother, of sound mind and body (relatively, compared with her), told her there was plenty of food in the house and he didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. When he told me about this later, we laughed heartily because Mom can take a perfectly safe, normal, calm situation where no panic is necessary and take it straight to panic mode, Defcon 1. We dubbed it Foodcon 1. The fridge isn’t packed to the walls with food and you can actually see the shelves in the pantry, so she was worried we were going to starve to death. We happened to run out of milk 2 days before I was to grocery shop, so she was frantic about having no milk and my unwillingness to run to the store to buy more milk.

Let me show you something.

THIS is what the refrigerator looks like.

THIS is what the pantry looks like.

THIS is the collection of fruit I have sitting on the island at any given time. (I’m a banana and grapefruit addict, by the way.) What you cannot see are the shelves on the bottom that are piled high with potatoes (3 5-pound bags), onions and other fresh produce that can be left out of the fridge.

This doesn’t even include the fact that I have a 5.2 cubic foot chest freezer in the garage (too dark to take a picture) that is so crowded, I’ve had to take things out of their original packaging and put them in baggies with notes on when they were opened and what they are. Meat stacks better when thawed and repackaged in Ziploc bags, the air is pushed out, and you can pile almost twice as much in a given space. Frozen pizzas in boxes take up too much room, so I leave them in their plastic wrap and cut out the cooking instructions, which I tape to the pizza. That freezer is packed so tight that I have to pile heavy things on top to keep the lid down.

PEOPLE, WE HAVE PLENTY OF FOOD! We could go a month without shopping and barely show concern. Part of that is because I learned from my dad to overbuy things that will keep for a long time and I tend to stock up if I can afford to do so, largely because I never know what tomorrow will bring, and maybe the food money will be cut severely, but I’ll have a heap of food to get us by for a while.

Yet, we were at Foodcon 1 to my mother.

That’s her way. Everything is tragic; everything is scary; everything is bad. It’s not even a case of seeing the glass as half-empty. She sees a full glass and panics because the glass isn’t big enough, or worse, it could be knocked over before you get to drink it and then there won’t be anything in the glass! She’s that way about everything: Defcon 1.

She should get a job with Homeland Security. Or airport security.


Anonymous said...

I've gotten phone calls at work complaining, "There's nothing to eat in the house". Since my food supply looks pretty much like yours, what the caller, my kids, are really saying is, "There's no processed crap around here that will give me a quick sugar/fat/salt buzz." Good, let them suffer.

Leelu said...

D: Ugh, look at all that real food! Where's the ready to eat garbage?