Monday, June 28, 2010

A Good Way to Spend Six Minutes

If you don't already read The Automatic Earth ... you should.

But if you're saying the what Earth?, check out this great video, which was put together by one of their readers using the audio of an interview with Stoneleigh (one of the writers behind The Automatic Earth) and images that Stoneleigh and Illargi (the other half of the writing duo) use at the beginning of each of their posts.

It's a great video introduction to their message, which is hard-hitting, right-between-the-eyes, but still laced with the hope that enough people will hear and make the necessary changes so that the images depicted in the pictures they add to the beginning of each of their posts taken from the 1930's FSA photography project will not be repeated.

And on a different note, we had a food loss today. A significant loss, due to complacency.

My comment, when I realized that significant amount of food was trash, was that our refrigerator is too much like a bee-suit, which Deus Ex Machina has chosen not to wear. Like a bee-suit, the refrigerator gives us a false sense of security when it comes to food preservation. We put things in there, and then, we don't use them up quickly enough, and they go bad. Most of us never think twice about it, but we should. Food waste is awful, and in a lower energy world, where food becomes more scarce when the on-demand food system grinds to a halt, that stuff we threw away today, would likely, have represented full bellies for the next two days.

To me, it's just one more reason to lose the refrigerator so that we are forced to be more careful with our food, because as long as we have the ability to believe that our food will stay "fresh" for longer, it's too easy to fall into that trap of not thinking about it ... and the temptation to eat out instead of cooking the food in the refrigerator is too great.

If we didn't have a refrigerator, we'd have eaten the food the day we got it, instead of waiting a week, allowing it to spoil and end up in the trash.

What a waste!


  1. For me, that would not work. I have limited time to shop and cook. I actually have two refrigerators so that when I bulk shop and cook, I have someplace to store it. I do a lot of cooking on the weekends and we eat from it the rest of the week.

    You might want to reconsider - the issue sounds like more of the need to change your routine. Marking containers with masking tape and a date really helps identify when a leftover was created. So does putting "use first" food on a particular shelf before putting away the new food.

  2. dogear6 - it's not (just) about changing routines for me. And if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that changing habits and routines has been the theme of my life for a lot of years ;).

    For me, having the refrigerator just makes it too easy to become complacent. Yes, there's chicken stock in there, and I *could* make soup, but it will keep another day, until that last day, when I end up having to throw it out.

    Having the refrigerator allows me *not* to be mindful about the food, and it could be that I just need to change that about myself, but not having the fridge, in my opinion, is as easy as having it and forcing myself to think about what's in there.

    But *not* having the fridge also saves electricity. So, there's an additional benefit to unplugging the appliance and finding alternatives.

  3. Wendy - I am amazed at how you are constantly experimenting and changing your life around. And how willing you are to share it with us - the good and the bad.

    Your points are all good ones. When I am canning, I make the smallest sizes I can so things are used up quickly instead of hanging around. I do a fair amount of freezing, but always with an eye to what if we were to lose the freezer. Could I eat, can or dehydrate what is in there fast enough to not lose it (or get sick).

    The frozen grains, flours, and dehydrated goods could all come out and are not a worry. Only the brown rice and flours are stored there because of their tendency to go rancid. The other grains and beans are there short-term to kill bugs (I had a major outbreak of crawly things in a 25 lb. bag of garbanzos last year). My dehydrated fruits and veggies are in the freezer as a preventative to problems.

    But as to my comments about the refrigerator, I am overwhelmed right now to feed us with the basics. To do it without being able to volume cook on the weekends would probably sink me altogether.

  4. dogear6 - Thank you, and I just want to clarify that, like you, I depend a great deal on my freezer. We have a stand-alone freezer, and to be sure, the freezer would stay regardless of whether we unplugged the side-by-side refrigerator/freezer that we have, because we buy meat in bulk, raise our own chickens and rabbits - but only during the summer, and what we raise has to do us for the whole year - and both Deus Ex Machina and Mr.Field and Stream hunt. So, I need/want the freezer, but the fridge ... not so much ;).

    My reply really was just in response to your comment that I "might want to reconsider" my reasons for not wanting a refrigerator and was just to say that I had thought a great deal about the whys and hows of keeping vs. unplugging the fridge.

    I think everyone's situation is different, and I never meant to imply that my choices were the only ones. Like Chile, who lives in Arizona, would never consider giving up her refrigerator, and I respect that. But she can give up hot water and take cold showers. Up here, even on the warmest days, that's not something I am really be comfortable doing.

    For her, hot showers in the summer are nice to have, but something she can give up. For me, the fridge is nice to have, but it's one of those things that we could ... and should ... probably do without.

  5. Going w/o some type of food cooling would be difficult. In your neck of the woods, might be possible several months of the year, however.

    My grandpa told me that when he was a kid, they build a fire under their 'icebox' to make it cold. Camper fridges run on propane, same concept as this;

  6. I know what you mean about being less mindful about the foods in the fridge. I bought avocados one day, thinking I would have them for dinner that night but we got sidetracked and had something else for dinner. No problem, I'll use them the next night. Oops, the husband is working and I don't like to make big meals when he is not home, I'll save the avocados for the next night and so it goes, until this morning, in my search for salad fixings, I come upon two withered avocados. sigh... into the compost they go.

    I do like dogear6 does and keep leftovers on one shelf, so we always see it right there and remember to eat them before they spoil, but it is not a perfect system, I cleaned out the fridge this morning and dumped no less than 6 containers of forgotten leftovers and the compost recieved a nice offering of various vegetables and fruits that were too far gone for anyone to eat.