As the title says, sometimes people reveal the littlest things to show you how they were raised and whether they grew up “rich” or not, and I see it the most in how people conserve or waste food.
For some reason, food is the one area people spend a lot of money on, yet don’t take care to gain maximum efficiency and minimum waste.
LACK OF MEAL PLANNING
My first story is with a couple that has 3 kids. The mother, goes shopping at a fancy, organic grocery store every single week, loads up her cart with stuff she finds interesting, and then during the week because she is so busy with her job (the father too), she ends up throwing most of it in the garbage.
It literally breaks my heart each time I see a pint of perfectly fine organic raspberries in the garbage because she felt as though one of them was a little too soft and mushy, and therefore overripe to be eaten.
This wastefulness has to be costing them more than $200 a week by my estimates especially since organic fruit like raspberries or strawberries don’t come cheap.
She doesn’t meal plan at all, even with my best efforts to suggest doing so, and buys odd items that don’t match with each other in a meal (or at least, she can’t think of a recipe that uses them), and/or she is missing key ingredients to make a meal come together during the week.
Most of the time, she has admitted to me that they spend about $1000 a month eating out. They get a lot of takeaway and the kids all have their favourite restaurants and menu items “Oh mom, not shawarma from THAT place. I want it from THIS place. The #6!”
I gnash my teeth, but I mostly try not to think about it.
NOT KNOWING THE COST OF ANYTHING
When in Europe, we cooked a very VERY lovely meal for hosts (family members, really) in Paris consisting of expensive wild mushrooms. To give you an idea of how expensive, 100 grams of these mushrooms cost us $35.
We used 4 packs of the mushrooms, spending well over $100 just for the wild mushrooms in a single meal for 4 people.
When the meal was served, I guzzled down and cleaned my entire plate. There was no question in the slightest that the meal was well-received by all because it was freakin’ DELICIOUS.
Then I looked around and saw that another person had basically gorged on eating appetizers before and had no room left to finish eating the meal, and left a treasure trove of mushrooms on his plate.
I assumed because he left so many expensive, yummy mushrooms he was going to pack it up and eat it some other time as leftovers. Perhaps for lunch at work.
When his wife cleared the table, I went to the bathroom and on the way back, dropped by the kitchen to refresh my drink, only to see in the garbage can, the entire meal he had on his plate, sitting on top of the garbage heap.
(To tell you the truth, I had a quick flashback of George Costanza in his girlfriend’s mothers’ kitchen, looking at this perfectly fine, half bitten eclair sitting on top of the garbage can, wondering if he could finish that eclair because it would otherwise be a waste.)
I can tell you that although I had no urge to reach into the garbage can and pick out those mushrooms (yuck), I did have an overwhelming urge to cry from the sheer wastefulness of it all.
He was a cousin for goodness sake!
Even I would have eaten his plate if he had said: “I don’t really want to keep this as a leftover, does anyone want it?”
(BF said the same thing, but as the wife never offered or said anything about her intentions to toss the food, we had assumed she would keep the dish as a leftover for her husband.)
For at least 2 weeks afterwards, I (mentally) cried at the cost of literally $40 of mushrooms sitting in the garbage because his wife didn’t think that anyone would want to eat off the plate of someone else because it is “just not done” in France such as in very fancy, rich households.
Maybe it’s a sign of looking poor or starving, but … frankly, I paid for those goddamn mushrooms and he barely even touched his plate.
I worked for that half of $40, and $20 to me, is not chump change in the slightest.
I was so vexed by the whole situation that I complained for 2 weeks internally and expressed my opinion to BF, and now I am finally writing about it, it has bothered me so much, even to this day.
I have the greatest of all inklings that she grew up in a very rich household. Rich enough that leftover food is not kept, and no one would think of touching food on each other’s plates, even though they’re related by blood.
She probably has never even bothered to buy such mushrooms before in her life, which is why she MAY NOT (in her weak defense) have known that she literally chucked $40 in the garbage without thinking twice.
I should also mention that she is ridiculously skinny.
Like Skeletor skinny, because she, like the stereotype of French women, are in constant fear of getting fat, so they eat like birds, and throw away tempting, delicious, creamy meals with expensive wild mushrooms.
Thinking back on those two stories, I just get the feeling that we might be a little too concerned with “cleanliness” as a society, and furthermore, those of us who have been raised in uber rich households that see food waste as a necessity, have never had to go hungry or pay for anything out of their own pockets to really appreciate what food waste costs.
HAVE YOU EVER COME ACROSS THIS AND THOUGHT THE SAME?
Update: Kara got angry in the comments that I “skinny shamed” because she has been “fat shamed” her entire life.
Firstly, let it be known that I am also close to Skeletor Skinny (105 pounds, 5’5″ which is the very low end on the BMI scale), so I feel like you should all at least know that about me.
Secondly, I think her being skinny and French-style skinny in particular (which is supermodel skinny), explains a lot about her and the way she treats food.
She throws food in the garbage to avoid temptation just so she can stay skinny. It’s also another reason why she didn’t want to have children because she’d get “fat”.
To me, it explains her actions perfectly — she grew up so rich, so wasteful and in French fear of gaining weight from tempting creamy pasta leftovers, that she tossed it all in the garbage rather than saving it for later.