I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
I knew that my mother would be appalled. She would never have done such a thing. Never.
My mother was of the waste-not-want-not generation. It didn’t matter that my father was a physician and had a healthy income and stable job.
She taught me to wipe out the inside of egg shells to get every last bit of white that might remain. “Why waste it?” she would say when I questioned her about it, especially after I found out that nobody else practiced that same frugality.
We would gather all the apples from the apple trees, both the ones that ripened on the branches and the ones that fell to the ground. The “drops,” as my mother called them, were wormy and disgusting. She would sit in the evenings, though, and patiently cut away the bad spots (which often made up more than half of the piece of fruit), peel what was left, and throw it into a pot to make apple sauce. Or apple pie. Or apple walnut cake.
We were like all the farmyard animals that wouldn’t help the little red hen. We liked to enjoy the rewards, but not the labor.
Our entry way would be lined with tomatoes at varying stages of ripeness. No tomato deserved to be summarily dismissed to the compost heap. Each would be inspected for usable parts.
No, my mother would never have thrown away carrots that were mostly perfectly good.
When Grace pulled them out of the refrigerator, she said, “Ewwwwww!” She held them disdainfully away from herself and towards me. The black slime seemed to be the only thing we could see in the bag, which was nearly full of whole carrots, not the baby ones.
“No worries,” I said, “I’ll just take it to the compost. I have some potatoes that need to go down there, too.”
I had discovered the potatoes just an hour or so before. The stench of rotting potatoes has to be one of the worst in the world. I had smelled them in the cellar, and then picked up the bag to see partially liquefied potatoes at the bottom.
Sadly, when I dumped both the carrots and the potatoes onto the compost, I saw lots of usable produce gone to waste.
I knew my mother would not approve.
I threw away some perfectly good food.
That, my friend, is luxury.
But it’s a luxury I shouldn’t take.