Thanksgiving is but a faint taste of pumpkin pie. The cooking is finished, the dishes are washed, the pants are tight…three signs of culinary accomplishments. One of the best things about Thanksgiving is the aging, if you will, of the meal. If turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes are good on day one, they approach perfect food-dom on day two. One of the other good things about Thanksgiving is that we all make too much of everything except perhaps gravy. There can never be enough gravy. This means there are plenty of leftovers on which to dine on Friday. The serpent in this Eden is what to do with the food overnight. On Thursday, we’re all in a food coma. The lethargy level is such that we can barely stir ourselves to go into the next room and watch football until we fall victim to a carbohydrate overdose and drift off to sleep. The specter of a disaster-zone kitchen, though, is usually enough impetus to get us off our rapidly expanding rear ends to address the mess.
Most of us have refrigerators. Most of us have refrigerator dishes. What many of us are lacking are matching lids for those stacks of plastic containers. Where, precisely, do the lids go? I was reared in a, shall we say, very frugal household. No sheet of writing paper with one clean side was ever thrown out. Hand-me-downs were the norm. I even inherited my older sister’s bike for one summer. I don’t think recycling had been formally invented but we did it. My father, who doesn’t have the first dime he ever made but certainly knows where it is, even insisted we gather the toilet tissue that intermittently festooned our trees, dry the dew from it, and use it. Other houses had nice neat paper wound on a shiny spindle. We had a grocery bag containing an alarmingly pre-dampened product with the occasional, not to mention painful, small stick in it. I am not making this up.
It’s only logical to assume a home that believed in reusing aerated toilet paper would reuse just about anything. Once margarine began arriving in plastic tubs, the problem of what to store leftovers in was solved. Unfortunately, and this became a larger issue than I ever believed possible, there appeared to be an endless variety of sizes of tubs. Some were within millimeters of being the same. Some weren’t nearly that close. But the end result was that not all tub lids fit all tubs. This is Lid Problem Number One. My mom took to making little matching marks on lids and tubs to indicate which went with which. This worked great. If anyone paid attention to it. We kids, of course, did not. We’d just yell for our mom to come and find the right lid. This is not as restful as it sounds.
Because we live in America, it did not take long for some entrepreneur to see opportunity knocking in the form of refrigerator dishes that were intended to be, you know, refrigerator dishes. No marked-up tubs for the emerging middle class. People who had a house in the suburbs and two cars had the affluence to buy real honest-to-goodness refrigerator dishes. And they did. But they still lost the lids. This is Lid Problem Number Two. Go into almost any kitchen today and you will find a messy, cluttered drawer somewhere into which all manner of plastic containers are thrown. I myself keep my plastic containers in a drawer between the oven and the microwave. It’s a wonder there hasn’t been some sort of nuclear melt down, a kitchen Chernobyl if you will, resulting from this. And I am a very organized person. The term OCD has been used, along with other, less kind, labels. But even I cannot seem to avoid having an orphan dish at the bottom of the pile whose lid has mysteriously disappeared. Losing the container itself makes much more sense. A container could be used under a leaking pipe or could hold the family stash of safety pins and rubber bands or could be on a high shelf holding, as it does for a friend of mine, pureed hedgeapple which he swears cures skin lesions. I am not making that up, either. A container could be used to catch an oil leak or store marbles or collect the coins you discover when you clean out your car. A lid cannot be comfortably employed for any of these purposes yet it is always the lid that is missing. A reasonably bright person will figure out it’s time to go buy more plastic containers. A reasonably bright person with experience knows the style of containers will have changed just enough for the new ones to be slightly different than the old ones. And my mom is not within yelling distance.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.