Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Blame it on our parents

Several days ago, while watching the weather channel for a forecast, I noticed something I hadn't heard before. It was a clicking sound coming from our freezer. 
It's a small seven cubic foot freezer that we bought second hand back when the first Bush was in the White House. It's been sitting there in the laundry room keeping our food frosty for years. 
But I noticed that every few minutes it would click, and the compressor would kicked on for about five seconds before clicking off. Hmmm, I thought, this just didn't sound right.
When I stepped over to investigate, I knew immediately that something wasn't right. The hamburger meat, instead of being as hard as granite brick, was mushy. 
I quickly shut the lid and broke the news to Jilda. 
On Sunday afternoon, I started cleaning out the freezer and tossing food into huge garbage bags.
It hurt me deeply to throw away a quart of blackberries I'd picked last year. Along with the berries, were countless containers of apples from our tree, peaches, black-eyed peas, corn, and okra that we grew last year.
We had several hundred dollars worth of meat: chicken, fish, hamburger, and a rack of ribs. 
I didn't have the heart to actually tally everything up. Suffice it to say, replacing the freezer would be much cheaper than replacing the food.
Both Jilda and I had parents who lived through the Great Depression. Our families were very conscience of waste. All of them made promises when times were tough that if they made it through the depression, that they would never go hungry again. 
My mother could not bring herself to toss an aluminum pie plate once the pie had been eaten. Jilda's mom was just as bad. 
They both had freezers brimming with food. Back when Jilda and I first married, and were as broke as a politician's promise, the food in those freezers helped us make it through.
Perhaps something passed down to us both via the DNA of our parents. We look for good buys on food and even if we can't eat it right away, we pack it lovingly in our freezer knowing that it will help get us through the low times.
Today I picked up a new freezer which is much more efficient. The old freezer will be on the way to the recycle place on Monday.
Over the coming months, we'll slowly build up our food reserves. Some people may call us crazy, and that's probably true, but you can blame it on our parents.


  1. We have a freezer in the laundry room too! And it is stocked. My folks were depression children. Yep, they made us like this...

  2. I once found a chicken in the bottom of my freezer that was dated from 3 years earlier. I didn't want to waste it so I called my dad to ask how sick I'd get if we still ate it. He said sick enough you'll never eat a 3 year old chicken again!

  3. My parents said the same thing. I think if you have never been hungry, you don;t pay that much attention to food.
    My parents always had both frozen and cooked in jars all kind of things like juices, jams,pickles salted cabbage, eggplant spread, mushrooms, and even herring.
    We never went without even in the biggest storms.
    I think with all the food we throw away today it is good to store them in jars for a rainy day but with meat, well unless you make tortiers or something thats hard to do.

  4. I had this happen a couple of times... I still keep stocking my freezer :)

    Once we had a huge hurricane (Big for Nova Scotia)... no power for 3 days where I lived.

    The other one, someone moved my freezer and accidentally unplugged it...

    Regardless, I still keep refilling it :)

  5. The money you'll save on the electric bill with the new efficient freezer may help restock it...I felt myself wincing with every item you tossed. I feel the same way and I know I learned it from "keep every plastic container, empty peanut butter jar, every bread bag, every foil anything..Mom!" One of my favorite I've never made myself because I know it could never be as good as Mom's, is "Depression Cake". It's made without a bunch of stuff we put into cakes and I'm not sure how it tastes so crazy good?! Hope you have a great July 4th celebration!

  6. I'm sorry you had to throw away all that food. I feel the same way. I feel guilty if I ever have to throw food away. That is the way I was raised by my parents too.
    I'm surprised to see how people trash food these days without giving it a second thought. Take care and good luck with your new fridge.
    Happy Fourth of July.

  7. Oh so sorry for the death of the beloved freezer. I hate when you lose all those beautiful berries and veggies. It will be fun to fill again and know it will be around for awhile. Happy 4th. Carla

  8. I don't think you and Jilda are crazy at all - I completely agree with it! I didn't grow up in the depression of course but I certainly grew up destitute and learned the value of not wasting anything.

  9. We have the same situation with a chest freezer in the basement. My parents went through the depression, too. Their basement was lined with cans of food as they went into their retirement years - just in case!

  10. Anonymous12:02 PM

    That's happened to us, too--it hurts! We've replaced the freezer &, even though it's just the 2 of us here now, my husband shops at Costco (with their huge packages)!!

  11. Dear Rick, the generation before me--my mom and dad's--lived through the Depression and like your mom, they kept everything for reuse. We didn't have a freezer or even a refrigerator, only an icebox, so we had to shop for groceries a couple of times a week. And yes, Mom did keep a lot of things in a tall, metal cabinet, which was our 1' wide by 1' foot deep by 6' tall pantry. I, too, feel more secure when my freezer is packed to the gills. And when my pantry is the same way. Knowing that there is food in the house gives me a feeling of true abundance. Peace.

  12. I'm from that same era, not to mention a yankee! We make do, save everything we think we can use, and stockpile food that we've picked or harvested ourselves, or found on sale for an unbeatable price. Sorry you had to replace your freezer and lost all your food, but with the new one, hopefully you'll save more on your energy bill to make up for it. Thanks for visiting my blog and for becoming a follower. ~karen

  13. My condolences on the freezer your good old friend. I have a freezer and I stock it well too. I watch for bargain, I have always froze the bounty from our garden and we grow our own beef so I couldn't live without a freezer. I always have too much food in the freezer especially now that the kids are all gone although I still cook for the hired hands.

    Hooray for those new energy efficient appliances.
    Happy 4th of July.

  14. A couple years ago, my freezer iced up. Luckily, I noticed it before the food thawed all the way and my inlaws had room in their deep freeze. So much of my garden goes there. It's how I was raised too.


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