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Monday, August 04, 2008

The Fashion of My Mothers

[posted by Daughter]

We never ate Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, the product was (is) neither nutritional nor cost effective. I remember relishing the opportunity to indulge in the bright orange noodles at a friend's house. Our pantry was filled with giant jars, some still showed evidence of a label that read: dill pickles. They were re-used for oats, raisins, sunflower seeds, and flours. Our fridge contained large blocks of cheese purchased from the food co-op. (For the longest time I thought that Muenster was only available in blocks bigger than my head.) I would watch my mother at the kitchen sink rinsing zip lock bags and stacking them on the dish drainer, thinking "couldn't we just buy more?" Maybe we could have, but that was not the point of rinsing plastic bags and re-using pickle jars. For as long as I've known them my mothers have been saving the environment, one plastic bag at a time.

And so it is that the "Green" movement has come as some what of a shock to me. I never thought that my mothers would be trend setters, at the forefront of fashion. I couldn't have imagined as a child that I would be following in my mothers' footsteps. I certainly didn't think that I would rinsing the zip lock bags and saving pickle jars. I thought that when I grew up I would be eating mac and cheese every day, instead I'm cooking pasta salad from scratch 90% of which was purchased from bulk bins. (As for the cheese that's an ingredient I consider not to be cost effective.) I'll be honest I started re-using not to reduce but because I am a penny pincher. I refused to buy paper towels because I have one that I can wash, I will not buy Tupperware when I know that there are plenty of Nancy's Yogurt containers to use, and to this day I own one pot and one frying pan. (Which makes life interesting). I don't even notice these everyday items are missing until a guest asks exasperatingly, "where are your paper towels?" I have a do-without-it attitude, I have a sneaking suspicion it's inherited through Mamacita. If I don't have it I simply do without it. I save a lot of money this way and in the mean time I'm cutting down waste and being environmentally friendly. I take the money I've saved by being frugal and invest in products that in the long run are not "cost effective" but they're clean and guilt free.

I have to thank my mothers for setting such a good example. Being green hasn't been popular since the sixties but they have never invested much in popularity. Even while raising three children (none of which were easy) they did their best to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle. With the nest of Stony Run emptied they now have the opportunity to ease into the truly green lifestyle they have been dreaming of. Turning a yard from "aesthetic" grass into a fully equipped garden and barnyard hasn't been fashionable since the 1800's but then again my mothers have never invested much in fashion.

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