When I was a young girl growing up in my family of six, I did not go hungry. My father worked to support us and my mother stayed home to care for us, and of course cook for us. We did not eat fancy foods, beans were a major staple in our house. We had meat on the table, except on Fridays during Lent when dinner was usually tuna salad and macaroni and cheese. We ate well enough at home and we all appreciated the rare meal at a restaurant.
We also really appreciated the occasional “special foods” our mother would buy, like the bags of chips, the boxes of Hostess Ding Dongs, Twinkies and the packages of sweet rolls. In fact, we so appreciated these treats that we coveted them. Literally. With four kids in the house, one of them my teenage brother with an insatiable appetite, we had to ration our shares. If we didn’t, my brother would get more than his share donuts, cookies, or chips. When a package of special foods found its way into our pantry, we would count how many treats were in the package and pronounce to everyone, our allotted number. I quickly learned that in order to secure my treat, I had to put a label on it and hope my siblings honored my claim to rights.
Sometimes, if I really wanted to be sure that the treat would be there for me, I had to resort to more drastic measures. I had to hide my food. I sought out places to stash those foil wrapped Ding Dongs which looked like presents, or the cellophane wrapped Twinkies. If only I had known that someday the Twinkie would become an endangered species, I might have stashed more of them.
As an adult one of my pleasures is going into the grocery store and buying foods I like, knowing that I can savor them in the comfort of my own home. No labels. No hiding.
Until recently. My girls like food too. In fact, they like good food like gourmet cheeses, breads, snacks. Juan and I will sometimes enjoy a glass or two of wine, with a cheese plate and maybe some nice meats, like the dry aged salami I find at Trader Joes. When I realized that the girls began indulging in my stash, I became annoyed. Especially, when at the end of a long work week, I looked forward to pouring myself a glass of wine, making up a cheese plate, and having my own private happy hour.
This week I was at Trader Joes doing my usual grocery shopping when I browsed the cheese selection and spied the aged cheddar, the brie and the wine salamis. Ahhhh. I realized that the girls would probably appreciate the cheese and salami as much as I would and if they got their hands on it, it would all be eaten faster than you can say Bon Apetite. As soon as I got home from the store, I unloaded my groceries, and I hid the cheese and salami. That’s right, I HID THEM. I am back to hiding my food.
As the week passed I knew that my salami was safely squirreled away, waiting to be savored, I thought to myself that I had outsmarted them. Then, I decided it was time. It was Friday and the weekend was upon me. I was ready to enjoy my happy hour. I took the salami from its hiding place and was ready.
But, something distracted me, and I had to delay my wine and cheese soiree. So I put it in the refrigerator, promising myself I would return. As it happened I got sidetracked and my happy hour plans were derailed. That night Erica had a friend spend the night. I made them dinner and dessert then cleaned the kitchen. As I went to bed, I could hear the girls foraging through the pantry looking for something to snack on. Really, could they still be hungry? I checked in on them as they found a box of cereal to snack on. I went back to bed, knowing that their appetites should be satisfied.
When I woke the next morning I found the girls asleep on the couch, an opened box of cereal, the salami and a stack of dirty dishes on the coffee table. I guess the girls had their own happy hour. Forget the hiding place, I think I need to put a lock on the refrigerator.
Do you hide food to keep others in your house from eating it?