Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I've observed something about women and men: They use the refrigerator differently.

I hear from so many women that their husbands can't find anything in the fridge that isn't exactly at eye level or in the very front. Imagine my surprise that there is actually a technical term for this "condition." It's called Refrigerator Blindness, or RB. (For more, read this fascinating study. I still can't fully decide if it's serious or one of the most sarcastic things ever written.)

Most people loathe leftovers and will purposely ignore them until they sprout something worthy of a science project. However, my husband has an uncanny ability to remember what leftovers exist in our fridge--and without looking. Even more amazing is his willingness to regularly take them for lunch. His efforts mean that I rarely have to throw food out.

On the Food Waste Friday section of her blog, Frugal Girl documents what food she throws out each week, and she tries very hard to be sure there isn't much to throw out. Sadly, I think she is in the minority of the American public. I recently read that 14% of Americans' trash is made up of food or food scraps. See here for more.

At our house, leftovers can really be a blessing. Not only do they save on hubby buying lunch out five days a week, they also curb the need for convenience food or takeout on busy nights. So, in honor of the humble leftovers, here are six tips on how to use them to your advantage:
  1. Purposely make extra of a recipe and either freeze the second portion or use it later in the week. This works especially well with meats or recipes that you can make into something else by adding a few ingredients.
  2. Store all leftovers and perishable items in clear containers, so you can easily see what's around.
  3. At least once a week, wipe out your fridge and rearrange things so you can make a mental inventory.
  4. Consider investing in a bottom-freezer refrigerator next time you buy one. This eliminates the bending and allows you to see more at eye level.
  5. Try designating a shelf or an area in your fridge just for leftovers.
  6. Designate one night a week as "crazy meal night" and assemble dinner just from the leftovers and some added veggies. If you have no leftovers that week, then celebrate by going out or ordering in!
Bon app├ętit!

1 comment:

  1. Throwing out leftovers is the worst! I always feel terrible, especially when I had plans for them and then totally forgot they were there, or the week got away from me.

    Love the idea of the clear containers and also keeping leftovers on higher shelves, so that they're not out of sight, out of mind. Thanks!