Home > Thrifty Thursday > Grandma was “Green” Way before it was so popular…

Grandma was “Green” Way before it was so popular…

So, back to that story about “doggy feed”…

One chapter in “We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier” led me to purchasing the book for every female in my mother’s family one year.

“I think Tom Brokaw said it best when describing the ‘Greatest Generation:’ Why can’t any of y’all throw out your leftovers? …

“So I get the whole war-surviving, Depression dealing-business, but what I don’t get is why somebody who has a $35 monthly house payment and bought Circuit City stock for a quarter a share is still cleaning refolding used tin foil and washing out the Ziploc bags….

“The Greatest Generation refuses to throw away disposable cups. Just watch them. Oh I know. We ‘young folks’ are squandering our natural resources. Truly, great majestic forests of Solo-party-cup-producing red, yellow and blue plastic are disappearing faster than piercable body parts on a Gen X-er. “

This chapter alone had me in fits of laughter (“What’s all that giggling!?” Granddaddy would have said).

It was so funny because it was so true.

Grandma was a forward-thinking environmentalist before we knew what that was.

She would invite dozens of people to her house and put out a huge stack of paper and plastic plates (not all the same kind. It was quite nice to have the choice between divided plates, little plates, big plates…).

Next to the pitchers of sweet tea and lemonade would be the aforementioned solo cups. Next to the applesauce, little plastic cocktail cups (I don’t know how much later in my life it was that I realized these cups were meant for cocktails…not applesauce).

When the meal was over, without fail, Grandma and Giggie (her sister) would go around gathering up all the cups and plastic plates, spoons, etc… and throw them in the dishpan.

I wonder what the cost per use on those applesauce cups was for grandma…

When it came time to put away the food, she’d go looking for the ziplock bags she’d cleaned other food out of and storage containers that were probably older than my mother.

If there were food scraps left on plates…those went into giant coffee cans. Doggy feed cans. I never knew my grandmother to have a dog. No. Those nasty, smelly, sometimes week old cans would go home…none other than me. (packaged up one or two at a time in a bag that used to hold bread. Amazingly, they fit perfectly!) I can still remember that rank smell…

My dogs probably thought they’d died and gone to heaven with these food scraps (often bits of gravy and the bones from steaks and roasts).

It took YEARS to convince her that neither did our dogs NEED this extra nourishment, nor, quite frankly, did we want to deal with it anymore!

And then her freezer. OH her freezer! She and my grandfather lived alone, but I never opened her stand-alone freezer to be confronted with empty self space. Nope! What if there was a storm? (it’d have to last years for all that food to be used up!) My mother still has peas in her freezer that Grandma put up in 1999.

But in this day of bring-you-own-bag to the grocery store (I don’t think she EVER threw away a bag) and composting (yep, did that too) and “upclying” worn out clothes (got a hole in your shoe? Throw it in the “river shoe” box) I realize that more and more, Grandma was a smart woman thinking so far ahead of her time.

  1. Lara Allen
    August 12, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Perhaps this year for girls night, we should actually DRINK out of the applesauce cups. What do you think?

    • August 12, 2010 at 5:04 pm

      If there are any left. Maybe they’re stored behind the peas from 1999…

  1. October 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm

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