Sunday, March 2, 2008

Catholic Tupperware

I asked my husband what I should post about, and he said, "Isn't this supposed to be a Catholic blog? Maybe you should write about something besides food." I calmly explained to him that eating is a sacred participation in God's creative order. He just shook his head and walked away.

Now that that's settled, let's talk about Tupperware!

When we got married, I registered for nice tupperware. Almost immediately, lids started disappearing and soon I was left with very few usable containers, not to mention nothing seemed the right size for my leftovers. Why do they give you so many really small containers anyway? If there is THAT little left, I prefer to just throw it away.

For several years we never seemed to have the proper tupperware to fit our leftovers yet we lived with this situation as I was too lazy, and we were too broke to go spending money on more tupperware. I then went through a phase where I bought all "disposable tupperware," you know, the cheap glad and ziplock variety. You can use this stuff quite a few times before it cracks or needs to be replaced. This is the current state of things in our household.

At present I have too much cheap tupperware, most of the lids don't fit with the tops--it was a big mistake to buy both glad and ziplock variety--and our tupperware drawer, or drawers are overflowing and disorganized. I dread unloading the dishwasher and having to put tupperware away. I dread having to put leftovers in the fridge and I regularly pull out a container, fill it with food, and I am then unable to find a lid that matches. There has to be a better way, have any of you found it?

If we put out heads together, I think we can prove to my husband not only a solution to our tupperware crisis, but that there is something Catholic about tupperware. Is there a Patron Saint of tupperware? Maybe someday I could be the Patron Saint of food storage devices ;-)


jesusthroughmary said...

Tell your husband that not every stone in a cathedral is the altar stone. A Catholic home is still a home, and your blog is about building your homes. The Catholic worldview is clear enough, and there will be plenty of opportunities to bash Senator, then President Obama over the next five years. Unless we all get imprisoned for opposing the Party.

That being said, the only solution that I believe will work is to throw everything out and start from scratch. Buy the good stuff and be diligent about keeping it intact. Apparently real Tupperware comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee, or at least it used to.

Eileen said...

Oh, this was funny! I have a huge, overflowing tub of covers, way more lids than containers, and I *still* can never find the cover I need!! :)

On an episode of Cheers many years back, I remember Norm talking about Tupperware once. I don't remember why they were talking about it, but he mentioned that his wife loved Tupperware so much she wanted to be buried in a Tupperware coffin. Something about burping the lid, I think. OK, whatever. :) I don't know about Norm's wife, but funerals can be a very Catholic topic! So I've either helped to raise this discussion to that level, or helped to sink it even lower.....

Katherine said...

My mother's tupperware cabinet always drove me crazy. I never could find anything. And yet my tupperware storage rarely seems to be a problem for me and I think the reason was completely accidental. In my kitchen, for reasons of easy access, I put all the tupperware on two shelves in one of the more shallow cabinets - you know the ones intended for plates or glasses? (In our kitchen it is literally the shelves above the plates.) Hence there is always only 1 row of tupperware deep wherever I look and I can see it all at once. It is a wee bit high for me but in general I can always see everything and easily find what I am looking for. Plus, when I go to put some away, I can easily see which stacks have room, which are of round containers v. square, etc.

And, yes, I don't know of another solution besides buying new. If it helps, Bed, Bath and Beyond gives away 20% off coupons like they are water and they don't expire (the coupons say they do, but I've asked employees and they have always taken them even if the coupon has technically expired). Heck I have about a dozen of them if you want one.

Maria said...

I bought one of those food storage systems that come on a lazy susan. It has three different container sizes, but they all use the same lids. It's compact, everything washes up well, and you always have the right lid. It rocks!

The only downside is the tremendous guilt I feel when I throw out perfectly good plastic containers that I used to save obessively for tupperware use.

Mary Alice said...

I buy gallon and quart freezer bags at Costco, and use them for many of my leftovers. Right now, keeping it simple is a high priority around here. This also makes it easy for me to decide to freeze certain leftovers. I double the bags if I am going to freeze. My mom just got me a ziploc thing that takes the air out of bags, she used it on my meat in the freezer and I have to say it was amazing.

Environmentally, I think that the best solution is glass storage containers. My in-laws, who make great use of leftovers, have corningware glass containers with lids, and while they take up a whole cabinet I think that if you have the space that might be the best way to go, you can use them in the oven, they don't melt or stain, the wash easily in the dishwasher. They also look nice enough to use as serving pieces.

Come to think of it, I am going to get some of these when the budget allows, because I need serving dishes anyway, so why not have something that multitasks?

Again, I don't think they are ideal if fridge and cabinet space are limited. If you are in grad school housing, I would go the freezer bag route.

On the Corningware website , it also looks like you can buy replacement lids.

There is actually a corning outlet near me, so I am going to check it out, I will let you know.

Oh, one more good thing about glass, I know that we are starting to hear about toxins leaking out of even food safe plasic (baby bottles, etc), so perhaps eating out of tupperware on a regular basis is not so great?

We eat very little take out, so saving take out containers is not an issue here, but for a while i would just keep the round ones that were all the same from chinese places, six of those should hold most of the leftovers that a moderate family would have, and you can interchange the lids and easily toss when they are damaged or stained, they stack to store easily.

The solution that Maria mentions has always appealed to me, too.

Also on storage, I use "lock and lock" containers in my pantry, I use tall rectangles for cereal, nuts, rice and other things that I buy in bulk. So far I have been really pleased with them.

***my first time putting links in a comment, let's see if it works!

Mary Alice said...

Yeah! So cool, go me! I love that blogger has made it so easy to use the templates these days but I had gotten really decent at basic coding and I am sorry to have lost the habit, this will be good for me to start using some codes in my comments. I always have a rush of pride when code turns into something, in elementary school we had to use coding to move a turtle around a screen, that was back when they thought that everyone would have to learn that sort of computing...also, my dad made me memorize all the shortcuts in WordPerfect, that turned out to be sort of a waste of time...ah, I do love the mouse.

Anonymous said...

I have a small bin that holds all my lids, and I keep all the containers (mine are mostly the "cheap tupperware" too) on one shelf. I had your problem and I got everything out, put it on the kitchen table, and matched all the lids with the containers. Then I threw out any lids without containers or containers without lids -- no exceptions! For a while I did this once a month, or made it a chore for one of my kids. Now I do it about once a year. They all match up!

Gail in Cincinnati

B-Mama said...

I'm with Gail above and have a storage area for white lids, green ones, and glad ones. All the tupperware containers go together, concentric circles fitting within one another. The system, in general, has gotten so complex, though, no one but me knows how to implement it! My poor hubby knows just to put clean tupperware on the top of the counter and let me deal with it! :) lol.

I think I may have to check out the glass options as Mary Alice just mentioned. I'm already wary of plastic in the microwave due to rumors of the leaking chemicals causing cancer (though confirmed through two chemists that it would NOT be a problem...) That's a whole other bag of apples!

Anonymous said...

As other people have mentioned, I sat down one day, matched up everything and recycled if possible (our town takes anything with a recycling number) or threw away everything without a match.

I then decided where I was going to keep my containers and tried to stack them neatly. No dice. So I bought a new set of containers which nest in each other. Everything fit nicely. The lids go under the containers, the containers and lids nest. Anything that didn't nest with the new set was donated to charity.

I like to cook twice as much as we can eat and freeze half for another week, so I bought more containers of certain sizes. However, while I bought the same brand, I stupidly bought some that were round and some that were square depending on what was in the store that week and they no longer nest.

The next month I have extra money, I am going to buy more square ones and donate the round ones to charity.


Right Said Red said...

Thank you all for your suggestions. I think I am going to invest in either glass corningware or a set where all the tops are the same. I have to see which will fit better in our cabinets. Thank you so much for all the suggestions!