Celery for One, Please

A single person’s groceries are sort of like freshman girls at a frat party — most are likely to be wasted. Americans throw out 30% of their groceries on average, and that includes homes that skew the curve downward — such as huts teeming with teenage boys who tilt the fridge toward their plate and scarf everything that falls onto it. Single folks skew the curve in the other direction, probably chucking 2/3 of what we pile onto the conveyor belt, where our goodies are ruthlessly judged by the checkout lackey.

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If you’re a Stouffer’s / Cap’n Crunch kind of guy whose food has a longer lifespan than most marriages, this probably doesn’t apply to you, but I live in one of the organic, gluten-free capitols of the US, where even your broccoli has a holistic nutritionist on its speed dial. My average lunch is a salad with more veggies than those p-patch community gardens that hippies buy into. I know “good food goes bad” sounds like a reality TV special, but it’s true.

Our local Whole Foods-type store has caught the gist and is finally selling individual sticks of celery for $.17 cents a piece, so that folks flying solo can make a damn tuna sandwich without having to buy a wad of fibrous greenery, then throw out the best looking celery stick’s five ugly stepsisters.

celery

There are also fresh salad bars, sushi bars, and loose-leaf lettuce bins (and by-the-ounce grains that I veer away from because they require an actual pot). This way I can buy exactly what I want and have it fresh every day. I’m not afraid of commitment, but eating the same salad for six meals in a row in an effort to beat the wilting lettuce is a bit much.

In addition, cooking your own food is like making your own clothes. Why bother when you can pay someone else to do it? Other things that fall into this category, depending on who you are:

college students: doing your own homework
yuppies: cleaning your own bathroom
1% ers: cleaning your own indoor swimming pool
seniors: clipping your own toenails
cats: clipping your own toenails (actually, they don’t even pay)

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In fact, in a world where we can push a button to wash our clothes, wash our dishes, start our minivans, and blow up the planet, it’s all I can muster to use a different set of tongs for each item in the salad buffet. However, I am not an animal. But don’t expect me to get a different plastic container for that square of feta and four olives I’m putting on my salad, just because they’re $8.99 a pound instead of $7.99. It’s not that I’m cheap, I’m just lazy and — as a liberal Seattleite — trying to save the planet.

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