Every Little Bit

So much for my blogging hiatus; I was going to take a week off from writing (really, Kim, I WAS!) but I've GOT to normalize this behavior. Please tell me that I am NOT the only one who might find this on her kitchen counter in the morning - a bottle of canola oil inverted so as not to waste A.N.Y. before it’s rinsed out and thrown into the recycle bin. Waste not, want not, right? Good to the last dorp, really? Turns out I forgot that I put it there in the madness of trying to get dinner on the table last night –  making fried okra is so tricky because you have such a small time frame in which to get it battered, fried, and served while its still hot and actually get to sit with the family while they enjoy it. So there it is this morning, wedged between a bag of white trash from my sister-in-law on the left (Yum, Yum!) and a loaf of white bread (I know, I know, wheat bread is SO much healthier!) on the right, staring at me as if to ask, "now what?" I guess that last night I figured I’d try to use every last drop, but this morning I find it kind of funny to have saved, what, a half of a teaspoon of oil? 

That makes me wonder: What is it that makes me want to get every last bit? It’s not like we can’t afford to throw that last morsel away. It’s not like resources are scarce and there’s not any more where that came from.  And it’s not like I couldn’t get that okra fried without that last little drop. I keep going back to the pictures in my head of my mom with her spatula, scraping the bowl clean just ONCE I wanted to be able to lick the extra whipping cream out of the bowl! but can modeling really be that potent, that forty years later I’m doing exactly what I saw mom do when I was ten? I’m all for conserving our resources but this inverted oil bottle example seems a little extreme to me somehow. 

So what's my next move? I don’t have any recipes that call for that little bit of oil and I don’t have a new bottle of oil to pour it into. And what, if anything, does this have to do with the big picture and what's cookin' in my daily life? Is there anything else that I need to make sure not to waste, to use every little bit of, as we head into 2012? Oh, how I love a good metaphor!


  1. Good Morning!

    As I was reading this, I was thinking, "It has to do with how you grew up..." And then you made that same point. Yes, the modeling IS that potent, but I think my mom's/grandma's behaviors really DID come from need and scarcity in the 30's and 40's.

    My mom would have done EXACTLY the same thing. And now I end up with similar challenges (I rarely transfer--or use up--the last bit of ketchup without making a BIGGER mess!).

    Maybe by not wasting "stuff," we aren't wasting memories either. I can hear my mom saying, "If you added up all the..." as she admonished against wasting even a little, so that later we could save... a little... for something extra.

    If that bottle were in my kitchen, I'd make a point to remember my mom when I did use it.

    Thanks for putting some sweet memories in my head....

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. So what you're saying, Kim, is that I'm not crazy, right? Phew! Thanks. OK, so I'm going to use it in this morning's pancakes and think about my mom and her mom before that. Oh, and you're right about the ketchup - what a mess! We won't even TALK about bottles of honey, syrup or caramel!

  3. I was watching this show last night about people who do *just* what you are writing about, though to the major extreme. (He would add apple cider vinegar to a jar of almost empty jelly and make salad dressing) Like you and Kim pointed out, it is a product of your upbringing.

    My mom, on the otherhand, always had an extra bottle of ketchup or oil or so we never did the "get the last drop out". In fact, now, if I need a little something that I forgot at the store, I just go to her house, as I know she will have extra. Unfortunately that stockpiling didn't extend to me. I only have exactly the amount I need. :/

    Well, that was a long ramble. Have a great day!
    Teaching in Room 6

  4. it is definitely something we grew up with. My mom re used ziploc bags by washing them out. Now I do it too :)

  5. I love this post, and I have to "ditto" exactly what Kim said. Oh, the memories. And as I get "older" I cherish them so. As I read the post I was thinking about my great-grandmother who taught me to get every last bit of that cake batter out of the bowl. I made a cake yesterday and while the oil bottle wasn't quite empty and didn't need to be propped up on my counter between a bag of my sister's fudge (!) and a partial package of....wait for it, yes, white bread (!), I did measure out 1/3 cup and stood over the mixing bowl for an extra minute at least giving it time to completely drip out of the measuring cup...Then I know it took me at least 2 1/2 minutes to scrape every drop of batter out of the bowl all the while with visions of Lizzie (great-grandmother) dancing in my head. Thanks for the connection and cheers, to "memories!" Lisa in Williamsburg


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