Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Upside down bottles and a quarter inch of salsa

The men in my family are doing their level best to fight global warming by never producing any garbage. In plain American English, this means THEY NEVER THROW ANYTHING OUT! The Carson Law of Matter states that, “Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but it can be stored.

My husband, God love ’im, is always determined to get his money’s worth from shampoo bottles, hand lotions, ketchup bottles, salad dressings and mustards, etc. So if you were to come to my house and look in my refrigerator on any given day, you would likely find at least three bottles of condiments upside down in the door of the fridge. They have to be kept in the door because they are too skinny headed to stand upside down on a regular shelf. Sometimes, when the door gets pulled open a little too quickly and one of these bottles will throw themselves out of their perch, landing right side up and shaking all the good stuff back down to the bottom. This wouldn’t be such a bad deal, if they ever actually got pulled out of there and used up down to the last expensive drop, but somehow, it’s too much trouble to deal with squeezing that final taste out of the bottle and a new one gets opened while the old one continues its upside down vigil in the door of the fridge.
The upside down shampoo bottle in the shower is always leaping from its station and bouncing around in the shower stall. Usually this happens during my shower, right after I’ve poured a portion of my shampoo onto my hand, so I have to chase the bouncing near-empty bottle around with one hand, while trying to avoid letting the water hit my other hand and wash away my shampoo.

My son likes to try new salsas; different brands, new flavors, varying levels of fire and so on. So he brings home a new jar about once a week. Somehow this jar gets used up down to the final quarter inch and then it is abandoned, ousted by the new flavor of the week.

Well about a week ago I decided to make it my mission to force them to use up the last of the upside down condiments. I found no fewer than 8 jars of salsa with one quarter inch left in it. This was going to call for more than a batch of taco meat and a can of refrieds. I made large salads and I took every upside down bottle of dressing and put it on the table, inside a glass so it wouldn’t tip over. I boiled some macaroni. I stirred some taco meat and cheese into the macaroni and started pouring in the salsas. Added a little sour cream just for good measure and put it in a hot oven to warm it all up. I might have thrown in some shampoo and hand lotion, but I wasn’t alone in the kitchen. I held no hope whatsoever that it was going to be very tasty, but there was suddenly a lot more room the fridge, so it was going to be worth it, even if the casserole ended up in the garbage.

I nearly fell out of my chair when my son said, “That’s the best casserole I’ve ever tasted!”

Go figger.


Cliff said...

Yer my kinda girl Janell. Every so often I get on a kick and start clearing. My usual 'empty bottle' rule moves about to the 1/4 line. If it's a little bit left I toss it.
When the kids were home I'd do it and it would usually get a response like, "wow, what happened to all of the food in the fridge?"
Maybe you could write a cook book entitled "Cook It or Dump It"

Paul said...

Sounds like my kinda casserole. That's sorta how I make hamburger soup.

Janell said...

"Cook it or Dump it" - you're a genius, Cliff!

Paul; Yes, in the anals of the history of hamburger soup, the only unshakable rule is; "Anything Goes."

Brooke said...

I love cleaning out the fridge and putting things together. My favorite on has been. I took some hamburger, hashbrowns, cheese, and made some garlic butter. Cooked it all up and put it together. Topped it with some mushrooms and tomatoes. It was so good.

Mary Connealy said...

AS long as you didn't use any green fuzzy salsa, I guess it's okay.
In my fridge, it couldn't have been avoided.

Sue said...

Mom used to put a little water in the catsup bottle when it got down to the end. Didn't make very good catsup.

Flip Flop Momma said...

well im glad it tasted good anyway.

only things I keep till the very end is ketchup..but I have at least 10 bottles in the pantry 4 when one runs dry, I put ketchup on everything..

and I only by Heinz..


U shoulda took a pic..i wanna see this caserole;)

Jamie Dawn said...

I can relate to the part about the new thing being opened before the old one is used up. This expecially bugs me when it involves milk because milk is expensive and quickly expires. I keep a watch to make sure that all the milk is drank before the new gallon is opened. When someone breaks the rule, I have to beat the living daylights outta them which usually helps them remember to not do that again, at least for awhile.
8 partially-used salsa jars????!!!
That's gotta be a record!!!!

Ralph said...

That line about teh best casserole ever made me bust out laughing.
I'm more of the "there's not enough left to do anything with" type. Towards the end of the bottle or jar if there is not enough to do anything with I pitch it. This is usually followed by Char saying, "Don't we have any more. . . "

Janell said...

Booke, Nelli is so proud of your casserole! I’ll bet it was delish.

Mary; No, I checked everything for fuzz, although one of them was green. I think it was green when we got it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sue; I remember the watery ketchup. Randy nearly gagged the first time I tried that trick as a newly wed. Haven’t done it since. The squuze bottles are a little easier to empty than those old glass ones were.

Flip Flop; Heinz is my fave, too. And I HATE running out of ketchup! I’ll be sure and get a pic if I ever do this casserole again.

JD; I agree; a vicious flogging usually helps people keep things on the sticky side of their minds. And just for the record, I’m keeping count from now on so we keep the quarter-inch salsa jars down to 4 at a time.

Ralph, you’re a man after my own heart. The answer to Char’s question might be, “We don’t have any here, but they have a lot more at the store.”

Jim said...

Good ideas here, Janell.
I combine the remnants of salad dressings into one bottle. Mrs. Jim never notices it.
But she makes up for it, almost everything else she throws out way too soon.

Janell said...

Jim - I like the idea of the salad dressings mix. I think I'll try that.

Joe B said...

I did that once, but I didnt use condiments. I was clearing out the liquor cabinet. What a blast!

Glad it worked out for you!!

nora said...

We need you at Second Helpings! We prepare 2900 meals every day, all with rescued food. We don't use recipes. Lots of casseroles.

Janell said...

Joe, that sounds like a great party, but salsa comes without a headache the next morning!

Nora; thanks for the link. That's a very impressive organization. If I lived closer, I'd sure get involved.

LaDawn said...

Can I come round for dinner?