Here is an important life lesson: the fact that you can do something doesn’t mean you should.
During my late lamented job doing press work for a Congressional campaign, I developed the habit of coming home from work, sleeping from about 4:00-6:00 in the afternoon, and then working into the night. To amuse myself on nights when I ran out of work before sleep came, I sometimes watched the home shopping channels – HSN and QVC. What could compare, after hours of slogging through campaign contribution reports, to watching folks who appeared to be jacked up to the point of ecstasy by the imminent appearance of The Slanket?! I have seen folks taking amphetamines who couldn’t compete with the energy of a home shopping host flogging vanilla scented electric candles at 2:00 in the morning.
But I digress. One night while I was trying to wind down, Debbie Myers’ Green Boxes appeared on HSN. Subdued by horror, I watched as Debbie herself extolled the virtues of these magical boxes (which look very much like green Tupperware) which could extend the life of bread crackers, fruits and vegetables for periods of time similar to the half-life of plutonium. Strawberries looked remarkably lifelike after weeks in a green box! The half a cabbage you didn’t need for your soup could last a month!
I am all about thrift in the kitchen, but I have to say that the notion of buying out-of-season strawberries bred for travel and not for flavor and trucked in from a warmer state, then embalming them in a Green Box for another few weeks left me completely cold. I struggle with eating fresh and local, particularly at this time of year when there is nothing growing here besides the odd turnip or squash, but I do try to buy organic produce and to consume it as quickly as possible. If I were to be struck on the head and lose my reason sufficiently that I was buying asparagus or strawberries in Michigan in November, you can be damned sure that I would not leave them languishing in a plastic container for long periods of time.
You can hit me with your best shot; make me an argument in favor of mummifying ones Saltines and salad greens, but I’m not likely to budge. We are already a society that buys bags of pre-torn lettuce and pre-cut stir-fry vegetables, chopped garlic in oil and jars of segmented fruit. Are we now meant to believe that when we actually buy fresh-ish, whole produce that we should hoard it until we feel compelled to eat it? Maybe, just maybe you could convince me that a small Green Box would come in handy for sending sliced apple in a school lunch, but wait…that’s why God made lemons! Fruits and vegetables were meant to rot and oxidize, and we were meant to consume them before such time as they did. Geez.