Thursday, April 10, 2008

Storing Food the Old Fashioned Way

I went to the antique warehouse yesterday morning, and I was the only customer there. I headed straight to the Pyrex room-- the unheated part of the building, way, way in the back (creepy!)-- and it was so cold that I was shivering before I left. This building is crammed full of antiques and junk. Some if it is very nice. A lot of it isn't. But there are treasures to be found if you look! There were three big shelves full of the kind of thing I wanted to sort through. I wanted covered casseroles and refrigerator dishes, all with stackable flat lids to use for storing leftovers. I was hoping to find a range of container shapes and sizes in near-perfect or perfect condition. And I did.

(These are not my dishes, but I like them!)

I bought a 3-piece casserole set that makes a tier if you stack it. It looks to be from the 70's, with the smaller and larger dish colored bright deep yellow and the middle dish a vivid orange. On the clear glass lids are painted yellow sunflowers. When I came home, I cleaned it up (it looks like it's brand new) and set it out and Melissa exclaimed, "I want that!" It is really cheery. (But what is something from the 1970's doing in an antique warehouse? That's when I was a teenager!)

I also bought three turquoise casseroles that were supposedly made anywhere from the late 1950's to the 1960s. Two of them are ringed with a white pattern made up of an Amish couple with farm tools, a rooster, and wheat. And I bought two really small capacity storage dishes in the same pattern, but these are blue on white

I also bought a nice pink rectangular refrigerator storage dish with white flowers on it. This style was said to have been produced in the 1950's. And I bought a small (1qt?) casserole with a flat lid-- white with pink flowers. I think it's called the gooseberry pattern. I've already gathered that this one is very popular with collectors.
(Not mine, either, but I have one like the top casserole.)

I've already put these dishes to good use. Our leftover soup was poured into one of the turquoise dishes last night, and I couldn't help but smile at it every time I opened the refrigerator door. (I'm very easily amused.) And before bed, when I put my oatmeal on the counter to soak overnight, one of the turquoise dishes was just the right size for holding this. I stirred the oats, water, and yogurt together, and covered the container with its glass lid. This morning, I poured the oats into a pan to cook them, and after I finished my breakfast, I put the extra oatmeal in one of these containers, covered it, and put it in the fridge, stacking it, of course, on top of the container with the soup.

Doing this is a bit of an investment (not that I've spent that much money, really), and it truly is an investment because it matters to me to use less plastic and aluminum, both for health and environmental reasons. It should save money in the long run, too. (What do you think you spend each month or year on plastic cling wrap and aluminum foil and boxes of ziplock bags?) And anyway, orderly, attractive stacks of these dishes look a whole lot cooler in the fridge than food crammed chaotically around in ugly ziplock bags or in bowls covered with foil or plastic.