Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I Confess!

I'm a food hoarder.  Ok, there it is.  In writing on the internet.  I can't hide it anymore.  I've decided to stop trying to ignore it or recover from it.  I'm now embracing it.

My hoarding impulses started early.  I always helped my mom with the grocery shopping.  I liked to put away the groceries.  She kept a tidy, complete larder with cans neatly stacked in the cupboards.  Everything in it's place and always at least one back up for everything.  Not just one box of detergent...two so that you'd never run out.  And if things were on sale, we bought them.  She wasn't a hoarder, just frugal and organized.  But she introduced me to the pleasure of having all the food you could possibly need.  Full fridge.  Full freezer and full cupboards.

Then I met wholesale clubs.  They reached deep into my psyche and pulled me toward them.  It's not the free samples, it's the sheer volume of the stores and giant packages of stuff.  It's the inner bliss of knowing that I am buying enough toilet paper to last into another decade.  Enough chocolate chips to cause diabetes in a small village.  And let's not even go into the cheese.  I must confess, even as I was buying a round of Brie meant to feed a large cocktail crowd, I knew it was just for me, me, me.  I did some amazing mental gymnastics as I rolled the ten pounds of cheddar down the aisle to justify purchasing that much cheese for one person.  And three ripe pineapples.  I could buy just one at Publix but it was so much cheaper to buy three.  And more importantly, carrying those three pineapples, destined to begin rotting in a day or two, made me irrationally happy.

Living overseas has taken my hoarding to a whole new level.  In Samoa, there were many food items I couldn't get on my island.  When I went to the capital city, I stocked up.  Canned tomatoes, cheese, corn chips.  I had the luxury of two cabinets in my kitchen in Faga.  One cabinet was for regular food.  The other was for hoarding.  Boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese that my friends (AKA enablers)  and the goodies brought back from Apia went into the "special" cabinet.  Every time I opened it and saw the rare goodness stocked there it made me smile.

I believe that the store owners in Myanmar are secretly controlling me.  It's a form of mind control.  There used to be three grocery stores.  Not many in a city of over a million people, many of whom are multi-millionaires.  If Ocean didn't have olives, no worry - City Mart did.  Or vice versa.

But City Mart closed.  There are rumors that it will reopen, closer to the school.  Please let that be true.  But in the meantime, Ocean controls me.  There used to be bacon.  Then it disappeared for a couple of months.  Then it was back.  I bought a package.  A week later I noticed bacon is gone again.  Next time I see it, I'm buying three packages.

Same thing with baking powder and baking soda.  And olives.  And canned tomatoes.  I live in a small apartment.  But it has very high ceilings.  I'm thinking of building a kitchen loft.  A perfect storage place for all my food.

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