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A Fear of Wasting Food

July 26, 2010

It is week #3 of Maya’s vacation and right now my definition of success is getting through the day. 

I aim high.

My hair is a scarier mess than it normally is, I am almost hoarse from saying, “That’s it!  One more time and I’m sending you to your room,” and if I have to throw one more empty string cheese wrapper in the trash you may just see me on the evening news. 

“Los Angeles Mom Allegedly Throws Herself Over the Balcony After String Cheese Mishap.  Story at 11.” 

Why is she incapable of throwing a little piece of plastic in the trash? Why?

But there I go again being a Negative Nelly.  So instead of complaining further I will share one of the few benefits of Maya staying home…our fridge is actually full for a change since we have nothing better to do than hit Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods almost daily.  We even visited our local Smart & Final today.  The excitement today was nearly unbearable.  

Our full fridge/freezer is a blessing because I finally have things to feed my eating machine Maya, but it also throws me into a bit of a panic because I have this crazy fear of wasting food!  (Incidentally I checked and could not find a phobia related to wasting food.  I am disappointed.) 

Anyway, after a frozen waffle fell on my foot this morning I felt compelled to send Ali off to work with a big bag full of cupcakes, Godiva Chocolate Bar Cake, assorted candy, and ice cream.  Luckily his co-workers are also eating machines so I’m sure everything was consumed before 10am.

Something I didn’t send Ali off to work with though were the gluten-free brownies my surgeon friend brought over for me this past weekend.  Because you know, in between doing surgeries and taking care of her 2 kids, she had all the free time in the world to whip these up from scratch.

Along with neglecting my own hair, I've been neglecting my daughter's hair. And it shows.

These brownies are so rich and delicious that I would have had no idea they were gluten-free had my friend not told me so.  I popped the few that Maya and Ali didn’t get their hands on into the depths of the freezer and since neither my husband nor my child can find their hand in front of their face, I’m not too concerned they’ll locate the brownies in their unmarked foil.  In case you are interested, and trust me when I say you should be, you can find the recipe on the Gluten-Free Goddess’ blog.  

Ali supposedly had another “work dinner” tonight so it’s just me and Maya.  Again.  I have a feeling I’ll be digging into my freezer soon to self-medicate.

On the bright side, at least I am not pharmacophobic.

59 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2010 11:23 pm

    I’m actually surprised that there is no phobia related to food wasting. Thanks for that site by the way. This is another great resource for me to use when I run out of names to call the hubby 😉

    I gotta try making your Godiva Chocolate Bar Cake someday. It looks so rich and chocolatey and sounds divine :-P. As do those brownies your friend brought over.

  2. July 27, 2010 3:25 am

    I seriously felt like I was reading a detailed description of my day!

    We to TJ’s, Whole Foods, and Target almost daily… I’ll do anything to keep her entertained.

  3. July 27, 2010 3:29 am

    You are hilarious – and not only do kids not throw things away, but FH is also on that list… oh, and he likes to leave dirty socks on the kitchen table. And you thought YOU had it bad 🙂

    I am really surprised there isn’t a phobia related to food!!

  4. July 27, 2010 3:35 am

    It makes me crazy when people leave tiny bits of something out, or dirty dishes right NEXT TO, but not IN the dishwasher. it makes me wonder how difficult it is to take the five extra seconds to either toss the trash in the trach can or open the dishwasher and load the dirty dish? Hmm… 😉
    And I’m surprised there’s no food-wasting phobia listed, too! It’s one of my peeves, as well. And I’m glad you were delivered some delicious brownies to help you through your day – hope today goes better for you!

  5. July 27, 2010 3:59 am

    You didn’t know? The trash can only opens for the woman of the house. Similarly, the laundry basket is invisible to men. I’m starting to think our closet is invisible as well since clothes end up on the floor near it, but never in it. Hm.

  6. July 27, 2010 4:11 am

    i have a fear of wasting food too. sometimes i even think about eating overripe fruit (which to me tastes awful) just because they might get thrown out haha! i have no idea why i’m like that but i try to just go with it

  7. July 27, 2010 4:21 am

    On the bright side, I love your apartment and the view! maya looks good with messy hair. Those string cheese wrappers would bug the crap outta me too!!

  8. July 27, 2010 4:32 am

    Ugh. I would hate having to be at home all day and then not having any sort of break at night.

    Those desserts sound really good. And yea, they probably disappeared within minutes.

  9. July 27, 2010 4:34 am

    I had no idea there was a fear related to taking medicine… and is it weird that I think I have that? I won’t even take Tylenol if I ever have a headache… and speaking of headaches…

    My parents drive me insane when they leave wrappers/plates around the house. Sometimes it’s literally like a foot from the trash, and I don’t understand what’s so hard about just throwing it into the trash instead of leaving it on the counter? And when I mention anything, they just tell me to stop complaining (!!??). And I really dislike wasting food as well, which means I’m pretty uncomfortable all the time because my parents seem to like to stock up the fridge as if we were preparing for some imminent disaster… and the worst is when the buy more of something we already have, because they didn’t look in the fridge first. Oh, my poor nerves…

  10. July 27, 2010 4:39 am

    Um… my husband is the one who leaves the string cheese wrappers laying around. And he’d probably watch Dora freely w/ Maya all the live long day. Just sayin.

    I’m going to spend hours on that website about phobias now. Thanks for the distraction 😉

  11. July 27, 2010 4:52 am

    Yum! Those brownies sound great.

    I have a major fear of wasting food…I hate it. Any time we go on a trip, I’m always shoving food on our neighbors.

  12. July 27, 2010 4:52 am

    I’ve got a SERIOUS brownie craving now!! I’ll have to check that recipe out!! 🙂

  13. July 27, 2010 5:18 am

    I don’t fear wasting food but those brownies ssound great!

  14. July 27, 2010 5:47 am

    Visiting grocery stores, particularly ones with free samples, is one of my favorite past times. So is eating brownies. Plus, kids love me (likely because I look like I’m 10 years old). Once again, bummer we don’t live closer so we can’t hang out.

  15. July 27, 2010 5:55 am

    So glad I’m not alone in my fear of food wasting. Trying to figure out what to do with a full fridge has literally kept me up at night! Such tragedies, huh? 😉 Hope you enjoyed your dinner with Maya!

  16. Michelle permalink
    July 27, 2010 6:26 am

    She’s very young though. Don’t worry too much about the wrapper. The 10 year old I nanny for won’t get his own napkin or glass of water. I have to make his snacks of cheese and crackers AKA pull out the string cheese then grab 5 crackers and put it on a plate.

  17. July 27, 2010 6:46 am

    moldonfoodaphobia…. I have it too.

    also, I think I am a pharmacophobic also. I DETEST even taking vitamins regularly. The only pills I ever managed to consume with feverish pasion in my life were, of course, diet ones.

    and they wreaked havok on my liver. DUH.

    Maya’s hair is gorgeous, as is yours I am sure!
    in my house throwing away trash is “fun” for JJ so at the moment I can hand him anything and he’ll go chuck it. my husband warned me that THAT may not be such a good idea, because he might start chucking arbitrary things away…like our phone charger, my hair clips and so on. of course (dangit) he was right and I have to keep careful WATCH on him.

    I am off to check out those gluten free brownies. I don’t have gluten issues but I think it’s a great idea to give your system a break once in a while.

    Thanks for the smiles, as always. And Maya is getting TALL it seems to me since I first found your blog!

  18. July 27, 2010 7:05 am

    You know what is so interesting about this post? I can defintely relate to the fear of food wastage. When things look like they are starting to turn, I am blanching and freezing like a madwoman and you can bet your bottom dollar that we are having soup or stir fry for dinner! I did some research last year that involved photo-elicited ethnographic interviews and all but one of my interviewees, when asked about “food anxieties” expressed some anxiety related to healthy eating. The sole outlier told me that she felt really nervous about the prospect of letting food go to waste. I thought it was so interesting that she interpreted the question so differently. We are doing a follow-up study this year, but it seems that us food-wasting-phobics are still in the minority.
    Those brownies looks amazing!!

  19. July 27, 2010 7:29 am

    Is that your house? You live in a high rise? That is awesome!

    • July 27, 2010 1:16 pm

      Yes this balcony unfortunately belongs to us…I’d prefer it if Maya defaced someone else’s property. 🙂

  20. Leah @ Why Deprive? permalink
    July 27, 2010 8:23 am

    I used to hide food on my brother if I wanted to get any for myself. I dont like to share 🙂 Im glad Im not the only one that does it.

    Also, now you can pretty much guarantee I’m going to spend my day reading about all the different phobias.

  21. July 27, 2010 8:59 am

    I also hide some of my favorite eats from Ryan…he knows not to go anywhere near my “special spot” in the pantry. I too have a fear of wasting food, and I will eat fruit and vegetables that probably are way past their prime if it means they don’t end up in our trash.

  22. louisianagrown permalink
    July 27, 2010 1:15 pm

    Why do I feel like MY mom could write a post exactly like this about me? Except I’m 20 years old and have zero excuses…

  23. July 27, 2010 1:23 pm

    Uh-oh what’s the deal with the “work dinner”?!!

    Interesting timing on your post with groceries and mine hah!

    …I read on another blog your from Canada?! What? where? And how did you get lucky enough to get to L.A??

  24. July 27, 2010 1:56 pm

    The brownies sound divine! Being able to hide them in the freezer is definitely a perk! 🙂

  25. July 27, 2010 2:26 pm

    I hate wasting food as well and have been trying to freeze more things!

  26. actorsdiet permalink
    July 27, 2010 2:35 pm

    ameena, i have the same exact phobia and have been coming to terms with it recently. witness, the many many incarnations of thai takeout that have existed on my food blog (with no end in sight)

  27. July 27, 2010 3:05 pm

    omg high five for this post! growing up with my brothers was rediculous. everytime they ate ANYTHING.. the wrapper stayed on the mom would yell, talk with them, beg, anything, but it never worked. they couldnt throw their dirty laundry or towels down the laundry shoot either! its so damn simple! haha. my dad is no better.. im the only one that turned out normal i think 😉 … seriously, its just wired in some childrens brains and unfortunately its highly likely she may never grow out of it! solution? only unpackaged foods for her until she learns haha 🙂


  28. July 27, 2010 4:55 pm

    I need to check out that phobialist. I’m pretty sure there are a few on there that I don’t even know I have.

    I love having a stocked fridge! And I want some gluten-free brownies of heaven!

  29. July 27, 2010 5:12 pm

    I love your 11 oclock news caption.

    I also have a phobia of wasting food – it def should be a real phobia.

  30. July 27, 2010 5:24 pm

    You always make me laugh, even when I’m in the worst mood. About the string cheese wrapper situation, just remember it could be worse! I know someone who has the messiest child I have ever met…honestly, you can barely walk in their house because the kid leaves things all over the place.

    I have a food wasting phobia too! I thought I was the only one. It isn’t strictly a fear of wasting the food, although that is part of it, but I also hate when food goes bad. I can’t stand having rotting food around. Every time I’m at my mother’s or my sister’s house, I go crazy because they are “overshoppers”. They buy way too much food and they end up with rotting produce and mouldy yogurt. It drives me nuts…and it is also so gross. They don’t even throw it out, they just leave it there and forget about it for weeks. I’m just happy I don’t have to live with them anymore.

  31. July 27, 2010 5:44 pm

    We could name “fear of wasting food” ourselves – give me a few beers and I’ll be rolling out excellent suggestions. I’ll work on that and get back to you.

    • July 27, 2010 5:45 pm

      And I, right now, have a crate of summer squash sitting out by the side of the road with a “free” sign on it, trying to offload the stuff before it goes bad. The neighbors see me coming with it and lock their doors.

  32. July 27, 2010 6:38 pm

    Oh that is too funny! It made me lol that you too are hitting trader Joe’s and whole foods everyday – I’m hitting the farmer’s market…same difference 🙂

    I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel…school’s around the corner…hurrah for parents everytwhere!!!!

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  33. July 27, 2010 8:32 pm

    HA! I recognize the view from the window!
    O boy I totally have a hard time throwing away food. I threw away a daikon I bough last week and forgot about it. My mom used to hide ice creams and chocolate bars from my dad and I. Strange places too! Once I saw a caldbury fruit and nut bar in the hamper!

  34. July 27, 2010 10:39 pm

    Ugh feel ya with that little trash being on the counter top instead in the trash can. Not sure if I should feel a bit better taking care a sick grown up? Btw the view from your condo is gorgeous! And I totally agree with you about not wasting food.

  35. July 28, 2010 4:47 am

    Hey Ameena, your’e funny! It’s easy to be overwhelmed and therefore a bit ‘sarcastic’. I don’t like the word negative, b/c it’s used too much. Sometimes realistic people are called negative when they just see life through honest eyes rather than positivity filters.

    Plus, you just sound overwhelmed. Babies can do that to people. Wish I lived closer. I would take Maya to the park so you could sleep or something. I never get to be around kids anymore, so it would be a pleasure-not that you’d trust some weird witch to run off with your kid (smile).

    • July 29, 2010 7:03 am

      Stella – thank you for noting the difference between sarcasm and negativity! I think most people take my sarcasm as complaining and thus my disclaimer about not wanting to be Negative Nelly. 🙂

      I am not nearly as overwhelmed by Maya as I used to be, so you can imagine what a state I was in when she was younger!

      Take care,


  36. July 28, 2010 5:32 am

    I also have a problem with throwing food out. And my sister is the same! She always leaves cheese wrappers lying around! Argh!!

  37. July 28, 2010 7:13 am

    Your daughter’s bad hair day looks better than mine on a good hair day 😉

  38. July 28, 2010 2:55 pm

    I definitely have a phobia of wasting food! I never want to buy too much at the grocery store in case we don’t get to it in time. So that means I have to go to the store just about every day because, you know, I didn’t know if we would need one or two zucchini. So like an idiot, I only got one. And of course, we ended up needing 5 by the end of the week.

  39. July 28, 2010 3:19 pm

    My hair looks like Maya’s does now…every day. I pretend to be an adult, but I actually really am not, since clearly I don’t know how to wield a hairbrush, blow dryer, or hairspray. 🙂

  40. July 28, 2010 4:31 pm


    SO I know Azmina recently posted about the food-wasting phobia too (her yogurt post) and it also got jumping up and down in agreement. Of course, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that I too suffer (I don’t think suffer is the right word though. I mean, it’s not ALL bad.) from the same fear. That’s why there’s stuff like lemon basil poppyseed loaves popping up on my site. And granola recipes made with avocado. And beet green stems tossed into apple rhubarb pie. (I mean, they’re red like rhubarb, right?)

    In end though, I think that “suffering” from such a phobia is really a blessing, because it basically acts as an ultimatum to be culinarily creative. 🙂

    xoxo Aletheia

  41. July 28, 2010 5:22 pm

    Hehe I can reallly relate to the school hiatus chaos. Back to 5 minute showers and who has time for hair? Time for a long museum visit!

  42. July 28, 2010 5:53 pm

    I’m the SAME way!!! I panic when my fridge gets empty, and panic when it gets full because I don’t wanna waste a scrape of food. That’s why I love my spatula the most…it gets every nook and cranny out of the bowl! 😀

  43. July 28, 2010 7:15 pm

    I cannot waste food, be it on my plate or in a frying pan or in the food processor. I love to scrape the last bit.

    The posts feels kinda incomplete without Maya. Now that she is back the excitement sure is back again 🙂

    PS: You are my all time favorite blogger 🙂

  44. July 31, 2010 7:01 pm

    There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with your wastingfoodaphobia! My husband jokes about my (slightly obsessive) propensity for refactoring leftovers in tupperware… which consists of me sorting and resorting food in the appropriate containers until every last bit is done. They should thank us 😉

  45. drink@h20 permalink
    February 22, 2011 7:07 am

    we have a snow day today so my son and daughter and I are all home together. Within 15 minutes of being awake I have ranted about the empty milk jug put back in the fridge, the empty box of cereal put back in the cereal cabinet and the empty pop tart wrapper left in the cabinet. So much so that my daughter immediately requested to spend the day at her father’s house………………i drove her over there and on the way home thought about what I must sound like for her to want to go to her father’s, I mean he vacuums behind them as they walk up the stairs…….I too have tried bribing, yelling, screaming, crying, contribution charts, etc etc it does not change that trash does not make it to the trash can unless its in my hand….my whole point, your headline was exactly what I was thinking and/or wondering can a person go literally insane from this situation? I believe I have reached that point.

    • February 23, 2011 2:17 pm

      As much as I hate Los Angeles I must say that the fact “Snow Days” are not an issue for us is a big plus about living here. I wish I could say something to make you feel better but at least you aren’t the only one in this predicament my friend! Thanks for the comment – it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who might just lose it over an empty milk jug. 😦

  46. drink@h20 permalink
    February 22, 2011 7:15 am

    hey, forgot to add my 2 cents about the whole wasting food thing though. Where I live, I cannot shop everyday it’s simply too far so, I get pretty creative with my menu and not much goes to waste. Maybe, and it would be difficult with a Trader Joe’s nearby, don’t go shopping everyday at 3 different stores…………take baby steps at first, go every other day the first week, then every 3rd day, wean yourself slowly, good luck!

  47. July 25, 2013 3:10 pm

    I totally have a fear of throwing away food. Usually, the freezer is my holding cell for food that really should be tossed. It’s much easier now that I don’t eat processed foods much if at all. If it’s processed, it’s trashed. Now I’m having to deal with veggie scraps. Sigh.

    • July 26, 2013 12:49 am

      I totally agree that eating no processed foods definitely helps keep my fridge contents under control. But then again, organic things go bad so much more quickly….


  1. Phobias «
  2. Juggling stuff around «
  3. The Banana Debacle « Fancy That…Fancy This
  4. cookies « Fancy That…Fancy This
  5. another incident involving a sandwich « Fancy That…Fancy This
  6. throwing clothes away « Fancy That…Fancy This
  7. i’ve learned nothing | Fancy That...Fancy This

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