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Going Bananas

I love a bountiful kitchen…just not right before I travel.

This may sound crazy, but I swear, my least favorite part of traveling is calibrating the amount of food I have in the house before I leave.

Err too far on the side of caution, and I’m scrounging for crackers in the back of the cupboard for my final meals. Err too far in the other direction, and perfectly good (but sure-to-spoil) food has to go in the trash, or maybe the freezer, where it may or may not retain its edibleness. I hate wasting food, and I also like to eat good food when I can, so treading that line between Too Much and Not Enough is a delicate dance.

Discovering that milk can be frozen was a game changer for me (alas, cream does not do so well below zero). But even there I have mixed results. Once I returned from an overseas trip, so pleased to remember that I would have milk for my cereal in the morning, and I put the frozen container on the kitchen counter to defrost just a bit – and then, in my jetlagged state, I promptly forgot about it. By the time I found it again the next morning, it had passed from defrosted to spoiled, and I had to pour it all down the drain. I didn’t exactly cry over that milk, but I did kick myself for it.

I’m not very good at judging volumes – I’m never sure if everything is going to fit in my suitcase until it’s zipped shut – and apparently I’m only slightly better at judging how long a refrigerator full of food is going to last me. As I write this, I’m three days away from a short trip, and I just spent several minutes staring at my chicken casserole wondering if it would last me three more dinners. Really, I have no idea. If not, I guess there’s always peanut butter.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go count my bananas.

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