This past summer, our family of four, my parents-in-law, and my brother-in-law’s family of three rented a vintage cottage on the shores of Lake Huron. I fell in love with cottage’s massive stone fireplace, large awning windows and beautiful pine floors. The kitchen was tiny, but the seafoam green formica countertops won me over until I noticed the tiny, ancient refrigerator. Now, our fridge at home is small because our 1950s doorways limited the size we could fit in the house, but this fridge was wee. We all stared at the tiny fridge wondering how it could possibly handle food for nine for a week, but then we were distracted by the beautiful lake and promptly headed for the beach.
The world screams bigger is better. We see it everywhere. Bigger houses, vehicles, appliances, and meals, but with all this BIG comes more electricity, more emissions, and more waste. Steph and I are more good-things-come-in-small-packages kind of people. We are thinking long and hard about if, what and where we buy and what impact the making and use of that item has on the world. This has completely eliminated impulse buying and makes us way smarter consumers, but that night as I opened the tiny fridge’s tiny freezer to grab some ice I questioned our good-things-come-in-small-packages theory.
I dislike cooking, but fortunately my brother and sister-in-law love it. They were our chefs the week, and the rest of us were the grocery shoppers and clean-up crew. We did one major grocery shop at the beginning of the week and then visited the farmer’s market to grab fresh local produce when needed. The key to all this was meal planning. My meal planning usually involves sticking my head in the fridge at 5pm and figuring out what I can make with a pound of bacon, a bag of carrots and jar of green olives.
Inspired by my brother and sister-in law, we are going to put more thought into planning our meals and when we shop for food. We are going to visit the farmer’s market weekly and make more meals with in-season produce. These thoughtful changes mean that our small fridge is more than adequate, less food will be thrown out, our local farmers will be supported and fresher, tastier food will be eaten, and here won’t be anymore bacon, carrot, olive casseroles. Yes, this new plan requires a little more time, but the trade-offs are totally worth it.
If you want to know what’s in season in Ontario throughout the year check out Foodland Ontario’s Availability Guide. If you want to check out my small fridge, stop in for a cup of tea and I’ll give you a tour.