A few weeks ago I was looking to give away and/or freecycle any appliances I havent been using. Living in a New York apartment, there isnt room to keep anything we dont use. Bad news for me as Im a bit of a packrat. I couldnt get myself to say goodbye to an air popper I have had since college. I love popcorn, why have I not been eating it? I also figured my 2-year-old is now old enough that popcorn is no longer a choking hazard. I ferreted through my cabinet and found some organic corn kernels, tossed them in the popper, melted a little organic butter, sprinkled on a little sea salt and presto: a brand new, exciting snack. I cannot begin to tell you how cool a popcorn popper is for a kid who has never seen one. Her eyes were so wide! Whats that, Mama? Whats going on here? Even better question: What I was thinking? Getting rid of it? No way.
Of course I happened to make this snack on the first truly gorgeous day of spring and we were late to the playground where our friends were waiting for us to romp. I needed to take this snack with me, and I needed to do it quickly. This is the part in the story where almost every other mom in America reaches for their trusty kazillion quart Ziploc bag, stuffs it, and heads easily out the door. As much as I envy these ladies their Ziploc (so simple! so large! so easy!), it should come as no surprise to you, my dear readers, that I have almost no plastic bags in my house. There are garbage bags, the occasional ones from the wine store, the ones other people carry things to me in (like presents for the babe), and other miscellaneous oddities. But these are few and far between, and certainly not hygienic enough for our organic popped treat. What to use? The kid was digging into the popcorn as I searched frantically for a receptacle, getting it all over the floor, where the cat was digging in. No wonder Im a packrat! You never know when the extremely old becomes a new necessity. (True confession: Ive had popcorn every day for the last two weeks.)
Normally I put the kids on-the-go snacks in glass jars Bell jars, old nut butter jars, old baby food jars, store-bought glass containers with lids. I tuck these into a Mimi the Sardine lunch bag made of Swedish eco-coated cotton (from MimiTheSardine.com: The fabrics are produced in accordance with strict environmental laws and are Oeko-Tex certified; the coating is made from acrylic and not PVC. We use no chlorine in the production process, and only water soluble dyes. Mimi the Sardine is proud to contribute to the environmental health of Mother Earth). Infrequently I use wax paper bags. (Yes I know that if you really crunch the environmental numbers, using and reusing certain plastic bags is more earth-friendly than wax paper ones, but I cant bring myself to use plastic.) Neither of these felt like a good answer for the enormous amount of popcorn that flew out of the machine (I poured too much in). The size container Id have to use was way too heavy and the wax paper bags far too small. These are the sort of bizarre, incessant choices parenthood forces you to make all day long. Everyone figures out the routines that work for their families. When you bang up against something that wont fit in your regulars (popcorn in glass, for example) its funny how youre suddenly running around like a chicken with your head cut off. You know what I mean? What would you stash the stuff in?
Anyway, I started making eyes at the enormous pile of canvas bags we keep near the front door and tuck under in the stroller, the diaper bag, my purse, etc. etc. so that if anyone needs to buy something when out, no one will wind up taking a plastic bag. None of these things looked sanitary enough for my popcorn, either farmers market produce dirt and celery fronds collect in the corners. And then it hit me the way it always hits me at the grocery store: I forgot about my organic cotton reusable produce bags! I bought these a while back at ReusableBags.com to use for lettuce, bulk grains, nuts and the like and for some reason I keep leaving them at home. I kick myself every time I run into a wet bunch of spinach and have to take a plastic bag at the market. Other sites to buy them at include EcoBags.com and BagGreen.com.
So I yanked one out, filled it with popcorn, stuffed the leftovers in a glass jar for our friends waiting for us at the playground, and headed out the door. Take that, Ziploc. We left a trail of kernels on the way. Lucky pigeons.
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