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Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Can you speak frugalese?
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Nov 28, 2014
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My question for Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation is this:  Why can’t any of y’all throw out leftovers? 

I’ll bet the average age of the people who scraped single tablespoons of English pea salad into Tupperware containers “for later” after Christmas dinner was well over 85.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I get the whole war-surviving, Depression-dealing-with business, but I’m amazed that people who had a $50 monthly house payment and bought Ford Motor Company stock for a quarter a share are still cleaning and refolding used tin foil and washing out the Ziploc bags. 

My mother once salvaged a piece of mayonnaise-speckled Saran Wrap I had tossed into the trash.  She spent a good five minutes sponging it clean again and gave me a look that said I knew nothing of ten-mile walks to school, uphill, both ways, with rickets. 

The Greatest Generation refuses to throw out disposable cups.  Just watch them.  Oh, I know--we “young folks” are squandering natural resources.  Truly, great majestic forests of Solo-party-cup-producing red, yellow, and blue plastic are disappearing faster than pierceable body parts on a Generation X-er.   

For some time now, I’ve realized that the Greatest Generation has the Greatest Gastrointestinal Tract.  How else do you explain how a very senior citizen can eat and enjoy a three-week-old piece of pork roast with no ill effects while it would send a younger person straight to the emergency room and a close call with the white light?  

My friend Doris knows better than to eat her mother’s food.  The woman has been known to thaw, cook, and refreeze a turkey until the poor bird finally just sits up on what’s left of its freezer-burned haunches and screams to be put out of its misery.   

Patti’s mother-in-law, like every Southern woman of a certain age, even saved her bacon grease in a fancy little jar she made in ceramics class that said “Drippings” and had hand-painted trolls dancing around under a mushroom tree. 

When Patti was a newlywed, she was eager to make a good impression with her mother-in-law.  So she offered to clean up the kitchen.  That’s when her mother-in-law caught her pouring the bacon grease into an old mayonnaise jar and tossing it into the trash.  What happened next was a blur but Patti said her mama-in-law’s reaction was swift. 

From the sound of it, she couldn’t have been more shocked or hurt if she’d personally witnessed Patti doing the devil’s aerobics with the minister of music right there on her new Congoleum.  She sprang like a cheetah across the kitchen, rescued the bacon grease and, holding it tenderly as a newborn, slowly poured the still-warm contents back into the drippings jar.   

Can washing the Chinet really be far behind? 

cindybaker@cableone.net