View Full Version : Packaging food

domestic goddess
3-27-11, 1:07pm
I need some suggestions, because I am just drawing a blank. Money is a bit tight around here, but the men in the house love their snacks, and feel entitled to them. So I have decided to make as many as possible at home. Because either of them is capable of taking a full cake pan or other large container and eating it all, leaving everyone else out in the cold, I want to cut cakes, etc. into serving sized pieces and wrap them. I don't want to use plastic wrap, but I need something disposable, quick and easy. They won't bother to bring the packaging back. Waxed paper? Baggies? Something else? Cookies aren't a problem, but if I bake cake, banana bread, brownies, etc. that becomes a lot of packaging. I hope one day to move into reusable wrappings, but first I have to get them accustomed to taking food from home. They won't even pack a lunch or take one that has been packed for them, because they feel entitled to eat out. Baby steps, I know, but I have to start somewhere. Thanks in advance for your help.

3-27-11, 1:26pm
When I worked in a deli, we wrapped all our cake slices in a type of wax paper. You can do it really quickly and neatly with practice. Normally at home, I just shove everything in a ziploc bag and then bring it back home to wash it and re-use it.

I am sorry to hear that you're having to gradually introduce the idea of even taking food from home, let alone bringing back the packaging to be reused! You must have the patience of a saint.

domestic goddess
3-27-11, 1:57pm
Thank you, mira, but patience is exactly what I do not have. I wouldn't care if they brought back soiled baggies; I will wash them. But I don't see that happening right now. I take my own food to work, but I am the only one who does so, and no one cares to follow my example. I talked to dsil about it once, and he was full of excuses about why it would never work for him, since he has no refrigeration available. He wasn't interested at all in hearing about ways to keep a lunch cold, or how to make a lunch that doesn't require refrigeration. But money is tight for them, I can make things they can take, and I really think they can get used to the idea of eating from home. They will just have to adjust.

3-27-11, 2:01pm
I hear your frustration. Good luck to you.

I found a package of the neatest stuff at a yard sale. I think it's what mira mentioned. It's whitish parchment-like paper and comes in cut sheets 9X12 inches. The pack I got contained 1,000 sheets. Very easy to use. Don't know how much it would cost new however, but I believe our local restaurant supply store carries it. (Smart and Final) If necessary, you could probably seal it with a bit of scotchtape.

Restaurant supply places have all manner of disposable contianers that fast foods come in, little buckets like for Chinese foods, and clamshells with lids, but they would cost more that sheets of something.

Old fashioned wax paper would need to be cut for each sheet. In the 'olden days' there also used to be waxed paper sandwich bags too.

domestic goddess
3-27-11, 9:59pm
Yeah, I would love to find those waxed paper sandwich bags. I can barely find waxed paper, as it is. DD has a membership to Costco. Maybe I should go there and see what they have for wrapping. I will cut waxed paper if I have to.
This is really a simple thing. I don't understand why it has to be so hard. I don't understand the mentality that says it is okay to spend money you don't have on stuff you don't really need. And, believe me, my dd didn't learn that from me! But she has said over and over that people of her generation don't do without what they want or do the kind of frugal things I do to save money. Frankly, I think that is just an excuse, but I have heard others say the same. One of her best friends is very frugal, cooks all her family's meals, and works outside the home, too. She has a budget all set up on her computer, and they stick to it, believe me! I have suggested to dd that she talk with this friend, but to no avail.
So now I work with what I can. You can have more control over the food budget than some other areas of the budget. Of course, they don't like "budget food". dsil doesn't think it is a meal unless there is a big hunk of meat as the centerpiece. Some of this thinking is just going to have to change.

3-27-11, 10:16pm
Maybe aluminum foil? If your DD has a costco membership she could probably get a restaurant sized roll of foil if you couldn't find the right kind of waxed paper.

I agree that your DD's excuse about her generation is bogus. How old is she? I have read a bunch of articles lately talking about Gen Y as being relatively frugal overall. I seem to have grown up in a place that values frugality because I notice a lot of frugal practices among my old friends from high school (late 20s-early 30s). I just got a recipe for homemade baby wipes from one of them, gave my yogurt containers to another for using as seed starters and we all pass on our kids outgrown clothes to each other and brag about our thrift store scores. One of DH's high school friends just posted recipes on facebook for all kinds of homemade stuff from cleaning supplies to sour cream and cottage cheese.

Float On
3-27-11, 11:21pm
Do you all eat cereal? We don't eat as much packaged cereal as we once did but I fo reuse all those 'inner bags' from cereal boxes, cracker boxes, even bread bags, tortilla shell bags, frozen veggie bags.... etc.
I pack lunches for 2 teens and 1 husband and try to reuse as much 'packing material' as I can before getting into the ziplock sandwich bags. I use glass containers for my lunches (pickle or jelly or mayo jars work great). Everyone gets a cloth napkin in their lunch as well - I won't buy paper napkins. My lunch box napkins are made out of freebie material or from clothing items close to going to the rag box (that way I won't be mad if they accidently throw away their napkin).

3-28-11, 8:21am
I like using the cheap sandwich sized containers - they are single serving sized, washable, nukable, freezable, reusable many, many times, but not a big loss if one gets tossed. If I'm worried about leakage toting it around, they fit in a larger ziplock bag which I also reuse. Not perfect, but they work ok for me.

domestic goddess
3-28-11, 12:16pm
Thanks, creaker. I had thought about those containers, but I'm sure I won't get one back home, so then they become very expensive. I may be better with rolls of foil or waxed paper or parchment paper, something like that. I bought a roll of foil from Sam's Club more than 10 years ago, and still have a little more than half of it left! Maybe I should run home and "shop" in my own pantry first. I do think they will work for storage at home.
Stella, I agree that my dd's excuse is just that. She has a big streak of "non-industriousness" in her. I often do, too, but I know a bit about getting by in hard times. DD, however, is very involved with her girls, in their school, and other activities, and I will certainly give her just praise for that. And it can be very time-consuming. dsil doesn't value those activities at all, so it not only gets all dumped on her shoulders, but she gets no credit from him when they excel in those areas. One of the girls is in the gifted program, and the other could be, but she is too much like her father is to do the work required, although her teachers tell us that she is more than able to do the work. He is one of those people who fights against anything he thinks someone else wants him to do, just for the sake of being contrary.
Anyway, I am trying to set an example of being frugal in a few areas, to free up money in others. I'm not off to a rousing start, because they lack things that could be substituted for more expensive items. There wouldn't even be baking items, except that I buy those. And it is time I started making a few things today.

3-28-11, 12:22pm
Buy them a cookbook, and stand back :-)

3-28-11, 12:32pm
I remember your posts about your DD domestic goddess and I know she's had some serious health challenges on top of her mom duties and issues with her DH, so I totally understand how that can be overwhelming. I think your helpfulness and good example are wonderful. Habit changes take time. I commend you on your patience and positive, problem solving attitude.

3-28-11, 12:44pm
I have found individual foil sheets about 8 x 12 at SAMs, but also at the restaurant supply stores. They are not something I use all the time but when life gets hairy it's nice to have them. I found they were cheaper than rolls of foil because with foil everybody was wasting so much. How about making your cakes and bread into muffin sizes instead of big cakes, cupcakes and muffins are more grab and go. Good luck!

domestic goddess
3-28-11, 12:59pm
TMC, using muffin pans or tiny cake pans for individual servings is a really good idea. I hadn't thought about that. I can see how the sheets of foil or waxed paper would be less wasteful, in a variety of ways, but not sure when I can get out and shop. There are a gazillion restaurants around here, so there should be restaurant supply companies around; just haven't seen any. I actually have a cookbook for small desserts, which are made in used, cleaned cans, and they are 1-2 servings each. More work to make several of them, but they are already the right size.
Stella, thank you for your kind words. DD is doing fairly well right now, but she has been having kidney infections, and no one seems to know why. Very trying, and discouraging. Both girls are thriving and doing very well, but dsil will never value that, so I try to tell her often how proud I am of her for that. And I am. She has to do it nearly by herself, and that isn't easy. Still, it would give her a big boost if her dh would acknowledge that, but other members of his family do, so that helps. Some people seem to live to squash the spirit of others, and it has to be exhausting to always be fighting that.
Everyone is leaving soon, and I will be able to bake in peace. Adios, amigos!!

3-29-11, 1:02am
Be sure to pack some of their favorite goodies initially, so they'll be enticed to open the lunch.

3-29-11, 1:56am
I swear by glass containers with plastic snap/push on lids (of various types) for transporting everything. They come in all sizes.

I'd be tempted to trash and not wash out a ziplock bag too. But glass containers are different, they're obviously too valuable to just throw away (I mean please), and they wash easily (the plastic lids a little less so).

domestic goddess
3-29-11, 4:31pm
Buy them a cookbook, and stand back :-)
Have done that, bae, to no avail. I am the only one that uses it. While they want good food to eat, they don't seem to feel that it is worth their time to actually make it themselves. Their boarder does quite a bit of the cooking; in fact, he is making ribs tonight. I'm supplying dessert. I hope dd will get the dishes done.

3-30-11, 6:31pm
Maybe once, just to make the point, you could wrap the food in money?

3-30-11, 9:47pm
I suppose it'd be too much to hope for that you could get them in the habit of carrying a, gasp, lunchbox of some sort. Then you could put their goodies in any tupperwarish container and they'd just have to toss it back in the lunchbox and bring it home dirty. Barring that I agree with the ideas of waxed paper or tin foil. I haven't done the math since this isn't my issue, but I assume that foil would be somewhat cheaper per serving than ziplock baggies. We use both but not enough for me to be particularly aware of their costs. If nothing else, though, aluminum would certainly be more recyclable than ziplock baggies, although given your issue here I doubt you could count on the foil ending up anywhere besides a landfill anyway... And I like mattj's idea if you think clobbering them over the head will accomplish anything.

Thankfully I don't have anyone else to worry about besides myself as far as this subject goes. When I started doing YMOYL it was a fairly easy realization that I didn't particularly value eating lunch out compared to the amount of hours of life energy spent paying for it. And the same with daytime treats. I love eating a bag of chips while I'm eating it but 3 minutes after it's gone all that's left is the stale aftertaste in my mouth and I feel let down. Not so when I take a tupperware of CSA carrots and dip them in some hummus.

4-3-11, 6:55am
Try checking your local Dollar Store or Dollar General for containers and wrapping material. I know my local Dollar General carries the packages of individual foil sheets. Not too bad for a buck!

I agree with the poster who said to wrap a food item in money. Or, maybe next time they sit down to dinner, hand them a bill! If they insist on paying for their other meals, I see no reason why they can't pay YOU for dinner!

Good luck!

4-4-11, 10:43am
I get wax paper sandwich size bags at Whole Foods and the coop here.

domestic goddess
4-4-11, 12:20pm
larknm, I hadn't even thought about Whole Foods! They are not too far away here, but a bit off the beaten path. I will have to make a stop there.
happystuff, I hadn't thought about the Dollar Store, either. I need to make a trip there, as the girls love to go there and pick out a craft to do, so I will surely look for foil, or something else suitable. I would love to hand them a bill, but dd is a bit too strung out over money right now, and might think I am angry. I will keep that idea in mind for later, though!
mattj, it is a good idea to wrap their food in money, but they will just spend it, and I will be out that amount. The symbolism will probably be lost on dsil!
Thanks for the ideas, and for the chuckles. On a gloomy, cool day like today, the chuckles are worth at least as much as the ideas!