My office refrigerator is broken. Notwithstanding the fact that New York City (the land of delivery) is one of the only places where a major kitchen appliance could be broken for months without major repercussions, I realized this week that, in fact, there is some eating-related fall-out when the refrigerator goes kaput.
Take my recent lunch experience. I ordered (delivery, of course) a slice of pizza and a side of sautéed spinach. The order arrives, and it’s enough spinach to feed a family, certainly much more than I’d like for lunch, and unfortunately, storing leftovers is not an option. As I’m spooning the spinach from the take-out container onto my plate, I pass the amount that I want and add some extra, thinking to myself, “I better have a little more, since I’m going to have to throw it out.” I catch myself and pause. What????
There are plenty of reasons for me to have more spinach, but, at the time, none of them has anything to do with me and what I want. I should eat more spinach so that there’s less to throw out? What’s that going to do? I eye the trash container on the kitchen floor and, quite mercifully, notice a number of differences between it and me.
It’s funny how the notions of “clean your plate,” “finish your meal,” “starving children in [third-world country],” subtly, but tenaciously, cling to our collective unconscious. How even someone who’s built her personal and professional lives around intuitive eating so easily falls into a trap like this.
I’m not happy that I had to throw the spinach out (in an ideal world, I would have given it to someone else), but I am happy that I tossed my amateur trash-can impersonation and recognized that just because someone gives me more than what I want, doesn’t mean I have to take it.