Sheltered Islander: Storage Wars at the Cook-Out

Plastic Containers
Plastic Containers. Credit:

Mid-July, the days of picnics and barbecues and tupper wars are upon us. Many foods are brought to gatherings in plastic containers. But there are many big decisions made regarding which containers to bring.

All women have similar choices in their cabinets. First, we have our new and best plastic containers. I am in love with Lock-N-Lock containers from QVC. They have silicone gaskets and secure click-down tabs. If you like—and trust—the people whose barbecue you’re attending, you can use your best containers without fear of container attrition.

Container attrition happens when other people really like your containers and the containers somehow follow these people home. Often people use the excuse that your potato salad is so good, they want to take the leftovers home and swear they will wash and return your container to you. Of course, that never happens. You ask for your container back twice and the third time they ask you, “Why are you making such a big deal about this container? Is it the only one you have? Is it made of gold? I don’t know where it is, okay?” So you relent and your set of containers is now minus one.

I’ve gotten so traumatized by container attrition over the years that I only bring my good containers to my mother’s house and that’s only because I bought her the exact same set I have in yellow. So if she takes one my pink containers, I can hold one of her yellow ones hostage until we arrange a prisoner exchange.

The next level of containers we all have hanging around our cabinets are the old and faded tupperware versions and some still have a lid. I have a complete assortment of old tupperware that is designated for summertime sacrifice. When they’re carried off with leftover macaroni salad, I just wave goodbye. It’s much better that way. If a woman has a good container of yours, you always have that awkward moment when you meet and you wanna ask her for your good container back, but don’t want to come off as irritated as you actually

The third level in the container world is what I call the bachelor level. These are containers you are re-using from store-bought items. Bringing potato salad in a Country Crock butter tub is an example of a bachelor container. Some of the store-bought foods are coming in nice reusable containers now, like Deli Select cold cuts.

There’s a good and bad side for buying bachelor containers for gatherings. On one hand it says, “Feel free to take these containers and foods they’re in home with you.” On the other hand, it says, “I don’t even trust you enough to use my old tupperware, so here’s my cucumber salad in a Blue Bonnet container, good luck getting that home without

My very first set of Lock-N-Lock containers were a nice kelly green set of 16 pieces. They were slowly borrowed by male family member fishermen and never seen again.

I made two important decisions after that; 1. Only buy containers in hot pink, because for a guy to carry bait in a pink container would be like holding up a cross to a vampire. 2. Tell any guys that Lock-N-Lock emits a chemical known as anti-Viagra with the predictable results if they touch it.

That will make them grab the old stuff every time.

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