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Bring your own durables restaurant-style: introducing the take-out kit

You might think I'd post about something profound today given the momentousness of yesterday's inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. Perhaps something about food safety and peanut butter (Is anyone as freaked out about this as I am?). But no.

Instead I tackle the small but troublesome topic of taking left-overs home from restaurants. This post fills me with chagrin, because I thought I had nailed this particular challenge when I tasked my memory-of-an-elephant 7-year-old with the important job of remembering to bring durables for our inevitable restaurant leftovers. But no. Apparently she has inherited some of her parents' forgetfulness genes after all. Or maybe it's that we don't eat out often enough to have had a chance to form a habit. Either way, we keep forgetting to bring our durables. And let me just tell you how big of a dork I feel like every time when we're mid-way through our entrees, and it dawns on me that there's no way we'll finish all the food on our plates and did I remember to bring the durables? No. Big fat no. The last time this happened to me the server brought out some boxes and then even gleefully offered us a plastic bag to hold it all! Boy, did I ever hang my head in shame. I was waiting for some reality show TV crew to spring from the wings and out me in a live broadcast: "So here's one of the EnviroMoms out to eat! How are you going to manage One Can A Month now? With all those disposable containers? Is this just the tip of the iceberg, EnviroMom? Hmmmm??" (Now you know what my nightmares are like).

Takeout-kitSo here's my next big idea in tackling this restaurant leftover conundrum. The take-out kit. I've put together a few pieces of nesting food storage in a little bag. And I put it in the back of my car. Simple as pie. Good to go. Ready for when we need it. Granted, it won't work if we don't drive to dinner, but 9 times of 10 we do drive. The real trick will be to ensure that when we do use the kit, that it gets restocked with new, clean food storage containers right after I put our leftovers in the fridge. I hope that it will be just like with the reusable grocery bags. Once the habit and process are in place, it'll be a no-brainer (or so I hope -- lately I'm extremely lacking in the brain department). Wish me luck.

Do you have any special ways to help you remember your durables?

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