I opened the freezer this morning and what you see to the left is what I saw: not one, not two, but THREE loaves of frozen bread.
The practice of freezing bread is one of the many inexorable signs of the slide into Formerly.
I’m not talking about really good farmers market bread with olives or pecans that you can’t resist but know you won’t finish, so you freeze and enjoy it toasted with cream cheese and really good coffee on the weekend. That’s reasonable. What’s not is hoarding perfectly ordinary supermarket bread as if you and only you have reliable intelligence suggesting an impending shortage.
Why is this a sign of Formerlydom? Because it betrays an utterly irrational fear that at some point, you will go to the supermarket for bread, and–even though this has never happened in the history of your adult life–that day, when your need for bread is so acute, THERE WILL BE NO BREAD.
It may not occur to you on a conscious level, but somewhere in your Formerly lizard brain, your gathering instinct will kick in. You will be compelled against all reason, maybe thinking of long gone grandparents who lived through the depression, to grab not one, but two loaves of bread. “I’ll just freeze one in case we run out,” you think, and it will seem perfectly logical in the moment. I got news for you: It’s not.
If you have two Formerlies living together, both of whom shop for groceries, you wind up with a freezer like mine, with multiple rock solid bricks of Pepperidge Farm that can really hurt when they land on your toes.
I think this has to do with risk tolerance as we get older. Freezing bread is a very mild sign that your risk tolerance is decreasing; checking the weather more than once before you leave the house is another–remember when you were in your 20s, getting rained on was the least of your concerns, well after whether you had tan lines or if a guy called you the day after a date, that made him a refreshing non-game-player, or a psycho stalker loser on whom a background check should be run? Eventually you’re your parents, who won’t leave the house without knowing FOR CERTAIN that there’s easy parking at their destination. Winging it? Not an option.
I’m comfortable with my Formerly status, but I am going to try to resist buying any more bread for the time being, and then limit myself to one loaf at a time. It’s hardly living on the edge, risking running out of bread. But it’s something. I could use a little excitement in my life.
September 14, 2010 at 11:05 am
Steph, you don’t need to freeze Pepperidge Farm bread. Around our house, it’s known as “Ensorcelled Wheat” because it never, ever gets moldy. (I don’t want to know how they achieve this miracle of “freshness.”)
September 14, 2010 at 11:18 am
i have different justifications for freezing bread. I’m not worried the store will run out of bread, I’m worried that I will NEVER HAVE TIME TO BUY BREAD AGAIN and that I will have to send my kids to school with ten fruit roll-ups instead of the good old standard grilled cheese sandwich.
September 14, 2010 at 12:27 pm
And I freeze bread for an entirely different reason: I come home from the grocery store with bread and find, *sigh* again, that I already had bread. And it’ll go bad before I get to it, so in the freezer it goes.
September 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm
Uh… I freeze bread, but not because I’m worried the store won’t have any when I go in. I go to a bread outlet store, and buy in bulk. My family goes through at least 4 loaves of bread a week (we have four boys, 3 in elementary school now). Anchorage right now is hot during the day and now starting to hit freezing temps at night. If I don’t freeze the bread, I will be dealing with mold by mid-week. I don’t want to waste the food. I also buy bulk in cheese slices and freeze what I don’t need until I need to thaw it out to use. Same with meats, lunch meats, etc. Besides, when it snows 24 inches in less than 24 hours, I’ll be glad to thaw out a loaf of bread without having to worry about going to the store and getting stuck in my suburban halfway there.
September 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm
Great price on the 12-Grain. You’re one smart lady to stock up. (See, I am so far gone, that’s my “take-away”.)
September 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm
That is exactly what my freezer looks like! LOL
September 14, 2010 at 2:16 pm
At least you’re not freezing milk! I know at least one or two women that do that. They find milk on sale and buy the max that they can — freezing the rest. The sad thing is that that same store offers the same sale at least once a month!
September 14, 2010 at 5:07 pm
I’m not quite a formerly yet, but I can relate to this on so many levels, it’s hilarious. Right now, in fact, I have exactly three loaves of sprouted grain bread in my freezer. (Albeit, three different variations of the bread.) I’ve long joked to myself that I am like a senior citizen that lived through the Great Depression with the way I stock up and hoard food and sometimes beauty products. However, in my situation I know it is partly because I am constantly broke… I really do worry about running out of food before payday. And sometimes, yeah, I obsess that I will go to the market for something I just really want and it won’t be there. I’m a bit compulsive. Oh yeah, I also have huge amounts of “clearance” yogurt and cottage cheese in my fridge. It lasts far, far beyond the expiration date… and yes, sometimes I worry about not having an opportunity to get to a store during business hours, during times when my schedule really picks up.