Plastic Ono Band

My favourite plastic food container died today. Actually, it wasn’t the container itself but the lid that bit the dust. Apparently plastic of a certain type is not destined to survive dishwasher treatment for more than 10 years or so. This particular container was better than many. It could hold a good swath of coleslaw or be a good interim home for leftover Thai food or politely nestle a swatch of polenta lasagne. I think its most redeeming qualities were indeed its only qualities: an oval shape and a lid that had an ample leverage point for forgiving the fingernail (and alas, the latter would be the nail it its coffin shaped shape).

The plastic food container has been around for many years since, but has never been as celebrated as when it debuted under the Tupperware brand in 1948, because it meant that the average housewife could more effectively save leftovers. But in the 1960’s, the products on offer evolved into essentials like popsicle (oops, I think that should be ‘ice pop’) moulds, salt and pepper shakers decked in transparent white and gray (which someone decided we really needed to figure out how to differentiate via a prominent ‘P’ and ‘S’ on the lid), and rolling pins (are you kidding me?). This also led us all to believe there were no colours other than green, pink, yellow and blue. But then again, we already knew that based on our experience with various siblings who had a nasty habit of not announcing their gender pre-birth.

There is no denying that the leftover food container (literally) bulks large in most of our lives. Who among us has not opened a cupboard door to be assaulted by random plastic vessels? And even more importantly, who has not wasted many minutes of life searching for the lid of the container that is best suited to carting our lunch to work. I recently spent a day sorting through and throwing out the miss-matched sets, and I still have as many orphaned containers as spare socks.

One might think the purpose of the leftover food container is to safely store food until it can be consumed at a not-to-later date. In reality, that later date usually becomes so much later as to create a new iteration of the food in question. So the purpose of the container is actually to contain the goo until garbage day. Then we put it in the dishwasher to be suitably disinfected enough to hold the next landfill offering. And then it breaks and must go into the garbage. And so the cycle continues.

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