The Five Stages of Tupperware Grief

So you can throw out your food another day

Jon Fischer
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readJan 25, 2019


Photo: FotografiaBasica/Getty Images

Dinner’s come to an end, and there’s some food leftover. It may be quinoa or steamed broccoli; perhaps an extra serving of stroganoff. It doesn’t matter how the story begins, though, because it always ends the same.

Stage 1: Denial

You open the cupboard and begin the hunt for an appropriately sized container and its matching lid. This is no simple task, but your experience eventually helps you find the right Tupperware. You pick it up and observe the faded, opaque ring of red around the perimeter, a remnant of the last time you “stored” spaghetti. It’s okay. It’s been washed.

I’ll eat these leftovers, you tell yourself. I’m definitely not going to throw them away.

Welcome to Tupperware denial. You are selling yourself a lie.

I know. This time is different. It was good stroganoff. You’ll eat it for lunch tomorrow.

Sure you will.

You seal the lid and it makes that satisfying click, sealing in all the goodness. Placing it in the fridge, you’re almost blind to five similar containers of varying vintages. The new leftovers are stored front and center for easy access, since you’ll obviously be eating them tomorrow.

Stage 2: Anger

It’s tomorrow. You don’t have to worry about lunch because it’s waiting for you. You are smart.

You open the fridge and… is that lunch meat in the deli drawer? A sandwich! That sounds far better than leftovers. You just had stroganoff for dinner, anyway.

You locate the bread, but struggle to find the mustard. There it is, behind a Tupperware of tuna. What about the mayo? Where is that? After three minutes, you locate it on a shelf hiding under a small Tupperware of hollandaise sauce you were saving for that asparagus you just threw out… a week ago.

By now, you know your denial was weak. And you’re mad. You knew that leftover stroganoff would never again cross your lips, didn’t you? Because you made too much. Why didn’t you halve the recipe? Why are you such an idiot? Make food just to waste it.



Jon Fischer
Human Parts

Development executive who wants to be a fiction writer when he grows up. Author of new novel, Alpine Tide (