Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Eating Out of the Pantry

If you opened my pantry door, you might immediately think, “Yum!” but on closer inspection you’d furrow your brow, shake your head, and wonder what secret issues lurk inside me that created this overage of supplies. “Why does she have four bottles of balsamic vinegar? Was there some kind of sale on Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix?” You’d glance sideways at me to see if I was showing any other signs of obsessive-compulsive behavior. “Was she afraid the store was going to run out of Rotel tomatoes?”

A few years ago, I faithfully planned meals and menus, shopped from a list, and ate what I bought. But a hectic job and extensive traveling derailed me, and I fell into bad habits of spontaneous meal planning and impulse shopping. When I am at the grocery store, I don’t know what my inventory is at home. I walk down the baking aisle and wonder if I have any white corn syrup because I might make a pecan pie with the pecans I bought at Sam’s . . . oh wait, did we already eat those pecans? Better buy some more of those, too. Do I need chicken bouillon? I think I used the last of it, oh, I don’t know when, I’d better get some just in case.

Consequently I just buy everything I could possibly need for anything that could possibly sound good to cook up or to cook with.

My refrigerator and freezer are in the same sad, bulging shape.

I have decided that we should eat the food we already own, so I am not buying groceries this month. Well, except for some necessities (like milk and lettuce) and a small recurring list: coffee creamer, fruit snacks, cilantro, shallots, and French onion dip. The coffee creamer is a staple. The supply of fruit snacks must be frequently replenished because of hungry granddaughters. The cilantro and shallots, well, I am a little OCD about these two perishables. If I don’t have them, I just don’t feel right. (Please analyze me; I don’t know where this issue originated!) The French onion dip, um, um, okay okay, I’ll mark it off the list already.

So far, my plan has gone fairly well. I’ve been creative with ingredients on hand. The pantry is less crowded and the cold air in my refrigerator and freezer can circulate more freely. I have baked muffins, biscuits, and cakes, simmered delicious soups, and cooked some tasty entrees. And for the first twenty days of January, I have only spent $28.39.

I am in a race with the expiration dates on the boxes, bottles, bags, and cans, so maybe I’ll have you over for dinner. Feel free to ask if you can take a sack of groceries home. But hands off the cilantro and shallots.

1 comment:

  1. wow-I love this-I have thought about doing this but I don't have the amount of food you do-:) but anyway-I try to say We are going to eat what is hear first before we go get anything else-I of course have to go daily to get a Sonic drink but that can't be kept at home-oh-we aren't talking about addictions in this particular blog-anyway-by supper I look to see what we have, none of it sounds good so its off to get a hamburger or Taco-I am so undisciplined. I am going to be stronger and learn from your example-Thanks.