It’s easy to hoard food, particularly with a pantry the size of ours. Jars, tins and bags of ingredients lie dormant at the back of shelves, unearthed a decade later, long past their best.
Since Priscilla is away for a seven-week work trip, I’ve decided to do something about this.
I’ve set myself a challenge: I’m not going to shop for food for seven weeks. Instead, I’m going to eat entirely out of what’s in the garden, pantry, and freezer.
There are a few reasons for this:
- I want to deliberately run down my stored food stocks, to make sure everything gets used before it goes off.
- It’s a challenge as a cook I’ve wanted to do for a while: work with what I’ve got, rather than running to the supermarket for specialty ingredients, just because a recipe asks for them.
- Explore what eating frugally turns out as, and whether it’s easy or a burden.
I’m a bit behind on my blogging, and Priscilla has already been away for four weeks, with three weeks to go.
So far it’s been pretty easy, and I’m actually starting to worry that I won’t make enough of a dent in my supplies before Priscilla returns!
A few practicalities
In the spirit of full disclosure, and to show that I haven’t become a hippie fanatic:
- I am doing a small amount of shopping ($20/week), for three items: milk (no cow at home), tonic water (hey, a man needs some pleasures!) and cat food.
- I had a number of work trips in the first few weeks, and then our big work conference, so that cut down on the number of home-cooked meals.
- When the guys come around each Monday night, we order take-away food.
- I’m still buying lunch each day at work, because life is busy.
- I bought a bag of sugar, to make some marmalade.
All that being said, I didn’t do any stocking up before I started, other than buying one bag of potatoes
What have I been eating?
For dinners, I’ve been eating well, including:
- stir-fried Chinese cabbage and purple beans
- chickpea curry with home-made flatbreads
- lamb chops with celeric and potato gratin
- vegetarian fried rice
- Indian lentil curry and pan-fried cabbage
- vegetable soups (from stocks in the freezer)
- (to name just a small selection)
For breakfast, the Weetbix in the cupboard won’t last long, so I’ve also been having fermented porridge or eggs on toast.
Every weekend, I bake sourdough bread, including white, spelt and rye loaves.
I’ve had guests around at various points, and I’ve cooked:
- five-element Japanese meal for two, featuring pumpkin simmered in sweet sake
- Sunday lunch for three, including home-baked sourdough bread, roast beetroot salad and home-made pickles
- home-made pasta for two, with basil pesto
- potato and lentil dal for two, with rice and cucumber pickles
In short, so far so good! I’m enjoying the challenge, and may even stretch it out by a few more weeks…