Monday, April 29, 2013

On to the kitchen...

The first step was taking every item of food from the pantry and cupboards and putting it on the dining room table. Frightening, isn't it? My sons tell me I'm a food hoarder. And I can't argue very convincingly. As far back as I can remember, I have had a dread of running out of food or money. But the part that is not hoarder-like is that I'll happily use the food.  In fact, even if I only have a single dinner guest, I cook as if I'm feeding a crowd. Because, by God, NO ONE will go hungry at my table! But the stocking up is at a point where I wasn't even sure what I had since I tend to just unload groceries without any real organization. And it doesn't help that my kids also go to the grocery store and pile their stuff in, too.

I also emptied out the fridge and freezer onto the kitchen counters. Actually, there's a smaller fridge in the basement where I keep sodas for the kids, beer, and bags of flour because of the pantry moth problem. I brought everything from that freezer up, too. And after I sorted, I did some counting. Seven pounds of shrimp in the freezers. Seven. Pounds. And those little vegetarian sausages my son loves? We call them notsages, and I counted 89 of them. You read them right. Throw in some corn and potatoes and I've got a low country boil. Also half a dozen salmon fillets, maybe ten swai fillets, and four other kinds of seafood. Eight quart bags of tomato/veggie sauce I made last summer. And several frozen loaves of bread. I'm officially on a grocery embargo. The only exceptions being things like milk, eggs and produce. But I will be cooking my way through the food on hand, especially emptying out the freezer. I suspect I'll always keep an abundance of food around, but the organization/moderation part is a work in progress.

36 comments:

  1. smiles...ha....work in progress indeed...when you have hours to kill...smiles.

    we just cleaned out the kitchen last weekend and def surprising what you find when you thought you might not have had...

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    1. I guess we'll figure it out. Or we won't.

      My kids buy things I would never buy, so there are sometimes real surprises in there.

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  2. Well, I'm sure you can guess......I don't stockpile food either! We'd go hungry after two weeks of no grocery shopping. It's a clutter free zone here. The previous owners left a fridge and a freezer in the basement. I have no use for the extra fridge. The freezer has frozen pizzas since they don't fit in the side by side upstairs.

    We just remodeled our kitchen and it only took about 30 mins for me to pack it all up. I travel light.

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    1. In the kitchen, food is the only thing that constitutes clutter. Otherwise, it's pretty streamlined.

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  3. P.S.....what in the world is in the green jar in the front?

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    1. Those are spice bottles, which live on a little shelf over my stove for easy access. One of the green ones holds whole nutmegs and one has red pepper flakes.

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  4. WOW you certainly have some supplies there! ;)

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  5. I also have a long-standing dread of running out of money. Not food though - after all, you can use the money to buy food. Or do you mean running out of both at once? We plan our shopping trips very carefully, so there's not much food in the house we don't actually use. That's quite an impressive food mountain you've accumulated!

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    1. I mean running out of food when someone is there. And having kids alters everything - it's way easier to manage when it's just adults. I know, having been married for 6 years before I had my first child. Especially teenage boys, who are like locusts.

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  6. Way to go! That was a great way to do it. I move things around and look at expiration dates but I think a fresh start in the pantry is a great idea. You are getting me motivated.

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    1. The book I was reading said that if you just pull some things out, you'll get rid of less than if you take everything out and make decisions about what to put back. I think there is really something to that idea.

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  7. I can't count the number of times I've gone to the store, came home and put the pasta/rice/whatever away, and put it beside two other ones just like it.

    Since the kids have gone I've stopped making shopping lists or inventory what is already here. This results in a surfeit or total absence of some things. Garlic heads abound in the veg bin, while the space for paprika remains empty.

    When I lived in Europe, shopping was an everyday event for most people, the storage space and fridge are tiny, and besides, that fresh loaf of Como every day is great. This meant that I didn't have to remember what I already had, because I knew I didn't have it.

    And I recognize that can of coconut milk, I've got three just like it.

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    1. I do that ALL the time. Bizarrely, I have 5 cans of pumpkin. Why? I don't even bake, really. I think I got it in my head (apparently more than once) that I would make a pumpkin pie. I need to find some recipes and use it.

      I like the European system, but it does require living in town.

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  8. "Actually, there's a smaller fridge in the basement where I keep sodas for the kids, beer, and bags of flour because of the pantry moth problem."

    When I was a kid, my mother and father also had a smaller fridge in the basement, containing some of the same things. I think it was a combo fridge/freezer.

    Boy, I wish I could shop like you and load up on a lot of things at once. But because my kitchen is literally a closet, made into a kitchen, I have to shop a little at a time, twice a week. I shop like a European.

    X

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    1. There are some good things about being able to have a stocked larder and some bad. Once it's just me, I think I'll focus on more frequent shopping for produce and such.

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  9. I bet it will be quite fun cooking your way through your stock-on-hand!

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  10. At first I thought this was going to be one of those rearranging the house clutter posts with new shelving ideas. It was a nice surprise that what you did was much more practical and money saving. It's a no-brainer idea to check what food you already have before going shopping for more but of course who has time for that. It's common to waste food (money that bought the food) because it doesn't last for ever and that sale price was just too good. How often do you do this smart inventory work?

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    1. I believe the key is in reducing, not organizing. Because I don't really have time to keep re-organizing over and over.

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  11. I love you and your platonic friend. This story will run and run . . .

    We are twins in the kitchen department. Nobody has ever not had too much food at my table. I have several freezers filled with home-made dishes and raw fish and meat and vegetables. My larder is choc-a-bloc and so are my kitchen cupboards. And all of it is staying and getting used. Eventually.

    I come from the next generation to the generation who really did have very little to eat. Nothing gives me greater pleasure - well, maybe one or two things - than to stand in front of fridge and larder and admire my stores of groceries. Bearing in mind that we live miles from shops I have another excuse for food hoarding.

    Clothes cupboards are a different matter. I still have clothes of 20 years ago. Well, they might become fashionable again some day? even better, I might fit into them again then?

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    1. That story has definitely not played itself out yet, so I'm going with it.

      I don't plan to get down to very little food - I also like having it available to me. Maybe just decreasing the things I really don't need and being more mindful of using things in a timely way.

      Clothes - they will never come back in style. They are only there to taunt you. :-0

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  12. When I took a cookery exam at school the practical involved me cooking a meal for two old age pensioners. I passed but the examiner commented that I had cooked enough for six hungry schoolgirls! Some things never leave you:)Give me a huge teapot and a canteen full of people to serve and I am happy!

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    1. First, the OAP thing has always cracked me up. It sounds so insulting, although I know it's not meant to be. But yes, I'm with you on that!

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  13. I'm highly visual so I write down what I have on hand and what is in my freezer. I freeze a lot of dinners, soups, etc. so I will NEVER RUN OUT. I also have open shelves in the kitchen as like others here, I visually stroke my larder. LOL.

    Yes the chemical thing is an ongoing serial. I await the next episode with all things bated.

    XO
    WWW

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    1. I can't have open shelves. I don't want to see my food except when I open a cabinet to get it. I have a few glass-fronted cabinets, but I only put glas and wood things in there because the colors on food containers distract me. But I know other people hwho much prefer your system.

      Given that we text every day, I'm sure that story is unfinished!

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  14. oh man, i have been jonesing for salmon for a long while and with all the thyroid testing and such i have been ordered to have no seafood of any kind for the duration of the process. your list of provisions is making me seriously hungry! glad you continue to make progress.

    and that chemistry...it'll get ya every time. ;)

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    1. How much longer before you can eat seafood? That would be a hardship for me!

      And yes, it surely will!

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    2. originally it was a month so i could have the one test and not skew the results. then when i had it i was told to continue my fish fast because they may have to do other tests down the road and they didn't want me to have to start from scratch with the fish fast and delay things. i'm still waiting for the all clear and i get it intend to have a big beautiful piece of salmon!

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    3. Ah. I hope they finish up quickly then and let you get back to a normal diet.

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  15. I am trying to work my way through the contents of my freezer too! It's a side by side which I despise as things are hard to fish out and sink to the bottom or the backm but I'll get there! You are an inspiration!

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    1. That's interesting to me to hear because I've always wondered if a side-by-side fridge/freezer would be more efficient. Apparently not?

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  16. That is amazing. I also buy a lot of food, because I love to cook, and I do it every time I get the chance. But the difference is that at my place no matter how much food I buy it is never too much, it gets eaten in a day.

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    1. It would take a lot of people to clear this much food out in a day!

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  17. Shaune has been decluttering the kitchen and it's been so nice to go into the fridge lately. T

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    1. It does help to be able to see what you have!

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