the pantry

dinner

It wasn’t as hard as I had expected.  I am in the groove now.  I still have to locate the  out of date anchovies that my husband has turned into paste.  I know him too well.  He will convert something we have not used into something else we will not use and eventually I will be allowed to throw it out.  No more.  I have removed all food items we will not eat and, where possible fed them to the chickens, the rest have been put on the compost.

I use a weekly menu plan and shop only for those items that I need for the weeks’ meals but do not have in stock.  This encourages me to use my cookery books and try out new recipes as well as making it a lot easier at the end of the day.  All I have to do is look at the list on the fridge and open the appropriate recipe book at the appropriate page.  Life is much easier that way.  I keep my diary to hand when menu planning, if I am going to be out all day and then doing the Mummy taxi run in the evening there is no point planning a meal that requires preparation and last minute attention.  On the other hand, if I have a day at home and everyone home by 6.00 then we can go for something a little more adventurous.

On a good week I shop from the larder and the freezer.  Unfortunately now the freezer is mainly offering up those odd things we bought because they looked interesting.  I love heart for example, it is tasty and cheap.  I am going to struggle to slip it under the teenage radar.  We usually buy a whole or half sheep.  For some obscure reason I asked for one of the legs to be left whole.  Dinner for 15 anyone?

This is what I hope to avoid in the future.  No more whimsical purchases.  A freezer with only food we know we will eat and know when we will eat it.

Tonight all the girls are out.  So the Boss and I are having lobster and crab salad.  That’s two items out of the freezer, salad from the garden and dressing made with the ends of various oil and vinegar bottles.  A good clear up dinner I think.

refuse

Removing things we neither need nor want is, to all intents and purposes, shutting the door after the first horse has bolted.  The first step is to stop those things getting in the house in the first place.  The first R in Bea Johnson’s mantra is Refuse.

What can I refuse to let into my home?

  • Packaging
  • Junk Mail
  • Bags (plastic/paper etc)
  • Books
  • Clothes
  • Food
  • Disposable items
  • DVDs
  • CDs
  • Plastic bottles
  • Yoghurt pots
  • Knick Knacks
  • Freebies
  • Unwanted gifts
  • Impulse purchases
  • Guilt purchases

pantry

That’s not your usual list.  I’ve highlighted a few that you might not have expected to see.  How can we get by without food for example?  But I didn’t say no food, I mean food we don’t need.  Look at just one shelf in your cupboard and take everything out.  Put back ONLY the things that you know you need.  Do you need

  • The bag of cookies 5 for £1 at the co-op checkout.
  • The super hot chilli sauce you bought at a food fair and is still unopened.
  • The various jars of sauces and marinades.
  • The sushi kit you bought after a great meal out

In our case we have all of the above and the answer is no.  I make better cookies, sauces and marinades hence the jars gathering dust and the stale cookies.  I love sushi but I prefer somebody else to make it.

This is about rethinking how we live and what we need and want to live that life.  Today and tomorrow I am tackling the kitchen.  This is the penultimate big room before I move into the outbuildings.  It is the one I am most scared of doing.  I love to cook, preparing food for family and friends is part of how I show my love and how I nurture and care.  I need to rethink how I can do that without all the unnecessary extras.