Clearing out the Pantry

I eat locally in season, but I also believe in imports. It’s silly not to use cinnamon, drink orange juice and coffee, and buy sea salt. Trade routes have existed for millennia. Then again, it also doesn’t make sense to eat mealy peaches from Chile, or buy feedlot beef when I can get the best meat from a farmer a few miles up the road.

Most of my meals are made from scratch, but they are simple. Some veggies, a bit of protein, a nice grain. My pantry is stocked with staples like canned beans and pasta. My freezer has peas, corn and sliced peaches, homemade broth and stews. This winter I had severe tendonitis in my wrists and wasn’t allowed to hold a knife. I discovered frozen, cubed winter squash, chopped onions, and those little cubes of garlic and basil being imported from Israel.

But all is not spartan here. I am a sucker for jars of marinades, pilaf mixes, and sauces. I go to food shows and come home with simmer sauces. I buy boxes of crackers on sale for my kids’ lunches. The pantry was full, and the products were getting old.

I decided to see how long I could go without grocery shopping for anything other than staples of milk and other necessary fresh foods, like snack carrots and broccoli. It’s been a few weeks and I’m still at it. I had an opened bag of arborio rice that I turned into a very nice risotto with a package of frozen spinach from last year’s garden that was hiding in the bottom of the freezer (I have a vacuum packer, and it was still perfect! That’s one useful gadget.) Yesterday I did have to buy some chicken so that I could use up the package of green mole sauce. Today I’m going to use up that can of fire-roasted tomatoes and chilies.

Take a look around your house. I bet you have more food than you realize.

By the time I’m done with my “clear out the pantry” project, I should be harvesting the first peas of the season. Right now, I’m finishing up the spring mesclun. But, mostly, I am getting great pleasure from my wildflower meadow which is in bloom.


Comments are closed.