Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eating from the Cupboard

The Chuckwagon

 I read a blog a while back and the author mentioned that her family was doing everything they could to not buy anything. Hitting the store once a month and seeing how far they could go. I enjoyed the reminder.

I used to be a guerrilla shopper. Using my food budget to purchase only sale items in bulk. I always had AT LEAST 3 months worth of food hanging out. It worked great. I embraced the challenge and enjoyed finding the best double coupon deals possible. Although we ate well, I still didn't use the creativity that I would have liked. I purchased mostly premade things at deep discount and used them with rices and such. 
Healthier than most people ate, but nothing like the focus I have on whole foods now.

I was wandering through my fridge, cupboard, and freezer last night as I thought about what to fix for supper and I had a thought. 
"Why haven't you applied the same principles to the local food you want?"
I am gardening, and I expect to expand that a lot over the next year. I'm really working on learning how to extend my harvest and be able to eat from the garden almost all year round. I'm hoping that by next August I will be in the thick of food preservation from my own land.
I know that choosing to eat and preserve only what's in season is not a new idea. I started thinking about why I haven't been doing it. I couldn't figure it out until I ran to the store for a couple of things.....and ONLY a couple of things.

As I walked in I was greeted by the whole foodie's dream. Fruits and vegetables galore. Every variety you can think of. And it ALL looked good. (Part of that is because it's summer and there's a lot that's bountiful right now...lol.)
But how much of it was, or could be, from RIGHT HERE? 
Not as much.

I didn't truly realize what short seasons there are for some things until I really thought about it. Our wild plums held for around a month. The mulberries for a week or so. We have watermelons in the garden, but they're not ready yet. The tomatoes are just now kicking in. The peppers are becoming VERY productive. The carrots are good.

Now, I am far from a gardening expert. This is my first year gardening here. And although I've always added a few things to my landscape it's only my second "garden run". I'm learning about how to stagger harvests and how cold frames work and such. (I've been reading about it for years. But it's different when you start doing it.)

I have decided to eat only from my cupboards and garden until "The cupboard is bare." I have lots and lots of wonderful things. I'm allowing myself to buy milk, eggs, flour, sugar, honey, garlic, and onions. I know that sounds like a lot of allowances. But those are all things that we run out of often. I'm going to try to get through without buying excessive amounts of them...lol....no quiches or "only bread" meals. 

Here is what I came up with for supper.

Last Night's Sauce

1 Small Eggplant
1/2 orange bell pepper 
1/2 red onion
1/2 sweet onion
Big handful of fresh Basil
3 sprigs of rosemary
3 sprigs of Thyme
3 Roma tomatoes
1 forgotten name yellow tomato
1 jalapeno -seeded
6 garlic cloves
1/2 cup beef stock
1 zucchini 
1 can of tomatoes
I roasted all the veggies in olive oil for about 40 minutes before I tossed them in the pot to simmer for another 15. Then I blended it up and served it over pasta.

It was a little too spicy for me...but not much.:o) Good stuff.

I'm excited by what I'll discover over the next couple of weeks.

I like the way it feels to figure this out.

(Disclaimer. I just had to toss this out because I remember how it would feel to read a cookbook or website that talked about eating from the cupboards. The people always had the most awesome things to choose from. I like that I'm one of those people now, but I haven't always been. It's been a slow and careful journey to buy only good food. Don't get discouraged if you think about doing something like this and it doesn't come together for you. It's taken me 10 years....and I'm obviously nowhere near where I want to be.:o)

1 comment:

HereWeGoAJen said...

That's a really good idea. We should really start doing that here.