Monday, May 10, 2010

A Lot Like Hitting a Telephone Pole

Every Saturday, after going to the farmer’s market, LA and I visit as many yard sales as possible, in a quest for cheap old furniture in need of a little love. A few Saturdays back, we found two end tables for $1 each. Score! We happily paid the sellers our $2, then loaded the tables into the back seat of my car (after chasing a giant spider off of one of them). As we were backing out of the driveway, we were jolted to an abrupt stop. We’d hit something, but what? We thought maybe it was another car. No. The couch sitting on the curb? No. Then we saw the telephone pole that was directly behind the car. We sheepishly drove away, too embarrassed to leave the car to assess the damage. After putting some distance between us and the onlookers, we pulled over. We had to see it. “There must be a giant dent where we hit the pole.” “It’s going to be huge.” We found a small scratch on the bumper that wasn’t there before. We hit the pole with such force that the sunroof opened. We nearly died (of embarrassment, anyway)! Yet there was only a small scratch.

Why am I telling you all of this? I started my kitchen escapades one week ago. I have eaten two meals in a restaurant, and the other 19 at home. 19 meals! Three meals per day, seven days per week, minus the two meals out. Surely I’ve made a large dent in the inventory in both pantry and freezer. I’ve hit it with such force! No, there’s barely a scratch. You have to look closely to see it, and even then, you have to know what you’re looking for. I attempted to eat some “chow mein” last night, but I threw it out. Maybe I’ll give the two remaining packages to LA; he seems to like them. I’ve eaten spaghetti and meatballs, Rice-a-Roni, beets, cereal, bacon. Even Girl Scout cookies and Chex Mix. And I’ve just scratched the surface. Sadly, I’m already tired of my choices. I vow that I will never again buy five packets of instant mashed potatoes, simply because they’re on sale. If I’m smart, I’ll never buy them again, period. I’m trying to consume the least interesting foods first, which will leave the good stuff for the end. As my reward. My logic is that, if I eat the gross stuff to start, I won’t still have a stockpile when I’m through eating the things that I want. You don’t have to agree with my logic. The other option would be for me to give away all the food that I dread having to eat. If I did that, I’m just wasting money that I need right now. And why did I buy it if I dreaded eating it?

None of the 19 meals this week would qualify as interesting to anyone reading this. I didn’t find them interesting when I was eating them. How much can really be said about a roast beef sandwich? I did turn leftover instant mashed potatoes into soup. The result tasted like instant mashed potato soup. I contemplated making something with my nine pounds of butter, maybe brioche. On second thought, I would have to a) eat, or b) find room for the brioche. The butter is just hanging out in the freezer, not hurting anyone, so it may as well stay there until I need to make bread. Or a cake. Or put a whole stick on a baked potato, like the Buttertons do in the commercial.

The most difficult time for me in this first week was our trip to the farmer’s market. They had strawberries. They had tomatoes. They had pie! I couldn’t buy any of it. I didn’t even buy any of Deb’s olive tapenade. Secretly, I wish I’d cheated and bought some of that. The best part of my experiment is the one big lesson that I’ve already learned: it does not make sense for me to buy packaged foods or anything that makes more than two servings. I get bored with it, and it’s not good for me anyway. Once I’m able to buy a variety of food items again, I will buy only what I need. I will not be on Door Knock Dinners; that show isn’t even on anymore. So I can stop stockpiling! Until then, I still have Tuna Helper and Rice-a-Roni waiting for me.

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