Monday, December 3, 2007

A week of "want"

I am doing an experiment. Starting right now. Here's the deal, we have "no food" in the house. By "no food" I mean that if I was going to go to the grocery store today it would be a major trip. We have no bread, only 1/4 gallon of Whole milk, minimal cheese, minimal to none of some other staples. We have an ongoing list on the fridge that has 10 or so items on it that I would normally buy at the store. We even have minimal stuff in the freezer since I emptied it out pretty well before Thanksgiving to make room for ice and stuff. But I am not going to go the store this week. Even for bread or milk. I am going to pretend that we are stuck in house because of a blizzard or something (well, at least as far as grocery shopping is concerned - I am going to go to Playgroup and my book club, etc.) We will drink powdered milk (even Asher who is still under 2 and therefore supposed to have Whole milk). I will attempt to make bread (if you have a good recipe, send it my way). We will eat the food that we already have. Because really, we have TONS of food in this house.

This is all motivated by a ridiculous old Christmas movie that Naomi was watching last night. One of the stories was about two little children. They were walking around barefoot in the snow collecting scraps of wood to bring home. When they got home their mother broke a piece of bread into two pieces and gave it all to them. The bread was so hard they had to dunk it in water to be able to eat it. The children said they were still hungry at the end of the meal and their mother burst into tears because there was no more food. Then the children went to bed with holey blankets and dreamed of food and presents, etc. When they woke up some neighbors had set up a feast for them and the mother stood in the background sobbing with happiness.

It got me thinking about how ungrateful I am. My house is full of food. FULL. But it's not the food I want. So I go buy more food. A couple of weeks ago Richard asked if he could take some things out of the pantry to take to work for a food drive. I said sure but asked that he let me pick them out so that he didn't take anything I was planning on using soon. I went through and picked out six cans that had been in there for a while. Then I looked at the dates. All but one had expired. So I picked out five more cans. Two of those had expired. I feel terrible that in this world that really is full of people in need, I am letting food go bad in my pantry because it's not what I "crave".

So no new groceries for me this week. But we won't be starving. We have powdered milk. We have pasta. We have beans and rice. We have soups. We have canned fruits and veggies. We have ingredients to make bread. We have eggs. We have candy. We have anything we need. And if we're missing something - we'll do without, but we'll live. We'll live happily. With full tummies. And we will be thankful to God for all our blessings.

Here is a picture of my pantry as of this morning. Proof that nobody in this house is going to starve in the least this coming week.

*Ok - I just realized that maybe I need baby formula. That would have to be an exception to the "no groceries" rule this week. But if I have to go this week, I'll only get that and I'll stock up so that if a real winter storm hit, we would be OK.


Mark A said...

Wow that is really cool.

Los Elieson said...

I have totally done that before - and it's painful, but needed. I always have to do it when we're moving, and what a bugger to use food that doesn't suit your taste of the day. Good practice. Practice for what, I'm not sure honestly, but whatever, you get the idea!

cworth said...

we had a very lean summer and i was amazed at what we could do without and still be perfectly fine. i just wish i could remember to be like that all the time, i forget when there's money in the bank... anyway we got pretty into the bread making and this is our favorite recipe. it calls for fast rising yeast and we didn't have that so we just let it rise for 1 hour instead of 20 minutes.
1 3/4 c all purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 package fast-rising yeast
1/2 c milk
1/2 c water
1/4 c honey
2 tablespoons margarine
1 egg white
1 tbsp cold water

combine 3/4 c all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. heat milk, water, honey and margarine to 130 degrees or until hot to the touch. add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir well.
add remaining flour to make a soft but not sticky dough. knead dough on a floured surface until springy, about 5 minutes. roll out to an 8x15 inch rectangle. from long side, roll into a loaf.
pinch seams of loaf to securely close; place on a baking sheet. cover loaf with a towel. let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. preheat oven to 400 degrees.
combine egg white and cold water in a small bowl with a fork. with a serrated knofe, make 4 diagonal slashes in top of loaf. brush egg white mixture over loaf. bake about 25 minutes.

we usually double it and make 2 loaves. i like it because it only rises once. we've used only all purpose flour before too and it works well too. good luck!

Nancy Clark said...

great idea; can't wait to see what you learn from it so i can learn vicariously. maybe next week you'll turn your utilities off?

Angela said...

It's kind of sad, but I've used procrastination as a budgeting tool over the years. When we ran out of money during all our lean graduate school years, I'd just go on a spending freeze. (I just typed in an example of a staple I procrastinated buying for an entire summer but then got embarrassed.) Still, skipping a week of grocery shopping is one of my favorite budget-stretching tactics. You DON't actually starve, you get creative, and the next week you spend only a bit more than you would have anyway.

Jenny said...

Can't wait to hear how it goes...