Friday, January 17, 2014

Project 'Cook-And-Eat-All-The-Food-In-The-House-Before-Joe-Can-Buy-More'

My husband is a good cook.  Scratch that.  He is an excellent cook.  Self-taught.  Comes from a long line of fabulous cooks.  His mother.  His grandmother.  And I'm sure his great-grandmother before them.

Joe is a foodie.  He loves to eat food.  He loves to cook food.  He loves to cook food for others. But I think most of all, he loves to shop for food.

He likes nothing better than to look at food in grocery store aisles.  He pores over the fresh fruit and veg bins.  He is on a first name basis with the local butcher.  He mail orders non-perishable food items from the U.S.A.

And oh my goodness, you should see him during our summers in Europe!  We go to more outdoor markets than museums. His greatest pleasure is to wander around French grocery stores examining all the foods we do not have here in Canada.  Pig's brains and lamb sweetbreads.  Tinned octopus and cheeseburger potato chips.  He is fascinated by it all.  Me on the other hand?  I just get a glazed look on my face and go sit in the car.

I get it.  Cooks need to have a lot of different foods in the house.  They need a ready supply of staples like flour, rice, oil, eggs, milk, sugar and salt.  Cooks need to be constantly surrounded by a variety of foods and spices.

But I think things may have gone too far around here.  We have 8 different kinds of salt.  EIGHT!  Three types of rice.  Huge sacks of different flours.  And multiples of EVERYTHING!  And I mean everything.

I tell Joe he has FBA.  Food Buying Addiction.

We were throwing ideas around for a New Year's resolution and I suggested he challenge himself by cooking only the food that is currently in the house.  No more shopping for meat, tinned foods, dried foods or condiments.  Of course he can buy fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, eggs, etc.

Surprisingly, he was open to my idea.  (I've suggested it before and let's just say he wasn't so intrigued.)  I told him I would take before and after photos and document the project on my blog.  Just think of the funny meals he could make!

May I remind you that we are empty nesters.  There are only two of us living in this house.

So here goes...

When we renovated our kitchen two years ago, I naively thought that these 5 shelves in our pantry cupboard would be more than enough space to house most of the non-perishable food in our house.  I thought wrong.

 Shelf 1

 Shelf 2

 Shelf 3

 Shelf 4

 Shelf 5

I took photos of all the food in our house.  Because one needs to have a baseline to be able to measure one's progress.

Cupboard above the pantry.

 The refrigerator door

 The refrigerator

The refrigerator freezer

 Joe took me at my word when he learned he could only buy fresh food until the end of this project.  Hence the HUGE 25 pound bag of carrots...

 ...and box of onions...

...and big burlap sack of potatoes in the garage.

 More unearthed food in the garage.   A few fancy French cheeses at the bottom of a cooler.

 The right side of our chest freezer.  Blueberries anyone?

 The trays in our chest freezer.

 The left side of our chest freezer.  

 Shelves of food in our laundry room.  CHRISTMAS PUDDING ANYONE?

 Shelf of food above the furnace.

 Bags of salt and other sundries on a counter in the laundry room.

 Cupboard of food in our laundry room.

See what I mean about multiples?  (And there is currently an unopened jar of capers in the fridge bringing the total to four.)  WHO THE HELL NEEDS FOUR JARS OF CAPERS IN THEIR HOUSE?

 Seven jars of jam tucked way into the back of a drawer in the laundry room.

 Looks like we'll be eating pasta and noodles for a while.

So.  Where do we go from here?

We have been eating out of our cupboards for a week now and the meals have been nothing short of exemplary.

 A huge mac 'n cheese casserole

 Carrot soup (Joe doesn't even like carrots.)

Roasted duck breast and pan-fried potatoes on top of a kale salad with shredded beets and carrots.

I will keep you posted about Joe's progress with this project.  I am sure we will have a few laughs.  Or not.    But whatever it is, it will be interesting.

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