So, I’ve said before that I’m a terrible housekeeper. This is definitely partly laziness, but only part. The rest is depression-related, and being in pain a lot of the time. Most of the time when it’s hot and humid, so summer? Not my season. However something got jarred loose recently. It wasn’t the Prozac because it wasn’t providing the motivation go-juice I was hoping for. Rather it was some kind of weird shift in the way I was thinking that also accounts for my uptick in reading.
My point, and I do have one, is that I’ve been slowly making progress in this midden I call an apartment. And on Tuesday, after our house guests left, I spent three solid hours cleaning out the pantry area of my kitchen. Okay, to be honest, I don’t have an actual pantry. I wouldn’t even have what I have if I hadn’t insisted on rebuilding my closet before I moved in to give myself a walk-in. And frankly I don’t really need it, but there you are. I could have had a proper pantry plus a bigger closet, but I lacked the foresight. Anyway, this is what I’ve got:
The shelves are about a foot deep. I’ve kept cookbooks on them, dishes, and food, and by far the most useful of those three is the pantry function. Everything is to hand. Or was, until I began to expand to a huge metal shelving unit that ended up on my porch where I have my kitchen table. By the time I knew I had to get this cleaned up, both areas were jammed with food, much of it out of date.
This was not good. Alas, I am impulsive, and while at the store I am certain that, yes, I’ll be making that boeuf en daube for dinner at the end of the week, along with a salade Lyonnaise, and fresh bread. And then I get the groceries home and end up freezing the meat so it doesn’t spoil, and tossing out the green sludge that was the salad greens. Dinner ends up being a hunk of bread — not homemade — and some cheese.
So I began to sort things on Saturday. Open things that weren’t fairly new went out. Cans and packages that were out of date, but looked okay, went in bags which are going to be put out for scavengers. No, I’m not trying to kill anyone. If I wasn’t certain the things were safe I would have tossed them. But if I haven’t used them in all this time, the chances are good I never will. Someone else should get a chance to use them. I filled six bags and emptied 24 jars. What I ended up with you see above. This is now all the non-perishable food I have. Everything is in the kitchen. I’m pretty proud of that.
I’ve cut way down on things like beans, grains, pasta and the like because grains get rancid after a while, and beans toughen I kept only what I’m hoping I’ll use within the next months. I cut way down on condiments, keeping the few I really love. I tossed a lot of soup. I don’t know why I haven’t eaten my soup. I love soup! But I buy it and don’t eat it.
Along the way I found things I never thought I had, like Beluga lentils (I was certain I’d have to pick up a bag of them at Fresh Farms or Tony’s.) and balsamic vinegar (now I actually have too much.) And I discovered that I did not, in fact, have much powdered sugar or any red lentils even though I was sure I had mountains of them hidden somewhere. Also? No millet. WTH?
So today I did an inventory and put the results in Keep, and I have to tell you it did my heart good to make a list of everything in that pantry to set beside my shopping list, so I know what it is I really do need, and what I absolutely can’t be buying more of. I did that while running a load of empty jars in the dishwasher. Could I be more efficient?
Yes, I could. I can inventory my spice cabinet, clean out my refrigerator and freezer, and rearrange my storage space. To celebrate I got a much-needed kitchen accoutrement, a bread box! I’m tired of filling my fridge with loaves of bread all summer so they don’t go moldy immediately. I’m getting some silica packets to store with the bread to help with the humidity, and I’m looking forward to long-lived loaves that haven’t been virtually dessicated by my fridge.
Work, reward, work, reward. Now if I could just stop dragging my feet over my ghostwriting…