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[personal profile] chavvah
Last weekend, when I cleaned out my fridge, I threw out a ridiculous amount of food. And as I was hauling bags of garbage down to the basement (because they were too big to go down the garbage chute! gah!) I formulated a plan:

For now, I'm limiting my purchases of food to perishables (except for drinks) until I go through all the crap languishing in my cupboards. All the sauces and marinades and boxes of pasta, cans of soup and curry and tuna, peanut butters and jams and cake mixes--I am going to eat it all or die trying. Because that was a shocking amount of waste, y'all. Entirely aside from the expense, it was really irresponsible of me from an environmental perspective. I'm actually pretty ashamed of myself.

I realize that this is probably intuitive to a lot of people, but my mother is definitely of the overstuffed fridge and freezer school of homemaking.

Part of it also comes from the fact that I've spent a while trying to figure out how to shop and cook for just me. In the beginning I bought a ton of stuff that I didn't eat, and I realized I was only buying a lot of it because of habit. I also tended to buy in greater amounts because it's cheaper--which isn't much of a rationale when you end up throwing out the extra anyhow.

The result of this has been that I am being forced to put together meals using an odd assortment of whatever I have lying around. It's basically the MacGyver school of cooking. I've been doing it for about a week now.

And you know what? I'm pretty good at it!

This evening I made a really nice whole wheat rotini gratin. I made a basic bechamel (butter, flour, milk) and added in a nice bit of gouda I picked up last week and didn't end up using for its intended purpose. I used up a half-box of rotini that I'd been kicking around for a while, and I topped the dish with a leftover breadcrumbs-and-parmesan mix from when I last made eggplant parm. When I plated it I added a drizzle of balsamic, which is a trick I learned from having been served a similar dish at Rembrandt's Bistro. It really enhances the sharpness of the cheese and the creamy sweetness of the bechamel.

I had been thinking about making macaroni and cheese*, and were it not for the new plan I probably would have just gone out to the store and bought heavy cream and cheddar and macaroni without even thinking about what I had on hand. This was just as good--it satisfied my craving and left me with plenty to take to work in the morning.

Plus I got to use my hand blender, which I got for Christmas and am kind of enamoured of. ;)

*I saw it on Eat Shrink and Be Merry, which I shouldn't watch because it's bad for my self esteem, but the fact of the matter is that I don't have a gallbladder, and it is sometimes necessary for me to reduce the amount of fat in the food I make. I draw the line at some fucking played out plastic sour cream though. Ew.

Date: 2009-03-16 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am definitely of the "stop by the store and get what I need tonight" school of buying perishables, because otherwise, I end up with tons of veggies that rot in my fridge.

Date: 2009-03-16 11:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm a longtime fan of the MacGyver school of cooking. There's nothing quite so inspiring as having practically no food in the house...

Date: 2009-03-16 02:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hear you on the overshopping. I'm still trying to use all the tuna I bought at Costco awhile back.
I make a lot of mac and cheese because my daughter loves it. I make the roux as dark as I can get it without burning so that I can use less cheese since the sauce is so flavourful. It's a personal preference, though. My MIL nearly had a heart attack when she saw how brown the cheese sauce was. :)

Date: 2009-03-16 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love Eat, Shrink and Be Merry! Is that bad? I love finding ways to make healthier fudge and such.

Date: 2009-03-17 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Don't get me wrong, I am all for healthy eating and, as I mentioned, I try to cut the fat in my own cooking because of my own health issues. However, I don't like the way "healthy eating" and "weight loss" are always conflated, from the title of the show onwards. There are always so many clever puns about how this food is going straight to your hips, etc, and it gets on my nerves. I'm not doing this to lose weight.

Date: 2009-03-17 02:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
True enough. I've been trying in the last few months to make my food healthier and healthier and it's been really hard to make sure the focus is not on the weight loss but on the healthy part of things. And the media is the biggest culprit of that.


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