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Today is my birthday. Happiness in that I am older,( can't wait to turn 56 so when the kids call me an old crone, I can say YES I AM)the bills are paid, there is a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in the pantry and GOD in my heart. Even though I am sick with the flu, I am happy that I am HOME and not in the hospital like so many others. I also am still, birthday and sick going to have to do the laundry, pick up the house and make dinner.
Today I pulled pasta from the pantry, a can of tomato puree from the pantry, a garlic bulb from the garlic basket and will add some basil leaves from the plant that is struggling to survive in the planter on the dining table.There are mushrooms and broccoli in the frig. I have flat bread in the frig also so I might make a bruschetta just because it is my birthday. There is prosciutto in the freezer that I can top it with along with fresh basil, olive oil, and a little bit of shredded provolone cheese. Even with thinking what to take from the pantry that I acknowledge my kids call Mom's grocery store. I am thinking of how to make what I have last the longest possible time and yet eat well.
To me my pantry is not just come canned goods in a cabinet (on in my house on shelving units in the basement or under furniture depending on the house at the time). It's a life style.
It's a life style that reflects the importance of putting food on the table for my family (whether they are living with me or not) in good times and bad when there is no money for groceries.That choice comes from growing up without enough food and going hungry after my parents were divorced and Mom didn't handle the finances very well.
It's a lifestyle of choosing to buy $20 of groceries that can make a week's worth of food(not always balanced but filled the tummies at the table) or a delivery of pizza or fast food drive thru for one meal.
It's a lifestyle of gardening and processing that food for the pantry even when I had no place to grow anything. Containers on the porch and in front of windows during the winter and farmers markets and even the grocery stores when things were in season and cheap.
It's making food last and not wasting.It's using the little tiny bits that aren't worth a meal and turning them into casseroles, soups or in pasta or rice dishes. Or as hubby does, in to beans or eggs.
My dad who grew up during the Great Depression told me I was too frugal in my kitchen. I would be a match for his grandmother. To me that was high praise as she not only fed herself but her childrens' children and neighbors in the small community they lived in the foothills of the Appalachians in southern Ohio.
It's hoarding when you don't eat it and it goes to waste, it's a pantry when you do eat it and it doesn't go to waste.
It's making plan overs for the left overs.
It takes thought and sometimes more time then you want to give.I would rather sit and figure out how to make the food last then watch a show or movie on tv. I would rather read a cookbook than watch tv also.
But think about this..
take 40% of your grocery money and throw it directly in to the trash can...think I am crazy? The average family of 4 throws away 40% of the food they buy in a month...SAME THING.
Buy 20 lbs of potatoes and toss them in the trash can....WHAT? The average person tosses 20 lbs of food in the trash each month.
On the average of a 4 person family, $2,275 a year of food goes in the trash. That is around $189.58 cents a month.
I had some families take pictures of food left on the plates after each meal and pictures of what they threw away that went bad in the frig,freezer and pantry. Only one family had less than a plastic grocery bag of waste and it was going to the compost pile. Which means there was no meat, meat by products or oil/fats in it. The others...well lets just say that they now wrap the leftovers on their children's plates for snacks that they always ask for later and soups, casseroles etc are now served a couple times a week. The best news was the one family went from $1000 a month for groceries (no non-food) to $400 a month for groceries and was able to fully stock the freezer they were able to buy with the extra money.
If you lost your job TODAY, would you have food to serve your family a month from now WITHOUT government assistance or the local food pantry?
When we moved here, my youngest was worried we would go without food because the only thing she saw in my pantry cupboard was pickles and beets. Bills were high due to medical bills and the outlay of moving expenses(moved closer to hubby's work). My son in law that moved us started laughing at her. Informed her that yes the cupboard only had pickles and beets. Under the bed was canned beans and canned meats, under the couch was canned veggies and under the chairs and love seat was canned fruit. There was canned goods in the office closet, canned goods in the tv room closet, home canned soups was in the garage and dried goods stored in the furnace closet. We weren't going to go hungry. She immediately called and asked me if I could give her some canned soup.