Now, don't get me wrong, I think having a ample food storage is critical, especially when you have a family. I have a pretty good food storage myself. It is a work in progress, but it is coming along nicely. The problem I have is we almost never actually eat from our food storage. It just sits there until it expires and I toss it. Here are the hiccups in my situation:
- We hardly ever eat canned food.
Now I could pop open a can of green beans and warm them up. Nothing wrong with that. Of course, it would be wasteful with my little family. An open can of green beans is basically a can of green beans in the garbage. We just don't like the taste of most canned food. Now give me a plate of fresh green beans sauteed in olive oil and garlic...now we're talking. The gist? We are spoiled rotten in the dinner department.
- What do I use in my food storage? Canned tomatoes, different sorts of beans, pasta, oats, cereal, honey and sometimes canned fruit, but only if there is no other fruit in the house. Sometimes Lydia gets mac & cheese or chicken noodle soup, but usually we have dinner leftovers for lunch. The rest of my supply - just sits. Sad little mashed potato pellets. I just can't bring myself to make you when I have the real thing.
- I have "Recipe A.D.D".
The night before I grocery shop I grab a stack of cookbooks and start a list of things I want to make (based on the food that is already in the fridge and any great grocery deals advertised in the paper). This usually takes about an hour. Sometimes the meals are crazy easy like - Store bought rotisserie chicken with fresh veggies and bread. Sometimes they are a little more complex.
The pros with this current cooking technique-
- I find it very soothing. Chopping, grating and sauteing are great decompression techniques. Something about picking fresh basil out of my herb garden...total Zen.
- I am learning a new skill. - I have never been the person who had "a thing". You know, some people are known for their sewing, some for their singing, some for their PowerPoint presentations...whatever. I don't really have "a thing". 15 years down the road I would love for people to say.."Oh Natalie. Yeah, she is a really great cook". - Of course I am still deciding on what "my thing" should be. I would also like to be great at a dozen other things. Developing my cooking just fits nicely in my full-time mom career at the moment.
- It is a very healthy way to eat. - Even when I get little else done besides coloring with Lydia on the floor, I feel successful when I am feeding my family and myself a healthy dinner.
- It is expensive. All food is expensive now, but constantly buying new spices and ingredients can really put a dent in the wallet. We can't even buy store brands for the most part because it is only the expensive brands that seem to be peanut allergy friendly. Store brands- don't bother. (Not even store brand fruit snacks. Nope. Only the crazy pricey ones.)
- It is time consuming. This part I don't mind so much. I save 30 minutes of Lydia's TV time for cooking dinner. When that is over, usually she comes and helps me. However, I am about to have baby number two. Things are going to change.
- Food storage is really hard to plan. - Our church recommends at least a three month supply of food and basic necessities. (A year is the ideal). How do you plan that when you hardly ever make the same meal twice? More so, how do you do that when you don't cook from a pantry?
I really want to move towards cooking more efficiently without sacrificing taste or nutrition. I will post some updates as I get good ideas. I would LOVE suggestions, recipes and thoughts on how I can make this a win-win situation. By the way, I do have about a years worth of chocolate chips stock piled, so that is something.
Now I'm off to figure out what to make for dinner.....wish me luck!