Friday, October 24, 2008

My Attempt

I'm trying to clean out the pantry. Not clean as in CLEAN, (like that would ever happen... unless there were ants... which there were last spring... so it did happen), but clean as in using-up-non-perishable-food-stuffs-that-have-followed-us-from-house-to-house-over-the-years.

The definition of the word non-perishable has come into question here.

We just have a lot of things floating around in our pantry that have kept us company for a very long time. You totally know what I'm taking about. They're usually smaller, packaged things that hide out in the dark recesses of places you don't tend to reach back into. (i.e. behind the spices, or buried under the various tea boxes I keep on the third shelf) Once in a while they'll pop their heads out if I rummage around enough. I'll think, "Hey! It's that chili mix from 2003! I should use that!" Then I stack everything back up and it goes unnoticed for another nine months.

So, I'm trying to clean it out.

There's some statistic cooking and household magazines use to make us feel really guilty. Something like, "You could feed a family of six gourmet five course meals for 142 days with whatever you have in your pantry when YOU think you need to go grocery shopping."

Okay, so maybe it's not that extreme, but seriously. You get the point. Their trick works and we feel guilty. (However, I did NOT ever feel guilty when they said I could save landfills X amount of waste by using cloth diapers. I'll let someone else feel guilty about that one and start washing out poop filled rags in the toilet. Blech.)

(Is this where I get angry comments from mothers who use cloth diapers? Probably. But please know that I have the utmost respect for you and what you do. It is something my gag reflex and I choose to not do. I'm very proud of you.)

Back to the pantry...

The other afternoon I put the makings for spaghetti on the counter so I would not rush in the door after football-soccer-home to change-soccer and forget what it was I would bless my family with for dinner. A-HA! The cowboy boot chili mix! Let's face it, I would never actually USE the spicy chili packet to make chili, but the boot shaped pasta was so cute! (Yes, there was boot shaped pasta with the chili mix.) See, you thought I was joking about the 2003 thing. Nope. We were given this in a house-warming basket when we bought our first home back in Denver. I'm sure they tacked the price of the gift onto our mortgage somewhere, so I wasn't just going to throw it away. I still have the black bean chili mix, too, if you're wondering.

Oh, I was so creative. It stretched the spaghetti. It made for a fun, colorful, festive plate of pasta. The kids were curious, "Mom, what IS that?" Yes, they showed their appreciation so much. As did my husband, "Babe, please don't ever do that again."

I am a creative and resourceful homemaker, and my family recognizes and is thankful for that.

Yesterday morning I made chocolate/raspberry coffee, of which the expiration date eludes me. I think it's made at least one move with us, and has just always been there between the tea and apple cider box (in which we keep all sorts of things other than apple cider) to greet me. The beauty of the microwave is that I'm also drinking it right now, as I type this. (Coffee experts of the world are horrified that I would drink the same coffee from the same pot two days in a row. I think my record may be four. *gasp*) It may taste a little bitter. That had been my fear, which is why I never made it for my Tuesday morning small group. (Ann, are you thanking me right now? Except that it's strong, so you would probably have liked it. If you come over today there's one more cup in the pot. If not, I'll drink it tomorrow morning.)

So, my foray into helping the environment and economy by being resourceful with things I already have is a great success. And, although it really does nothing for either of them, I feel better about saying that. Especially since I'm lying about the great success part. Maybe mediocre success? Well, I've created more space in the pantry, at any rate. Sheesh.

What's in YOUR pantry that you keep forgetting about? Come on. I KNOW someone can outdo my 2003 chili mix. (We also have slurpee mixes from 2000.)
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6 Comments:

Moore Fam said...

I am totally drinking reheated french press coffee from this morning! ...does that count? but 4 days? 4? days? wow! :)

Steve 'n Jenn Dassatti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve 'n Jenn Dassatti said...

Haha, actually I can. Steve and I have been going through my parents pantry and fridge...we have found so many things that were beyond their expiration date. But the one thing that we found in the spice cupboard...Hershey cocoa mix that was so old the company told us not to use it. The container looked like it was from the 1980s.

Katie Glathar said...

I have to admit I have fixed something maybe 5 years old. But the awful part is that I actually cooked it and as we were eating it I asked Mike if it was weevils that were floating on the top. Come to find out. Yes it was. Watch out for them really old things in your pantry!

Amy said...

I have a can of pumpkin pie that I am pretty sure is from 98'ish, but I can't find a date on it. However both Daniel and I agree that we at least brought it with us from Virginia, and possibly Hawaii. I DO make pumpkin pie, but I make it from actually pumpkins (go figure :) ) I am not sure how I came to be in possession of the can o' pumpkin.. but apparently it holds so deep sentimental meaning to me, since it still sits in my pantry.. through possibly 3 states, and at least 4 seperate residences.

MomOfDudes said...

I decided to take your challenge. For canned goods I have a can of sweetened condensed milk without the label that I have no idea how long has been in there, I just know what it is by the size of the can. Someday I will use it to make some gooey bar cookies.

For dry goods, I have a one of those dip mixes you get at a craft faire. At least 5 years old...

You totally cracked me up cause I have other teas in a cider box too!!!