Emptying Out the Kitchen

Gratitude Day 452

Fri., May 8, 2020

Mark 8:4 – His disciples responded, “What do you expect us to do about it? Buy food out here in the desert?”

It’s become my newest coronavirus distraction: how long can I wait before going to the grocery store?

A few weeks back, I decided that this was a great time to really clean out the food in the fridge, the pantry, and the freezer. The fridge needs a good cleaning. Wouldn’t it be easier if it were nearly empty? There are things in the pantry that, well, either need to be used or thrown out. And the freezer? I always like to see the bottom of our chest freezer at least once a year.

Most years, as Lent rolls around, I promise myself that this year, I’m really going to use up a lot of the food that we have. This lasts until my first trip to the grocery store. Soon, the pantry is as full as it has ever been.

But this time? I’m telling myself that I’m committed. Now that I’m telling you this as well, the pressure is on; right?

I am allowing for two caveats: milk and eggs. But that’s it.  

Slowly, I’ve been finding ways to use those things that should have been used up awhile ago. But weren’t. About a week, I ran out of white sugar. Now, I’m being creative with substitutions.

I am a self-proclaimed salad-aholic. Seriously, if the lettuce is fresh and crisp, I could eat one EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I chopped up the last Romaine lettuce on Monday. Hubby Rick had tacos and I had a taco salad. How long can I go without a salad? We shall see.

As time goes on, I’m becoming more creative. The only fresh vegetable that remains is a bag of carrots and a few slices of cucumber. We had an appetizer bar for lunch today: artichoke dip with toast squares, cocktail wieners, and dip with cucumbers. I know. It’s not completely carb friendly … but was really fun to see how many appetizers I could come up with!

Thankfully, there are veggies and fruit in the freezer. We have plenty of meat as well. I kept thinking that I would delay going to the story until later this week. After another evaluation of the reserves on hand, I’m going to see if I can stretch it another week or so. There are still plenty of condiments in the fridge yet … so we’re good to go.

So, what’s the big deal about seeing how much food I can use up before going to the grocery store? Turning this into some theological lesson might be a stretch … right?

As we go through this pandemic, I keep thinking that things really could be SO. MUCH. WORSE. I think back to World War II and how so many things were rationed. I have a couple of my grandparent’s ration cards yet. Sugar, tires, coffee. While some items have had limits on them at various times and this may happen again, generally speaking, we CAN buy what we need as well as what we want. I’m not sure that we have truly experienced a desert-like situation of not being able to get what we want at the grocery store.

I think of the thousands of people who have made much more significant sacrifices than I have in these last weeks. My sacrifice seems meager. Not enough. Too easy.

Another part of this little lesson and exercise is gaining a deeper appreciation for the large quantity of cheap food we have here in the United States. The average percentage of disposable income we spend on food is much less than other countries in this world. We have access to basically anything we want at any time of the year. I remember paying over $1 for a single orange when I lived in Kazakstan one winter. My monthly salary was supposed to be $150/month … when I got paid. The 69 cents I paid for an orange several weeks ago feels like a steal.

As we sit down to eat lunch together these days, Hubby Rick often says, “What concoction do we have today?” I’m not sure it’s a good sign when I have to explain what is before us.

Am I just trying to “trick” my brain into thinking this tiny, little sacrifice is, well, at least something? Of course, I am! But then again, I’m not trying to feed teenagers or kids. Or a picky eater.

Call it a COVID-19 coping mechanism. Call it reducing inventory. Call it what I should be doing on a more regular basis. Maybe it’s a little way to let my creative side come out these days as I figure out what’s for dinner … based solely on what’s in the house. We’re still a long way away from a desert-like kitchen. I squirrled away the ingredients for Rick’s favorite salad a couple weeks ago. He will be so surprised!

For trying to fully appreciate all the high-quality food we have available to us, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – for most of us, a reliable quantity of food is just a given. Having to wait for a cut of meat is truly a first-world problem. I pray that we can develop a deeper appreciation for the cheap, high-quality food source available to us.  Amen.

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