Day 17 of the challenge. Dinner tonight: leek and potato soup and homemade bread. (Above, pulled pork on buns, on the weekend with my sister Suzie.)
I am, I'll admit, spending more time than ever thinking about food. Voting in my mind about what to do with the very last onion. Whether the leftover pulled pork is better in a pie or in homemade pita pockets or what's going to happen when we run out of sugar.
We are now officially out of fresh veg. We were out of fruit before my glorious friend Linda exchanged milk and an enormous bag of pears in exchange for looking after her two smallies.
I'm a bit amazed at how fluid the barter economy is. As long as you have something to swap, in our case it tends to be eggs, sometimes bread or biscuits, you could much stay out of a supermarket indefinitely.
I was giving Adam a bit of a stocktake tonight as we're making dinner for friends tomorrow night and we have guests coming for the weekend. I wondered if it was time to chuck it in.
But actually, we still have food. Probably like you do. There's dried lentils and borlotti beans and polenta and cous cous and there's still flour and rice. I reckon we keep on until we lose our sense of humour about it.
Tonight, after the kids had gone to bed and Adam had gone to Rural Fire Service training, I roasted off a big cup of peanuts and made them into yummy peanut butter. I made a vanilla rice pudding in little cups as treats for the kids tomorrow. I made toasted meusli. I made yoghurt. I turned my sourdough sponge (stage one) into sourdough (stage two) and left it to rise until tomorrow. It's time consuming. But I love this stuff. I'm so happy to be back in the swing of breadmaking. I didn't realise how much I missed it.
Milk is my main issue, and there's a wonderful local farmer putting her gorgeously cared-for Jerseys up for auction in July. We're going to be there. (Of course I can't buy a cow without my Dad, and he's not back until June.) In the meantime, I ran out of milk over Easter and went up to the dairy I've been trading with, and there was a relief milker there. I'd never jeopardise the confidentiality of my arrangement, so I didn't even drive in. Hmmm. Another family might have just trained themselves off milk. Not this family. Particularly not my under-two-year-old. I drove over to a friend's place who trades milk for veggies from a different dairy, and asked if I could borrow a cup. They gave me three litres.
I feel differently about leftovers now. When there's less, it means more. And time is valuable.
When a kid asks for jam on toast, and then abandons it, it's a hand-kneaded and baked loaf with homemade butter and hand-picked homemade jam for heaven sakes. That's 'expensive' chooks scraps.
We're making everything stretch! The pulled pork re-appeared as a meat and vegetable pie. Delicious.
And with the leftover pie pastry and egg wash, the last of Karina's spinach and Leanne's leeks went, with my homemade cream cheese, into a pasty. Quick and easy. Fresh and yummy. No waste.
Melanie nailed it when she described her son looking at the pantry and saying there was nothing to eat. When she brought home the shopping bags there was no space to put the food. Exactly!
We're looking for instant. Convenient.
And that's why although I'm not sure how much longer we can go without apples or fresh vegies, we'll keep going for a bit longer. It's good for us. And heck it's cheap. I bet we all have a good collection of dried beans in our pantries. I found a little box of papadums in a corner on the weekend and they inspired me to make a tasty green curry with pork and rice and papadums! (I had the curry paste already – no fresh ginger or lemongrass here at the moment! It was quick and delicious. Perfect fast food.)
Take away food isn't always that expensive, but it is extremely expensive if we're eating it while there is good food in fridge, freezer and pantry. Particularly if it's taking the place of something perishable.
You could do this.
If it wasn't arbitrarily dropped on you, like this challenge was, and you could be a bit prepared, I wonder if you could go a whole month without shopping at all.