March 23, 2010

The Parable of the Pantry


Once upon a time there was a pantry. It started out empty, but then it slowly developed a layer of food items in the back that became permanent residents. Soon that single layer grew into two, then three. Those items once had a purpose, a mission to fill as the key ingredient of a recipe that never came to fruition. But soon that food became invisible as people would look in the pantry that was half full and still declare that there wasn't any food to eat and insist on going to the grocery store to bury that food behind more desirable items.

This is the story of my personal pantry conundrum.

In preparation to move in a couple weeks I decided that I wasn't going to be moving any food. It is a tremendous waste of resources to move food -- time, energy, and packing material. Quite inefficient (and I am the self-crowned queen of efficiency.) So I launched a game a few weeks ago called "Pantry Surprise" with my children. How much could we empty our pantry without going to the grocery store? The game started out ok -- pancakes, mac-n-cheese, chicken noodle soup and casseroles. The more layers I got through the more challenging the game became and my critics started having more of a voice. Frosting-less cake apparently isn't acceptable. Last night was a weak beef stroganoff using a mixture of rotini and elbow macaroni pasta topped with chow mein noodles. Lance asked what country the food was from. I stuttered through an answer. Now I'm staring at Hoisin sauce, hot chocolate, generic Cheerios, spinach pasta, croutons and marshmallow cream. This could be an interesting week.

There is a stomach-turning euphoria I have about every new creation that empties that pantry. Is mine the only pantry like this? I dare you to take the pantry challenge.