using up

19 Jun

Of all the things I absolutely hate about moving, the one I find actually nice is using up our food.

Over the past few months, our apartment has been invaded by bugs.  (You’re perfectly welcome to inwardly say, “Ew.” I do.)  We’ve sprayed.  We’ve Boraxed.  We’ve bug-bombed.  But the disgusting little buggers (pun intended) keep on coming back.  So we’re taking the opportunity to move to a nice little two-bedroom townhouse with hardwood floors and more space in a lovely wooded neighborhood within walking distance of Duke.

When we’re staying in one place, it’s easy for me to hoard.  The Nutella is for a special occasion.  I’ll use the beans later.  The things in the freezer will keep forever.  But as the move draws near, I do less shopping and more pulling together meals from the boxes and jars in our freezer and pantry.  The popcorn jar grows empty.  The small bit of rice in the bag is used up.  The chicken breasts and blueberries in the freezer find their way into dinners and smoothies.

It’s a small exercise but one that reminds me to be mindful, to pare down, to examine what I have.

And to be creative.  A ripening mango plus the juice from two forlorn limes, sugar, and water makes delicious popsicles.  Leftover shredded chicken plus a flour tortilla, some chopped tomato, a few drops of Ranch, and a sprinkle of bacon bits makes a good wrap. A dollop of homemade pesto plus shredded chicken, mayonnaise, and the last piece of baguette makes a delicious sandwich.

“What we need is here,” writes Wendell Berry.  As the cabinets are emptied and the popcorn jar holds on to its last kernels, I think he’s right.

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One Response to “using up”

  1. Jen June 19, 2009 at 9:56 pm #

    there is something about the creativity necessary for using what you have that is incredibly empowering…makes me wanna sing…Man! I Feel Like A (Goddess of a)Woman!

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