Wednesday, June 01, 2016

The Experiment

We just defrosted our deep freeze – a process that generally always surprises us.  We have a small chest freezer in the basement, and for the most part it is full most of the time.  So there I sat in the middle of several boxes full of food, when my husband murmurs the line, “I bet we could make it a long while on just the food in our house.”

It was an oddly convicting statement.

We’ve just made it through the month of May.  I plan our meals and we buy most of our groceries by the month.  It’s been a smart, economical way to manage our family food needs.  But since it is the end of the month, I was getting ready to make a whole new meal plan and a fairly sizable grocery run.

Until I saw the deep freeze contents.

The piles around me screamed “abundance” loud and clear.  The pantry cupboards in my kitchen were shouting their own wealth, as was my stocked refrigerator.  We tend to just accumulate food as it goes on sale.  Which is good and wise and frugal.  But it also desensitizes me. 

I don’t have numbers, but I understand that there’s a large portion of the world that lives without the convenience of a deep freeze, a refrigerator or a pantry.  In my lavishness, I’ve been known to open the doors to these areas and say something ridiculous like “We don’t have anything to eat.”  The truth is, I have too much to eat.  I have so many options that I find it difficult to settle for less than the choicest of foods.  Maybe that box of crackers isn’t our favorite kind, but they are perfectly edible and satisfying in their own way.  I’m spoiled.  Very very spoiled.

So after taking some inventory of what we have, my husband and I decided to try something – a fun challenge, if you will.  For one month, we will not be buying groceries.  We are going to allow ourselves to buy perishables like milk and eggs.  But for this month, we are going to try to buy no new food items. 

This experiment is going to be seasoned with grace.  Let’s be honest, “surviving” off the steaks in the freezer doesn’t sound like a difficult thing to do.  This won’t be giving up eating good food – but more simply being content with what we have, be it steaks or hot dogs.

This will certainly challenge my cooking creativity.  And there will surely be times when a certain thing sounds good, but we will be forced to confront a bit of our spoiled existence.  I’m hopeful that in those moments, I will think of those who are not able to open a cupboard or a refrigerator to choose.  There are far too many who will go to bed hungry tonight.  I won’t be one of those people, but I want to learn to lean on the hands that have carried me since birth a little more.  I want to reach for contentment and fight for satisfaction rather than turning to something I can buy.


Lisa said...

If you keep track of the meals you make this month, I'd be interested to see your menu "plan". (Whether it's actually planned ahead of time, or just written down after the fact.) I often intend to use what I have, but then I end up buying supplemental things or try a new recipe, and I don't use up as much of my food stash as I'd like. Your month might be a good incentive for me to try it next month. Like you, my freezers and cupboards are quite full, and I'm doing a freezer meal cooking night on Friday which will add to what's already there. Are you allowing yourselves any fresh fruit and bread (if you don't have it frozen), or just eggs and milk?

Miz Jean said...

I would happily show you a copy! We are allowing fresh fruit and veggie purchases as well. I need my salad! :) There are no hard and fast rules for this challenge/experiment. We just decided to menu plan based on what we have. If we didn't have a main ingredient, that meal didn't make it on the plan.

Lisa said...

A copy would be great. There is really no reason why I couldn't do this. We buy ahead and in meat in bulk, but I tend to get caught up on the ingredients I DON'T have in the house for recipes. I'm not a very daring cook. :) Good luck!

Rozenbooms said...

How did your experiment go? We did it also and I loved not going to the grocery store!! So awesome to get the freezer and cupboards cleaned out.