Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring Cleaning..


As many of you experience this Spring phenomenon, called Spring Cleaning, I was struck by it too…and turned my attention to the refrigerator and the kitchen pantry. Before I can proceed, A Fair Warning for Hubby dear:
You've been restricted from this post!  Keep off MR!!

You see, I am already so guilt ridden and I don't want him to make me feel worse. I dumped 2 huge garbage bags full of stuff. (Or, maybe more.. I don’t want to know, I want to forget.)  Vegetables and fruits from the refrigerator, unused stuff from the pantry, and kitchen gadgets and accessories that I haven't used in years....and so much more found their way to the trash can last week.

I was so sure when I bought the spinach a few weeks/month(?) ago...that I'd make something of it.  I’m obsessed with brain food, well, that’s what the vacant mind does in winter, wants to save the brain from Brain Freeze!

So, boxes of blueberries, Spinach, and other berries found their way to my refrigerator...but, after a while, they didn't find their way to the table.  Either I was too tired to do the 3 tire wash...or, there wasn’t enough time. 

I never make resolutions, but, Its times like this that force me into making one.. The one on my mind right buy the bare minimum to keep my kitchen functioning.

Stats show that Americans are throwing away almost $1000 dollars of groceries every year and maybe more. WE hate doing it. Don’t we? I know, coz, I feel the dislike. It just feels wrong.  The guilt that comes with it. Unbearable! The action itself, Inexcusable!

The  refrigerators have their limitations. Its Ethylene, the culprit gas that builds up, that can make food go bad quickly, so, some refrigerators in the market have this capability of cleaning up this ethylene build up…keeping the vegetables fresh, for longer.  Sub Zero Inc, has bought this tech from NASA. So, every fifteen minutes the air in the refrigerator is cleaned of Ethylene!  The humidity is corrected. Can you believe the technology we’re getting access to? Still…we throw away so much.

First off..why do we buy all that?!  It’s a question I’m trying to solve resolve…for more than a decade now. The children have made this problem even more complicated for me now. My Mom…she was shocked to look at my pantry.

“You use all these?!” , she had asked with utter disbelief.

There is so much food at home….yet, most times, the children, these cute devils, they can’t find food!!!  They make me feel like this incompetent mom…! The pantries are full of 3-4 kinds of cereals and other goodies but, nothing seems edible. WHy?!!  It did seem like that when we were buying them.

I’ve realized, I’m one of the bigger culprits too. WHy do I have to buy all this stuff? I thought I had found avoid buying extra, to avoid buying for some ambitious-no-show meals.  Mainly, I make sure I don’t go grocery shopping hungry. 

A hungry tummy can plan a lot of dishes which  needs a lot of ingredients...which in turn can make you buy so much. The mind, it knows the ratio of the times I’ve actually made those meals..still..I makes the obvious choice. To BUY!!

When you are standing in front of those aisles of fresh greens, the chameleon in the mind, gets to work. It convinces the reasonable side .... "You should do it! You Can Do iT"  I am trapped.

Hubby dear knows this...he has called me to make sure i had had my lunch before i left.  Do you have a list when you go?  Most times I rely on the aisles to remind me of stuff that I need for my pantry.

Most times, it works…and…Most times, I end up with 2-3 packs of the same stuff . This time, it was the red chilies.  I ended up buying a pack of red chilies which I already had in the pantry … Hubby dear managed to get one from one of his visits to the grocer. So, we now have 3 packs of red chilies waiting to see the light of day…before they are ground.

Anybody looking at my pantry must think….Oh! this family loves hot food. We do…but, not like this.  So, hopefully we are set up with our supply of mirchis for the next part of the year…and now I’ve planted a few, that spring is here!

Grocery shopping can be very challenging.  Sometimes it’s a breeze too.  Especially when you are not hungry.  Then,  the visual of me cutting limitless pounds of okra or green beans is so vivid.  The standing visual, at the counter for 45 minutes to an hour just washing and cutting the vegetables.  Even the “donda kai” or “parmal”, as I call it, doesn’t feel so appetizing compared to  the effort.  I end up picking the eggplant or the squash.

Imagine the effort needed to pick through countless sprigs of methi leaves, sufficient to feed my family of 6, the washing, cutting cooking…OMG!…The Methi Aalo doesn’t’ seem so appetizing anymore too.  The soft fluffy phulkas isn’t enticing too…if I consider the whole package of making the dough, the rotis, and then the clean up.  I’m fine with brown rice. That’s more than half day of continuous standing … and that wouldn’t be all for the day would it.

I might as well really walk outside for 2 hours than hurt my knees and hips standing like this.

But, many times, the hungry belly wins over all this argument.  Even the price isn’t a deterrent.

So, at times….I take it as a challenge and make sure I use up all the veggies I got for the week.  It’s feels like an accomplishment, when I do. I make sure to note it…let the Mr know too, proudly!

“See….I’ve used up all the veggies I bought last week! That’s how I usually do.”,  

I say unhesitating, without a twitch in my voice…convinced in my own mind that, that is my history. A few weeks of being careful and I’m back to my usual ways.

Today, I had to face reality again…I entered the store…with a strong mind, to buy only what I need. Then, I…saw all the fresh vegetables and ended up with a cart load of groceries again.  Well….Didn’t I make so much space in the refrigerator?!

As I struggle getting the grocery balance right … do you struggle with your groceries like I do. Do you use everything that comes into your kitchen pantry or you end up wasting an inexcusable amount of it?!