So as I said in my first post, we have had to make a lot of changes since I lost my job – some of them were insignificant really, others were much more so. The most obvious one that we started with – and happily so! – was to start eating at home again. I love to cook and I only did it on the weekends when I had the time. Even then, I had no idea how to really cook breakfast or lunch, since I had always eaten on the run.
And with this change, came another – playing with recipes. I had been collecting recipes for years (I found some in the stack that were from 1998!!) and never had bothered to try any of them. One day I was spring cleaning the kitchen and there was this huge stack of great looking food photos with recipes (I am shamelessly attracted to pictures of yummy looking food!) that I had never tried. I made a resolution to go through them and eliminate the ones that I likely would never make, for whatever reason, and to start trying out all those that remained. Now, when I do my weekly meal planning, I include at least 2 of the recipes from my stack. Sometimes they are a main course, sometimes just a salad dressing, and sometimes a desert. Just depends on my mood, the weather and my pantry.
When I decided to start this blog, I knew its theme would largely be about food. That is what my life is largely about, when you get right down to it. When I was a child, I would spring out of bed and ask my mom, much to her chagrin, what was for dinner. I am the 5th of 6 children, so you can imagine how irritating this must have been first thing each day in a house with that many kids to feed and get moving. But that is who I am. I love food and spend all my time thinking of what to eat next.
So with this new plan, and all the other financial restrictions, I also had to get creative. Or at least push what I was already doing to new limits – to really cook from my pantry. I almost named this blog “My Mother’s Pantry” (my spouse suggested that I call it “Things that Kill Me” instead – see below for more on why), but since my mom no longer cooks, it didn’t seem like the right thing to do. Not to mention, one of the most memorable things my mother used to make was what I have dubbed “diarrhea spaghetti.” This was made from a dry seasoning packet mixed with water and tomato sauce. It was awful. It really did make me sick. Sadly, one of my mother’s rules was “you ate what was served,” no matter the consequences. I am sure this is because there were so many of us. Needless to say, I hated spaghetti night. I ate it anyway, because I was also highly motivated to have desert. Anyway, I have always shopped with an eye for potential meals. Things that I could make if I just had a can of kidney beans on hand, that sort of thing. Anyway, now that we were eating at home AND we didn’t have any money, this was what we had to do.
I must say, all of this is a bit of a thrill. Don’t get me wrong, being poor sucks, but I love the challenge and the fact that I have been able to keep living and eating well, even though we didn’t have the funds to eat out like we used to. I know I am about 3 decades late for the first homesteading movement, and definitely behind the curve for the latest return to our roots as well, but I have always been pretty good at this kind of stuff. I live pretty simply when you get right down to it. And I have always been willing to try anything (another title I toyed with). I am an experimenter. I have made Chinese, Thai, Indian, Hungarian, Mexican, and French cuisines, and lip balm too!, all in the last 6 months. I am always open to trying something new. I may not be the master of anything, but I am definitely the Jill of all. I will start sharing with you some of my cooking adventures soon. I LOVE FOOD!!”