Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 149- Scarcity and Plenty

When I read what Allie at Yum in Tum wrote in her summer spending update, I got to thinking.

Scary thought, I know, me thinking...

Up until now, I've looked on this whole thing as an exercise in scarcity. Not because I've got no food in the house- I have a ton of food. Rather, because to me there isn't much food in the house.

I have more than 5 pounds of rice, at least as much flour. I have spices, even if it's not the variety I'm used to. I've got yeast, and veggies, and beans, and fruit. I have oats and salt and more than a pound of sugar.

I usually don't use a pound of sugar in a year!

But I still think in my food hoarding way- the way that makes me comfortable, I guess. The way where if I don't have 30 pounds of various flours, a flat of pre-made pasta sauce, and 5 pounds each of every dried bean known to man I panic.

Which is crazy. Sure, I could use some more oil- I'm amazed it's lasted as long as it has, honestly. Yeah, I'd love some other flours or fats to work with. But really? With another couple onions, a fresh head of garlic, a bag of frozen corn or head of cabbage, and another can of tomato paste, I'm good to go for another month, at least. I have a lot of food.

I just don't have the food I want. Or, not *all* the food I want.

I shouldn't be able to manage mango sticky rice on this budget, but I have a mango in the fridge, and a vat of coconut milk/ sugar rice in there too. And another cup of sweetened coconut milk to make more rice with later.

A lot of people (I don't know how) keep next to nothing in their houses. They maybe have beer and water in the fridge, coffee in the freezer with some frozen pizzas, and sugar and dry creamer in the cupboard. My father seems to live like this. I think he has some frozen steaks, too, but you get the point.

Compared to people who live like that, I have a ton of food. It might not be the food I'd choose if I had money coming out of my ears, but it's still food. And there's a bunch of stuff I can do with that food. I just need to do it.

I need to think about what I have, or what I can get, rather than what I don't have, can't have, or won't be able to get. 'Cause even though I keep saying I have a bunch of stuff, in my little j. brain there's still a big scary "no way there's enough food" voice.

And there isn't- not enough to feed 4 people for half a dozen years. And even then that voice would probably still be picking at me. Silly voice.

So far as what I ate yesterday- I made the sticky rice- basic cheap white rice (cooked and hot), half a can of coconut milk, about half a cup of sugar, a bit of salt, Wow, talk about sugar rush. Enough to make me sick, actually.... I remember now why I usually lay off the sweets.

And about 3 big mugs of soup. The level has moved down just a little, and the soup is getting more soupy, more brothy, and less thick, but still yum. Added some balsamic vinegar and a bit more salt. I'll have to add veggies eventually, so it doesn't get dull.

Now, back to work convincing myself that I have a ton of food....


  1. My mom is one of those people, who manages to have nothing in her fridge. Every time I go over, she literally had a full clear shelf! I on the other hand, feel more comfortable when there is a little excess. Partly, I think I am less organized - always afraid I am going to run out of food at the wrong time. This of course makes next to no sense in our modern world... However, this 90 day "experiment" has really cleared out my stockpiles... and it feels sort of nice.

  2. I think I would enjoy having empty space if it meant I could fill it up. That's not in my game plan, though, so it's not as comfortable. I get the food as security blanket thing from my mother. Her place is packed from top to bottom (ok, not that bad) with food- neat stuff she finds on sale, or odd lots at the dollar store.

    Of course, she still doesn't know what to make for dinner, but...

  3. I have that same voice. It picks at me constantly. That's actually part of the reason I decided to do this challenge over the summer, was so I could prove to myself that I didn't need to be constantly loading up on staples for ... well, whatever that something that'd make me need so much food is. I look at my shelves EVERY SINGLE DAY and I'm painfully aware of what's dwindling. My impulse is to replace it (plus some) immediately, but I can't do that on the budget. It kills me. For everything I can see I have, I can think of 12 other things I don't have. And I have to say, it's a LOT worse now that I've cut myself off from the cave.

    Intellectually, I am aware that this is insane and that I probably have more food than all the people on my block, combined. But to me it doesn't seem like enough. So, I feel ya.

    I think the goal with this sort of a thing (especially since we both appear to hoard lots of food), really is to try to think about what's actually there and what interesting things can be done with it. Rather than focusing (100% of the time, at least) on what isn't there. It's hard though.

    My food really has gotten more interesting since I started doing this, since I'm not always running to the store for this or that. So that's a bonus for sure. Objectively, we both really do have a lot of food even if it doesn't seem like it. Now we just need to enjoy it!

  4. Yeah, my brain seems to think the zombie apocalypse is coming. When it's not busy telling me that 25 pounds of beans would be a nice addition to the pantry, it's screaming that I've got no sweet chili sauce, or eatable potatoes, or mayonnaise, and when the zombies come I'll *starve*.

    I keep telling my brain that when the zombies show up, starving wouldn't be a *bad* thing, but it's not listening.

    You're right, though- food does get more interesting when you only have what you have and limited cash to fill in- like the almond milk cupcakes, or random bean concoctions. I'm still missing a lot of stuff that I see as "basic" and "must haves", like cocoa powder. But when I have it I only use it once or so a month, so... I've got better stuff to spend $3 on. Really.

    Meanwhile I look at this stuff I've got and wonder if I'd ever be able to provision a boat for a long crossing, or if I'd miss something important, or pack it so full of food that it swamped... At least I know better now what I'd want to take, rather than just guessing. Anything I haven't touched in 4 months would probably get left behind, like lentils...

  5. I think we must have the same brain. Lol, no matter how much food I stockpile, I really won't ever be enough to me. My plan is to pretend I'm not here when the zombies come. I could eat for ages w/o them knowing I'm here.

    I have cocoa powder, but I don't think I have enough of it since I don't have a backup package for if I run out. Lol, I so rarely use cocoa powder (like, twice a year maybe) I can't even imagine why I think I need a backup, though.

    Oddly, I don't think I'd leave the lentils behind, even though I don't eat them often (mostly because I want to eat them more than I currently do). I think I'd leave behind the bin of seaweed though. I never, ever use that stuff, even when I say I will. And I'd leave behind all the syrups - they weigh a ton and almost never get used.

    My hope is that these experiments will help quell that loud voice so it's just a background hum. Though I suspect that in reality, once I have a proper amount of money I'll probably start stockpiling a lot more of whatever I used the most of.