I’ve been thinking a lot about our food habits, good and bad, especially as our daughter’s birth approaches. Her arrival means I’ll be working less, which means less income, which means how can we spend less on food? What should go and what’s worth continuing to spend money on? Also, how can we be less wasteful? What do I want to teach her about eating? Here’s a few musings, with more to come, I’m sure.
1. I use boneless, skinless chicken breast too much. Bone-in, skin-on meat is always cheaper, and most people say more flavorful. I am addicted to the convenience of thawing, chopping and adding boneless skinless chicken to whatever I’m cooking. I feel like I should be more economical, and embrace the whole chicken, and use the bones and leftovers for stock and such, but so far I just haven’t. Also–this is how I know it’s getting bad–when I have real chicken, it tastes greasy to me, and I resent the gristle and ligament and bones that are in the way. Sigh. I think often of this Gary Larson cartoon.
2. We use way too many Ziploc bags. If I have half a lemon, or a random bit of leftovers, and I can’t find a plastic container that’s the right size, it goes into a Ziploc. Back in the day when I was more conscientious, I washed the Ziplocs and reused them. I don’t do that anymore. I think maybe the solution here is to buy more plastic or glass containers for leftovers in many sizes.
3. I have 4 heads of cabbage in the fridge, all from the last two CSA boxes. I am starting to admit defeat. I have made all the dishes that we like that contain cabbage, and my husband says I should just throw it out (actually I think he said “you need counseling for your vegetable guilt”) or find someone to give it to. I have a hard time wasting food, especially good, local food that I’ve paid for! Any ideas, friends? If I was really Mennonite, I’d make a huge batch of sauerkraut and can it or something. But–something else I feel guilty about–I don’t like sauerkraut. How can I call myself German Mennonite??
4. We don’t compost or garden. This is something I’ve reconciled myself with temporarily–we live in a third floor apartment with no yard space for ourselves. Instead, I support our CSA and farmer’s market. Still, I don’t like throwing out food scraps. I feel like we empty the garbage so much more here than we ever did in Rochester, where we had a compost heap in the backyard. The increased garbage, though, is also due to the limited recycling available here–we can’t recycle glass, or any plastics except 1 and 2.
5. I’d like to start thinking more about all the packaging involved in the food I buy. We go through one container of yogurt per week, and the containers aren’t recyclable. So I have a huge stockpile of them, which my husband has started to throw away when I’m not paying attention. I keep thinking there must be some use for them! They do come in handy as a container when I make homemade ice cream but that happens rarely. My cousin Joe started making yogurt at home since they had the same problem–they can reuse the glass jars that they make the yogurt in. I haven’t started that yet but it seems like a good idea. Also–I buy canned beans for the convenience, even though I used to make black beans starting from scratch back in the day (which of course taste infinitely better). Those tin cans are recyclable, though.
6. In general, I need to do more canning and freezing and other such preserving of food. I am actually excited about being home more, and working less, so that I have some time to do this. I want a big garden someday.