Shopping My Pantry, or Tales of a Food Horder

I admit, I’m embarrassed. I openly endorse having a well-stocked pantry, but things are a bit ridiculous at my house right now. I think my insane schedule during my internship served as the Perfect Storm: I had little time to food shop, so when I found myself in a store that sold food for home consumption, I filled my cart with no real plan, other than to make sure we had every culinary base covered. Which is especially ironic when you consider that I did very little cooking during my internship. That fell to Jeff, and he and I have somewhat different styles of cooking.

When you have an overstocked pantry/fridge/freezer, three things happen:

  1. You forget what you have, so you end up buying duplicates multiples.
  2. You forget what you have, so some food gets stale/rots/develops nasty freezer burn before you can use it up. Food waste guilt ensues.
  3. You can’t easily find what you need when you need it, which detracts from the enjoyable experience that cooking can be.
Observe our basement (aka “overflow”) pantry. Our freestanding freezer is on the left, covered with checklists of beef cuts contained within, as well as every photo holiday card we’ve received from our “beef people” (a couple who has a small ranch outside Seattle). Love them! (The cards and our beef people.) There’s also an assortment of frozen homemade soups, broths, pasta sauces inside, as well as tightly wrapped loaves of artisan bread from Acme (from our last trip to San Fran) and assorted ham hocks and beef soup bones.
There’s a small refrigerator between the freezer and the shelves (mostly for beer, extra tubs of Greek yogurt from Costco, and for defrosting whatever we pull out of the freezer). The shelves hold excess canned beans and tomatoes from Costco, as well as things that do best in a darker location, like onions, potatoes and backup bottles of olive oil.
What is the point of my telling you all this? The point is that I’m fed up (with myself) and I’m not going to take it anymore! I am shopping my pantry! I vow that for the next 10 days (at which point I leave town for a conference), I will buy no food except for select perishables: vegetables, fruit, milk, yogurt and eggs (since my hens are entering their season of R&R). Since I am also known to overbuy vegetables and fruit, I also will endeavor to be super careful about not letting my eyes get bigger than my meal plans (“But that bunch of kale, it’s so pretty…I must stock up!”).
I plan to post daily on the blog’s Facebook page about my progress. I’ll do one or two status posts here.