It’s working! I give myself permission to use an exclamation mark. Less money spent, less time going to and fro from the supermarket, barely any wastage and a spartan fridge by Tuesday morning.
Cream of chard soup was great for my lunches (one bag of chard down). Chard, wild garlic and asparagus tart = three veg from that pile of green gone (two bags down). I caught the spinach *just* in time; only a few leaves had to be binned. The rest went into pasta with bacon and rosemary.
It may sound perfunctory to say “one bag down”. Sometimes cooking and feeding others is a chore, especially when you didn’t really choose the veg, it is looking past its best, you’re stick of the sight of that bag of spinach, and you didn’t even pay for it so what’s the harm … But waste is waste and I am relieved to have found a system that works for me.
When it’s full show season, life goes a bit mad. I’m out all hours on weekends travelling around for Riverford – country shows, village fetes, school fairs. Aside from meeting all sorts of people and enjoying my crazy work life, I am lucky enough to get leftover veg boxes from our displays. Last year I wasn’t great at getting veg cooked quickly. When produce has sat out in the warm/sun/rain/hail/cloud, it only lasts a day or so. It (rightly) shames me to say it, but a lot of greens went to waste. Now I’ve proved to myself that a little forethought will prevent me from wasting food. With 2017’s show season just starting it’s a relief to know that I’ve got a system.
(I now pass The People’s Fridge at least once a week and I plan on redistributing excess food there, too).
Almost all of the potatoes have been eaten, good god all of the three bags. Mash, potato cakes, chips. Also: POTATO PIZZA! There are still a few left, growing substantial eyes, but perfectly edible. The two sweet potatoes are hiding; might give them away, we don’t like them much. The fennel was griddled and added to a different soup for him indoors, and the courgettes went into a chilli. Onions, carrots and green beans just on the side, in things, nothing fancy.
What I find most interesting is how much time I’m saving. 20 minutes working out meals gives me a structure. On Friday, during Brownies-based-limbo (50 minutes between drop off, pick up and not able to have a Friday glass of wine), I had the plan and the ingredients to get the chilli made. That saved me time on Monday, when work and school were in full swing. I have to remind myself of this because planning feels like the polar opposite to creativity. In reality it gives me the chance to cook and eat meals that are more interesting, to use the cook books I’ve bought and to introduce the kids to slightly different tastes (e.g., the rosemary in the pasta).
This week’s plan (I’m away all weekend so him at home is on duty):
A lot less veg as, honestly, I’m the pusher/enforcer round these parts. But they will have fun, and so will I.