Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lessons from the pantry: Tribute to Marvin

So today Matt and I cleaned out the refrigerator, freezer and pantry. It was long overdue. When I have to ask him, "Do you remember what this frozen lump of orangish stuff is?," you know it's been too long. Turns out it was leftover sweet potato casserole from Christmas. You'd have thought I would remember something from two weeks ago. I suppose that's fairly harmless compared to the pork roast with a sell by date from 2006 that I found in the bottom of the freezer.

We emptied everything out of each area, tossed what we needed to, cleaned and then put back the stuff that would stay. Holy cow we had a lot of stuff in there!

One of the things that struck me as odd is how many bottles of alcohol and mixers we have considering we don't drink all that often. And boy is some of this alcohol old. At the beginning of last year, most of what we had was stuff I bought for a party nearly ten years ago now. I bought a bottle of what each of the people who would be at the party were drinking at the time. So there's a little gone from each bottle, but then those friends drifted out of my life and the bottle, minus a drink or two remained, not to be touched again. Then, my parents cleaned out their pantry and brought over their alcohol, which probably more than doubled the supply in volume and quadrupled it in age. Many of their bottles are from long ago parties, similar to mine, where the bottle simply sat and collected dust. Pretty much if it isn't vodka, it's just sat there.

But in looking at it as it all sat on the dining room table, Matt seized upon a bottle of scotch. It supposedly was aged eight years before it was sold. Now it's sat in a pantry at my parents' house and now our house for probably a good thirty or forty years. I'm sure it's good stuff. So Matt poured a shot and I took a sip. Man, did it burn going down! Matt finished off the shot and all I could think was, "Marvin probably would have loved this. Why didn't I drag it out a long time ago so he could have it?"

So I learned quite a bit today while I cleaned out the refrigerator, freezer and pantry:

If I buy something to have it available for someone and it's not something I'm going to use, send any that is left home with them when they leave. I can always buy another for the next time.

Don't save things for special occasions; it may go bad before that "special occasion" arises. So make an ordinary day special.

I really don't need to buy refried beans in the next 100 trips to the grocery store. Ditto that for black beans, cream of celery soup, canned mushrooms, lasagne noodles and frozen veggies.

Keep an eye open for things that other people can use that are just wasting away in my house. When I find them, give them away while I still can.

A sharpie is my best friend in the freezer because I really won't remember what I put in that freezer bag a few weeks down the road, no matter how much I think I will.

There is such as a thing as too many plastic grocery bags. (Yup, an entire large garbage bag of them is way, way, way too many. I'll never use them all as trash can liners).

Oh, and my husband is a genius. He attached those little command hooks upside down on the outside of the garbage can. Then he looped the drawstring under them to hold the edge of the bag outside the can so the bag doesn't slip down inside. It worked like a charm; no more fighting the garbage bag. Now if he could just figure out how to keep Smoke from jumping up into the little windows in the family room...


DaisyMae Maus said...

You two are geniuses ... Have you opened that bottle of Vueve Cliquot yet?

Happy Birthday to Matt ... His card was SUPPOSED to be mailed last Monday, but the "cat sitters" forgot. I hope he had a great day.

Do either of you eat at Figaros? I have a bunch of coupons and I don't think we even HAVE a Figaros down here.


Katnip Lounge said...

That's a great project! I need to do our pantry...Lord knows what's lurking in there...besides the kitties!

Carolina Girl (Cely) said...

Oh my read my mind and saw the same panties at my house. My husband starts the process, becomes overwhelms, recruits me, and then walks off. If the Scotch was there, I'm sure he would had definitely taken that with him to the other room.

Carolina Girl (Cely) said...

HAHA...I meant to say pantry. Who just may find panties too since the dogs drag around the clean laundry that comes out of the drier.

Ayla and Iza, said...

The Big Thing here: I have a bottle of 30 year old port. Cuz I really don't know the stuff and it just sat in the back of a cabinet.

Stuff in the refrigerator/freezer: I make large amounts of stews, soups, etc. Paper tape sticks to plastic containers well. I just stick some on and write the contents and date with a felt tip marker. That works great.

But I hope you won't be offended by a joke. A guy was dying and requested that his 30 year old bottle of scotch be poured on his grave.

His dear friend asked "Would it be OK if I filtered it through my kidneys first?"