Cabinet Cleaning Woes

All summer I’ve been on a semi-successful mission to clean the cabinets and the freezer by eating all the food in them. I’ve had my lapses in the goal — like when I bought ten packs of 4 ounce single servings of salmon and tilapia because they were $1 each at the grocery store, which was counterproductive to clearing out the freezer. I’ve had successes too — like when I used some fresh zucchini and a can of hominy that had been in the cabinet for who knows how long to add some interest to taco meat. Actually, let’s call that a semi-success because the hominy-infused taco meat wasn’t quite my style. However, I did consume the hominy.

There’s still a rather large volume of food in the cabinet, so maybe I should take some time out before school starts and plan out my meals for August focusing specifically on using up all the food possible. Yes, I really should do that. Hm…maybe Sunday afternoon, I could paint my desk, and while the paint is drying, I could plan an August menu. I see a plan coming together.

One thing I hate about cleaning the cabinets is the sheer and utter waste I find. I think I’m especially bummed out about this since I’m in the middle of reading for my upcoming social justice class, which makes me squeamish about the inequality of distribution of resources in the world. For example, I just threw away about an entire bag of whole wheat flour. I’m sure I bought it to make something, and then never got back to making anything else with it. And, the same goes for the almost full bottle of dark corn syrup that expired a year ago. I’m being dead serious when I say I thought about how many tortillas or bread that wheat flour could have made in the right hands. I am going to hang onto the Worcestershire sauce since it’s not too far out of date. Maybe I can get a few more recipes out of it before I worry about it being a hazard. And, I was bummed about the white wine vinegar too, but I need to clean the bathroom tonight, so when I make my fail-proof bathroom cleaner, I’ll make it gourmet by using the white wine vinegar instead of the plain old white variety.

I think to avoid this waste in the future, I need to be more focused. If I buy whole-wheat flour to make one recipe, then I need to work on making several other recipes within the month using that ingredient. Alas, to do that, my recipes have to go semi-digital. I’ve been feeling tension about this for some time; I know in my head that typing all my recipes into a Word document would make so much sense. If people ask for the recipe, some quick copy and paste action would get it to them in a jiffy. And, I could easily search for a particular ingredient. Plus, the file could be backed up out in the cloud.

But, I just don’t want to give up my little red cookbook with the pewter plate and utensils attached to the front. I like its handwriting, and I like keeping it propped up by the stove. Sure, I worry that it (and all my favorite recipes in it) are only one grease fire away from oblivion, but it’s old school in the tech world. Sigh…maybe I could have both. Keep a document of recipes and keep my book, or maybe if I could figure out how to use Excel, I could make an ingredient inventory and simply record ingredients needed for each recipe on the Excel spreadsheet.

I’ve also decided that I need to track down a bolt cutter. Part of this emptying the cabinet mission was so I could install pull out organizers in my pantry cabinet. I’m having qualms about paying $40 each for them though; it seems like such a significant outlay when I could just reach to the back of the cabinet. Plus, keep in mind that social justice reading I’ve been doing.

I discovered though that I can buy drawer slides fairly inexpensively, and I remembered that I have wire shelving like that used in closets just sitting in the basement. It’s perfect as far as width goes, but it’s two inches too long — hence the need for a bolt cutter. I could install shelves for about $7 a shelf if all I have to buy is the drawer slides, and I’ve got another idea brewing for substitute drawer slides that might make the project even cheaper. Hm..well, I’m officially on the lookout for a bolt cutter at a yard sale or for a Harbor Freight coupon.

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