Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Eating Down the Larder - Week Two Wrap-Up

I have a confession. We have a spring ritual. It really is a thing for us, and while we could have just not done it this month, because of the food pantry challenge, we decided that we like our rituals, and we did it anyway - even though it violated the challenge.

Maine winters can be tough. It's cold. On the beach, the wind coming off the winter ocean is so cold it feels like it's ripping the skin right off our faces.

During the summer, the beach and downtown areas are so inundated with tourists, we can't even move down there. I avoid downtown during the summer, except on certain weekdays, in the middle of the day, early or late in the season when it's still summer, but some tourists have to get their kids home to go to school. So, like, the whole month of July we avoid downtown. Early June and late August, we might go down, but only during the day (before noon), and only in the middle of the week - Tuesday or Wednesday - because there are fewer tourists.

We've had friends who tell us how lucky we are that we live at the beach, and I won't disagree, except to say that we, residents, don't get to enjoy the full splendor of the beach, because we have so many summer visitors.

With all of that in mind, our first visit to the beach in the spring, when it's warm enough to go barefooted in the sand, is a big deal. It's usually in April. The visit always includes a stop at Lisa's Pizza, one of the only places downtown that stays open all year. It's a walk-up pizza place (they sell fried foods and pizza) with no seating, except the benches on the sidewalk, and every order is always "to go." During the winter, they put up a temporary wrap-around enclosure so that they can stay open. When Lisa's Pizza takes down their winter enclosure, it's spring. We take a walk on the beach, and then, stop at Lisa's for some fries before we head home. It's a thing. We've done it every year since the 2007 Patriot's Day Storm, when we walked down to the beach the day after, and then, had fries on the walk home.

Last week after volunteering at our local Food Pantry, it was a beautiful day, and we decided to stop at the beach on the way home. Lisa's enclosure was down. It was time. We had some French fries - not from our own kitchen.

Every other meal, however, was from our own pantry, including breakfast, and snacks while the girls were at dance and lunch on Thursdays when we have co-op. Popcorn is a featured treat for snacking. We also made some granola using blueberries we dried last summer.

For Sunday dinner, I made an amazing roast chicken with vegetables (using up the last of our carrots). Chicken ... on Sunday. How cliché, right? Monday was pizza. Tuesday we picked up the cow share, and so dinner was a roast. Wednesday we had Tacos. Thursday we had chili. Deus Ex Machina was craving steak, and since we had the cow share, we had grilled steak with mashed potatoes on Friday. Saturday we whipped up a stir-fry.

We have managed to use all of the potatoes, carrots, and squash that we had stored, but the Jerusalem artichokes are ready to be dug. We're out of apples, although we still have a couple of jars of applesauce, plus a bunch of berries in the freezer. The garlic is gone, but we still have onions. We still have rice and beans aplenty and also lots and lots of meat in the freezer (not even including the beef). We have plenty of bread, plus: flour (buckwheat, wheat, and sunchoke), corn meal, and gluten-free baking mix. We have fresh eggs, the chives are coming up in the garden, a few wild edibles are just about ready to pick, and the rabbits born over winter are ready for harvest.

We're not even close to starving, and we're not close to running out of food. Meals might get more bland, or more weird, in the next week, but we'll still probably eat well.

Are you doing the challenge? How have your meals been?

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