... that's the advice I received today.
I'm not against "Eat the Larder" challenges, which encourage us to eat what we have rather than going to the grocery store and buying more. In fact, we should always be eating from the larder and restocking as necessary. I think (and I'm guilty) too often we go to the store and just buy what looks good, which means a lot of people probably have a lot of food that will, eventually, expire and be discarded. That's not my reality.
It's not a secret, and many frugalistas will tell us, that the BEST way to save money at the grocery store is not to clip coupons and definitely not to buy the cheapest, but rather to make a list. Go through the larder, see what's missing, and get that.
And that's all.
I have a well-stocked larder. In fact, it's so well-stocked, that I was able to make dinner for eleven people on Christmas Eve without having to buy anything. We did go to the store - for beverages, but it was purely a luxury choice. I could have fed the whole crew, and we could have had sweet tea or coffee, and no one had to spend a penny.
We had Mexican Chicken soup, and I had everything I needed to make it and garnish it (with cheese and sour cream) here at my house already. There are just certain things that I always have on hand. Stuff to make soup is at the top of the storage list.
My larder is stocked, because I purchase a lot of stuff in bulk in season, or I raise things that end up in the larder or in the freezer. There's a point to my stocking up. Winters are long in Maine, and there's not a lot of local food during the winter. If I want to eat locally produced foods, I have to buy it in season and store it.
So, yeah, my larder is pretty full.
But eat all the things?
Yeah ... about that.
See, it's January, and we have, at least, three more months of deep freeze here in Maine, and then, at least two before we can really start the garden, and it's going to be July before we begin our harvest of anything more than the first greens, peas and radishes.
If I "eat all the things now", we'll get hungry later, when we're waiting for the harvest. Sure, I can go to the grocery store and buy not local and not seasonal food (and I do) ... but if the point is to save money, my eating all of the things is definitely counter-intuitive to that goal.
So, I will eat all of the things, but not because I'm trying to empty my larder. It will be because that's what those things are for. I don't save much money on food. We probably save some by growing our own, but money savings is not the ultimate goal of our choice to grow some of our own food.
Or maybe it is, but we don't reap that savings in lowered food costs. We actually reap that savings in health costs. I've lived almost a half-century. I don't take any medications. None. I understand that's rare at my age. I attribute it to a good diet.
Skimping on food costs, therefore, seems a little silly, if the food is not quality and we end up spending that saved money on doctor bills.
Plus, I like good food.
So, I'll eat all of the things in time to put up next year's harvest. But I probably won't clear a lot of space in my larder during this challenge.