Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Shelf Life

When I wrote about collections yesterday I forgot to mention a collection that I have in the kitchen….canned goods. Specifically, canned goods that I buy with good intentions but never use. Regularly, I pick up an ingredient for a recipe and never get around to making the dish, so that can gets shuffled around on the shelf for weeks like the last kid picked for dodge ball. It eventually gets relegated to the back of the shelf, where it gives me the evil eye and prompts my husband to ask if I’m ever going to use that 86 ounce can of kidney beans. I do it all the time, and I’m not sure how to stop. It’s a horrible habit, given the depression Papa T. says we’re in, and the starving pygmies in New Guinea, but I can’t seem to quit. Every two or three months I round up all my little canned good orphans and put them in the mission box at church. I tell myself it’s not so bad because they end up going to a good cause, but I don’t feel good about it because the donation is due to my lack of self control and not generosity.

I recently read about a woman who buys groceries only three weeks out of every month. She skips the grocery store on the last week of the month, making meals out of the stuff that’s already in her cabinets. I thought this was a great idea, especially since milk is $16 a gallon and you have to show your credit score before buying produce these days. I have tried it with some degree of success. I don’t ENTIRELY skip the grocery store one week, but I do try to feed my family off of stuff we already have and supplement with fresh produce and dairy products. My day isn’t complete without Thick and Creamy vanilla yogurt, thanks. I managed to get rid of that frozen chicken and dressing dish that’s been in the freezer since our last snowfall. I used up twelve of the 2081 pounds of frozen ground beef we have from slaughtering a cow last fall. And we ate up several of the twelve dozen ears of corn sitting in the freezer. We even ate some of the tomato bisque I made and froze last summer when we had tomatoes running out of our ears. However, there are just some things I can’t seem to get rid of. For example:

Four boxes of vanilla pudding. Four, half of them sugar free. Remind me why I wouldn’t want sugar in my pudding.
I don’t even know why I bought them in the first place. We don’t eat pudding unless the thermometer reads 80 degrees and vanilla puddin’ season has rolled around. If it ain’t covered in wafers and sandwiched between bananas, the Hula-gen’s ain’t eatin’ it.
Then there are the two packages of cornbread I’ve had since the first Clinton was on the campaign trail.
What’s worse than being a canned good orphan? Being a hand-me-down canned good orphan. Mama J. bought these, didn’t use them and gave them to me. I would swear there used to be just one. We like our cornbread sweet. This stuff isn’t sweet. Therefore, it sits and multiplies just like the loaves and fishes….right next to these guys.
I make fajitas from time to time, but usually from scratch and not with a prepackaged mix. I cannot remember when this packet showed up in my cabinets, but it’s been there so long it apparently fell in love with the gravy mix, mated and produced the two packets of unused yeast that you also see in that picture. *#$% squatters! Get off my shelf! Keep in mind; I do not discriminate in my hoarding of canned goods. I embrace all types; spicy, sweet, crunchy, bland.

I bought two cans of chilpotles for a soup I concocted. I used one full can not realizing one full tablespoon would be plenty. That soup was so hot I was afraid to eat any fiber. I didn’t have the nerve to open the second can, and it’s keeping company with this pie filling that was supposed to get turned into apple crisp and these chick peas that were supposed to get turned into….hmmm….ummm…something. Now, because I’m a crappy photographer this picture doesn’t really give the full effect of this can of pork and beans…because it’s HUGE. 53 ounces of pork and beans that I think were going to become baked beans for a potluck that got canceled.
Because of the disastrous effects of pork and beans on Hubby I will not serve these to him unless he plans to hibernate in a cave for three days or has an impending colonoscopy. We may have to host a cookout just so I can get ride of these beans. And finally, I am without explanation for this. It seems that over the course of the last two or three years I have bought a new box of salt every time the salt shaker became empty, forgetting that I had more on the shelf. I’m kind of embarrassed to show you this. Is this how a pot grower feels when the cops line up all of his plants for the newspaper and TV photographers? It is my shame. My dirty little addiction. Hello. My name is Hula and I buy too much salt. Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the canned goods I cannot use, courage to buy only the food I need, and the wisdom to know the difference.


janjanmom said...

Salt, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil combined in a food processor with those chick peas makes a delightful hummas!!

Serve with those yummy bagel bites from Sam's. The supper of champions.

oreneta said...

You should host a big swap...some of those things my kids would love, like the vanilla pudding...and the canned beans for that matter...

The salt though...that's a whole lot of salt you have there. It'll last you at least a year I think...

Mama Mia said...

Excess salt hmmm....
Surprise attack on an army of slugs
or maybe throw a large margarita party! THAT'S IT!!