So this week we're doing what I like to call the "desperation samba," a very carefully choreographed dance that involves cleaning out the current provisions and making meals out what basically amounts to random crap in my freezer and cupboards. Mysterious baggies of ground meat. Baked beans of unverifiable provenance. Canned soup out the wazoo. Cereal and PB&J for supper, with sides of creamed corn and freezer-burned lima beans. I mean, yes, we'll go to the store for absolute essentials, like milk and bread and the occasional fruit or vegetable, but my husband is under very strict orders should that unfortunate eventuality occur: quarts of milk only, smallest loaves of bread you can find, only three ears of corn. Our biggest splurge in the last two weeks was buying two pounds on strawberries last Sunday, and we did that only because, hey, we really like strawberries in our house, and I knew they'd get eaten.
I will say this much: doing this? Living like complete savages? It takes a lot of cojones, and confidence in your own cooking abilities. I like to think of myself as a better-than-average home cook, and I pride myself on my ability to make a meal out of basically anything, provided that I have access to basic herbs, spices, and bouillon cubes. But making meals out of scavenged foodstuffs is part skill, part alchemy, part divination, part illusion, and part faith, with a big heaping swig of ballsiness thrown in: "Oh, yes, you WILL eat what I am feeding you."
This is the kind of wackaloony stuff I've served to my actual family this week for dinner:
- Browned loose sweet Italian sausage with chopped onions and canned diced tomatoes, served over elbow macaroni that was tossed with butter and Parmesan cheese
- Thawed package of pre-cooked chicken with a sell-by date of November 2009, with some kind of noodly stuff
- Zucchini gratin -- sliced zucchini sauteed with olive oil and Italian seasoning, with toasted breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese added
- Frosted mini-wheats cereal
Now do you see why I worry about drinking?