Getting organized

So, the reality of the challenge is starting to set in, and I figure I'd better start figuring out what we're going to eat for the next six weeks.


So, I'm taking a look at my assets, so I can make a plan.
First up, eggs:
We have plenty of eggs. We have about 18 chickens, so we get 10-15 eggs a day. Probably more, but that's how many we can find!

This morning, we had gluten-free pancakes for breakfast.


We used the last of the GF Bisquick that I'd bought as a treat.


I'm sure we can't have pancakes very often.

We've got one bottle of maple syrup and about five pounds of sugar. So even if we had enough flour, pancakes would be out. I guess we'll have scrambled eggs a lot.

We have one big bag of rice. Probably 25 pounds left out of a 50-pound bag.

Since it's only a six-week challenge, we could use five pounds of rice a week and be fine -- I think we're going to be eating a LOT of rice.


Coffee is going to problematic. This is all we have: A three-pound bag from Costco. I have my teenager in charge of grinding coffee and making coffee every morning. He likes the job, and it's a "grownup thing," I think, to make coffee every day.

But he wastes some. The bag is upside down because he opened it from the bottom, and he spilled some getting it out to grind it this morning.

That's going to be an issue. We are going to be hurting if there's no coffee in three weeks. And I have no idea how long three pounds of coffee lasts at a pot a day. I guess I should look it up or figure it out!


This is the "regular pantry," in our mud room. It's the go-to pantry for everyday use. We've got canned goods like salsa and green beans, jars of sugar, honey, spices, just regular old food here.

I'm thinking it's going to be empty in six weeks. I hope I'm wrong -- maybe I can keep a stocked pantry with no money. I keep saying, "We'll see," to keep myself from panicking and thinking about whether my kids are going to have food issues their entire lives because I forced them to eat cold canned tomatoes for three weeks at the end of the experiment.

See the boxes on the top right?


That's the key to this whole thing. I have three cases of coconut milk creamer. With sugar in it. That's what's going to keep us alive. I can have coffee every morning, with creamer, and no one will have to suffer from the effects of me not having coffee.


Here's one of the small freezers (I know. I have three freezers. That's why I can even consider doing this challenge.)

This one is mostly soup bones. I think we'll be eating a lot of soup.  Potato soup, beef soup, cabbage soup. Egg drop soup?


The long skinny freezer is my house freezer. I don't know what's in here. Leftover corn chowder.

Peas from Costco. Odds and ends of meat and old cookie dough. Nothing you can really cook from.


Which brings me to the "real" freezer.  And when I look at it, I'm convinced the challenge will be easy. I mean how much food can five people eat, right? But do you know what most of that is?

Frozen bananas.

About thirty pounds of lard. 
Some meat, sure -- hamburger meat. A standing rib roast (seriously, I can't feel very sorry for myself when I have a standing rib roast in the freezer. I'm not even sure what that is or how to cook it, but it sounds fancy and delicious.)
Some old cranberries. Lots of loaves of terrible, awful brown rice bread that no one will eat, but I might use for bread crumbs or to make meatballs or something.

Tomato sauce that I froze a million years ago thinking it was OK to freeze it without a lid and in a jar. But now I'm sure it's freezer-burned, but I don't want to throw it out.
I can't decide whether this is an amazing amount of food and this is the whole point of doing this challenge -- to show how much food we waste -- or whether this is just ridiculous and really, I can't expect my kids to eat terrible brown bread and pork lard for a month.


And now we come to the "paranoia pantry." This is really the heart of where this challenge lies. Everything here is something I came by for free or in trade. It's either veggies from Gleaners, canned goods from Gleaners, or stuff that I've grown, traded, or picked from my own yard. Applesauce, jam, pickled peppers, cans of food that we wouldn't normally eat but I save for an emergency, pickled garlic.

Lots of salsa, applesauce, and jars of stuff that are unappetizing and weird, which is why they've never been used.

If something's been down there for a year, there's a reason.

The jams and jellies and pickles go fast -- they're tasty. But the jars of "weird sweet sauce that was an experiment because we had too many plums," are somehow not going as fast as I had hoped.

Jars of canned plums, with the pits still in them.

No one's going to eat those. Same with mushy cherries, though I guess I could make pie or cobbler.


If the sugar holds out.

I'm one day into this. I have hamburger meat thawing in the fridge, with avocados and tomatoes from Gleaners on the counter.
I don't know if it will be tacos with rice and beans, hamburger helper with rice with a Mexican theme, or hamburgers with no bun -- I never decide until it's time to make dinner.
But at least for now, we have plenty of options.

Meagan McGovern