Saturday, December 5, 2009

Right there, next to the three-year-old kumquats

I guess the list of things that drive me to the depths of despair is not that short. Watching the news. Bathing suit shopping. Trying to explain to my husband why my hair sucks. Never being able to remember which guy was prime minister when. Trying to help my son with his math homework. But cleaning out my cupboards? That's a whole new definition of despair. It's like dragging out hundreds of brightly labelled examples of how disorganized, slovenly, careless and unwholesome I am. I'm a freaking stay-at-home Mom -- shouldn't my cupboards be meticulously-planned, graphed-out marvels of neatness and order? Cans of tomato paste and bags of rice should leap into my waiting hands, ready for inclusion in my nightly menu meal. How the hell do I end up with six cans of black beans and no tomato soup on a regular basis? How many times can I get hit on the head with the same goddamned package of whole wheat pasta? And I swear to God, you know that disease where people are born and age like sixty years in five? Every can I buy has that disease. Seriously -- I clean out the cupboards at least every six months, and every time I find cans of beef broth or bottles of salad dressing that are older than this house.

I cleaned out the baking cupboard to get ready for Christmas baking. Turns out I have a five years' supply of peanut butter chips, flaked coconut and raisins, so I'll be looking up recipes accordingly. I also had an appalling amount of stale high-quality chocolate, which I can never bring myself to just throw out without trying, so I spent yesterday afternoon spitting out a lot of stale chocolate -- good times.

There is also drastic need for what my husband calls 'the sauce purge'. When we have a fridge and cupboards full of food but nothing to eat, it's generally because of a serious sauce surplus, without corresponding stuff in or on which to put said sauce. I think it's sort of like the shampoo-buying syndrome (this will make me pretty! This will make me a wonderful cook, perfect mother and a better lover!) If I went grocery shopping this week and bought a package of fifty chicken breasts, I'd have an outside chance of making a dent in the sauce.

So tomorrow for supper? Everybody gets one box of crackers. Of dubious freshness. With sauce. Then they can try some chocolate for dessert and see whether or not they actually feel like swallowing it (suspense! fun!). Then I will find some kind of twelve-step program (1. no matter how good the sale price is, nobody needs an eight-pack of condensed milk. 2. we already have applesauce. we already have applesauce. we already have applesauce. 3. when you think 'maybe we could try this', what you really mean is 'I want to pull this out of the cupboard five years from now and wonder what the hell I was thinking'. etc.) And we'll start clean.

4 comments:

Amber said...

OK, this totally made me laugh out loud, because I can so relate. Except my mantra should be, "We already have plum sauce. We already have plum sauce. We already have plum sauce."

Thanks for the humour!

Julie said...

lol! we have the same sauce issue. you need it for one recipe, you end up not really loving the recipe and then it gets forgotten and pushed to the back of the fridge where it lives out a long but lonely life.

i need to do a cleaning.

Anonymous said...

This just made me like you more. Does it help to know you are not alone? And why do I have 5 cans of chickpeas but no tomato sauce? Zarah

NoisyBluebird said...

I repeated FAIL FAIL FAIL at the art of refrigerator maintenance. Every couple of weeks I just accept that 'it's time' and I start going through purging leftover containers and washing out the fruit and veggie bins. I used to have a big deep corner cupboard for the canned food. It was a black hole for soups. Now I have one shelf in the panty and when it gets full and starts spilling over into the baking shelf I know 'it's time'.

My applesauce? Canned icing. All varieties. Every time I need a can for a cake filling I buy a new one because i don't want to be decorating and then realize I have no canned icing and have to run out mid-cake. One time while cleaning out the fridge and baking bins I came across 12 cans. I made a pyramid out of them on the counter and took a picture. I'm a visual learner so I hope this works.

We already have icing, we already have icing, we already have icing.