Thursday, July 31, 2008

People say the funniest stuff...

How people have responded to my little experiment has been very entertaining to me. Some samples:

"Kathy, what if 'The Crisis' comes at the end of your experiment and you're already out of food?" [Read The Fourth Turning or it's website to get the flavor of 'The Crisis']

Sitting down at a table of ladies, all complete strangers but one, for a bridal shower, "I was just telling everyone about your experiment and wondering if you were allowed to eat here?" [The answer to that would be yes :)]

After offering a friend a piece of zucchini bread: "Oh no! I couldn't take any food from your house this month!" [don't know whether that was a comment on my cooking or not...]

After telling a friend that I have been reading "The Emporers of Chocolate" and how it totally made me crave chocolate: "You mean you didn't stock up on chocolate before you started?" [the suffering simulation probably saved me a 10 lb weight gain right there!!!]

My husband and sons are off on a scouting adventure full of non-suffering food. Not much else to report.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Windows of Heaven

Okay, really it isn't a fair contest. Last week we had two barbecues (sent home with tons of leftovers from one.) Saturday I went to a gorgeous luncheon at my former student's bridal shower. Today I was in charge of a funeral luncheon and came home with half a ham, a casserole called not-so-ironically "funeral potatoes," a salad and more than a dozen rolls. Bottom line, is that with the exception of my children being force fed all manner of squash, nobody has suffered a smidgen.

We are out of lettuce, which is a major food item here, and almost every other fresh vegetable. In our garden we have swiss chard, basil and zucchini for greens and pumpkin, kabacho, and butternut squash for oranges. We are almost out of milk, will have to resort to Rice Milk (which some of us like and others don't).

Today Carlee (our "mother's helper" or "my sanity keeper") made a batch of plum sauce from our tree and a double batch of plum bars with it. These are amazingly wonderful and a treat we look forward to this time of year. We'll have eating plums for a week or so and there are a few more peaches. No grapes came this year :( We have a few lemons and could probably get oranges from our next door neighbor but fruit is more or less coming to an end. This will be big for the kids, they eat tons of fruit. I mean really! I usually buy at least 5 bunches of bananas and that doesn't usually last the week.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Caught Red-handed

So, this needs a little preface. The suffering simulation was supposed to start this coming Sunday. It has been scheduled for several months. But the groceries were not cooperating. I do my main shopping at Trader Joe's about every 3 weeks and I needed to go about a week and a half ago. Then I needed to go to Costco for a dinner party for my graduated mentees and I thought "Kathy, this is entirely too stupid to waste the full cupboards and a trip to Costco to do this shopping again next week." So I moved up the simulation a week knowing that Jonathon's birthday party would require shopping the day of (this particular family can not "store" ice cream). And on top of that I received news yesterday of a fellow church member's passing and am in charge of the dinner provided for the relatives and close friends. Which means I go to Costco to get spiral cut hams and rolls.

So I'm pulling into the Costco parking lot and think to myself. "I shouldn't have sent out that email with my blog on it yesterday. I'll probably see someone that read it and they'll think I'm a liar." I assure you that lying is not one of my deadly sins. But, as luck would have it, I was not in the door 10 FEET before I ran into a friend who innocently asks "You're not here to get food are you?" So I'm doing the song and dance about the birthday being a known aberration in the experiment and looking like a complete idiot. But, alas, such is the life of a celebrity I four weeks of fame are here at last.

So the final guideline that now everyone must know, life in a fishbowl requires complete transparency: our children are allowed to get on their bike, with their own money, and ride to the store to buy anything they want. We live a good half an hour ride to the nearest grocery store, so it's no small feat. And remember, our main goals are to teach our children hard work and gratitude. I think they'll be more grateful for milk they buy themselves and haul (uphill!!!) in a backpack (and, who knows?, they might even put it back in the fridge...)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cooking frenzy

We are overflowing with squash from the garden. Today I made zucchini bread (2 cups of sugar to sell 4 cups of squash) and cooked a kabacho. I think that's spelled right but it's an orange squash that looks like a turban. You can cook it like a pumpkin, cut in half and bake until tender. After it cooled I scraped it out, I will probably make biscuits with part of it and see how that goes. I've done it with yams and the consistency is very similar. I also made a batch of pasta and used the basil from our garden in a pesto sauce and tossed the pasta and pesto with our first yellow tomato. Two greens, one yellow, and one orange. Not a bad morning's work.

While all that was baking I also made a batch of brownies for a women's meeting for church tonight. The kids are hoping there are leftovers for them :) So I guess we can add a brown to the mixture.

Still haven't run out of anything yet but only have one head of lettuce left and none grew in either place I planted it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 4

It is very uneventful so far because we're still in a grocery week and haven't run out of fresh food. So I decided to talk a little about the preparation for this.

We put in a huge garden area in the spring. It was waist-high in weeds and we cleared and fenced a 50 x 100 foot area. This included putting in "chicken utopia" (a fenced in chicken run containing a grapefruit tree for shade and poultry wire all around and on top, with a used shed for a coop and TWO gates for the chickens to be allowed on one side of the garden or the other). The chickens have been incubated and hatched by some friends of ours and we are anxiously awaiting their arrival.

I also stocked up the pantry and fridge spending about $200 at Trader Joe's and $400 at Costco. It was good to think about all the things we need but it will be interesting to see what we actually run out of. Or who knows? Maybe we won't.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why would we do this?

Our family is going to live for 4 weeks on what food we have in the house and garden. Many people have asked me to blog it. I guess because it is so weird and bizarre that they can't imagine why anyone would do it!!!

Well, Georgics for one thing. Getting a tie to the land, seeing a purpose in something as dreadfully boring as gardening (I speaketh for myself, my husband thinks it's great fun....)

Healthy eating? Anything that's "quick" from the store is full of stuff we should avoid in the first place!

But mostly for gratitude and hard work. My kids take for granted, they waste food, they complain when it's not their favorite dinner. Hopefully the suffering will make them see that they don't have it so bad. Not to mention me seeing the same thing :)

I should probably add that we are not your typical family. We have 6 kids (ds 17, ds 14, dd 11, dd 8 (today!), dd 4, and dd 2) and we already eat weird. 90% of our eating (at home anyway!) is whole grain. And we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints so we have been admonished to keep a year's supply of food. I know we've never made it but we do have thousands of pounds of grains/legumes (that might be a slight exageration, my husband will be compelled to find the right answer and get it on here.) We also have 75 cans of chili in the garage (give or take, whatever...) That's a funny story in and of itself but we'll save it for another day :) My point is, nobody is going to actually starve to death