When it comes to food, one of the roles that I have assigned myself in our household is, you might say, “food use maximizer.” I want to make sure nothing goes to waste! If we paid for it, we should use it, by Golly! So I continually pay attention to what we have, especially perishable food, and do all I can to use it while it’s still good.
When it comes to “maximizing” our food’s use value, it helps that I’m not too finicky about what I eat.* For instance, we have a container of garlic powder that my wife disavowed months ago, saying she didn’t like it. She bought another brand. I, on the other hand, am fine with the rejected garlic powder. I’ve been putting it into my veggies each time I saute them up. I did this today, and I was thinking, “Wow, I’m almost done using that unwanted thing. I feel so good about myself!”**
Speaking of veggies, there is often an abundance of fresh vegetables in the refrigerator. More than one time we’ve had to toss vegetables that were left unused. I try to be nice about this, but I admit it: there’s something not right in the world when you let perfectly good foods go to waste.*** To remedy this, I have found myself actively making a point to cook with vegetables, such as zucchini, mushrooms, and bell peppers.
Other items I have “saved” from the fate of being waste include cream cheese, bread, meat, and cheese.
The funny thing is, this compulsion not to waste has made my cooking more versatile. Whether it’s adding cream cheese to a saute, or getting used to cooking with zucchini, there are numerous food items that I’ve gotten skilled at using due to my frugal sensibilities.
Again, I’m not saying “not wasting” is the end all of managing one’s pantry. Naturally there is a give and take in life. My wife has certainly helped me be open to seeing other possibilities besides “frugal all the time!”
Meanwhile, there are a couple more onions at the bottom of the refrigerator and I am eagerly looking forward to using each one 🙂
*Yeah, if you ignore the fact that I only eat during an 8-hour window due to Intermittent Fasting and don’t eat red meat.
**This is part of the values system of the naturally frugal.
***I know this is not really true! But… you know… old habits die hard.