The Challenge-The New Year

IMG_0583If you couldn’t get to a store to get more food how long could you hold out?  We assume stores will be there and the income to shop will be there but sometimes circumstances change. There can be natural disasters, power outages, loss of income. If something unexpected happened how long do you think you could go without being able to get to a store for fresh supplies. How self-reliant are we?

A couple of years ago I decided to try that for myself. A friend and I were talking about how much I had canned, frozen and dehydrated that season. The conversation became about more than just how long I could hold out but about how much food we waste and about how much we take for granted. I took the challenge and decided to see how long I could go without setting foot in a grocery store.

It was an eye opening experience. I managed for a good while. I knew I was going to do this so I stocked up on things I thought I would need. I got fresh produce and those green bags to keep it fresh for as long as possible. I read up on cold storage for things like potatoes and onions. I even sprouted seeds for fresh greens. I cleaned out my pantry- using things that had gotten stuffed in the back and might not have been used otherwise. I got creative.

I went into the challenge thinking I would go for a month. Funny thing was the first month was no big deal. Then I tried for another and got through pretty well. It was February so not that long a month. I managed in the end to go three months without going to a store. I’ll admit there were things I missed after a while. I was craving oranges and lettuce for sure. Still, it was doable.

Truth was it made me a better cook. It also made me a more thoughtful consumer.

Part of what I did to challenge myself was to have dinner parties. It wasn’t just about having something to eat, but about having something good enough to serve to guests. I planned for company about once a week. I lucked out in that it was a mild winter and by the end of March that year I was able to forage enough greens for a salad from my little city yard. There is stuff in our yards that is edible that you might not even consider eating normally. More on that in a later post.

I was happy with what I had done but didn’t plan on ever doing that again. But I have been getting inquiries from a few friends about the challenge. Several said they would like to try it, too. So I decided to go for it again. After January 2nd I will stop going to the grocery store and see how long I can hold out this time. I must admit to having some mixed feelings. I want to get something new out of the experience.

Maybe you can help me there. If there are things you want me to talk about or do or cook please let me know. If you decide to try this out I would love feedback about what you are cooking and how you are holding up. With your permission I’ll share your stories.  I also need dinner guests so if you want to come on by for a meal, let me know that, too.


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