Operation Empty the Cupboards


Oh hi. I’ve been busy the past week wrapping up my classes; actually, I’m not quite done. Tomorrow night will comprise my last three hours of “Edible Gardening in the City”. I should be working on my final presentation right now, but I thought I’d quickly provide a state of the nation blog post. (Also, happy one monthiversary to Jam and Idleness!)

My husband and I are moving this summer. I hate moving more than almost anything in the world; I tend more and more towards minimalism anyway but the prospect of moving makes me want to throw away literally everything I own. Just starting over at the other end seems so much less stressful. My husband who, in a significant example of the verity of the clichรฉ that opposites attract, tends towards minor hoarding. So moving isn’t just a lot of work, it’s a struggle of mythical proportions but without the compelling plot line of a good myth.

Before we moved to our current apartment, he was carrying around a shitty old suitcase full of random pieces of paper that he never looked at; some pieces were too faded to read, others were receipts that were almost twenty years old. When I harangued him to toss the bloody thing, he insisted he might need it and its mysterious contents. It didn’t make the last move, but there are other similarly ridiculous packages still tagging along. This can’t go on. These uncared for relics of the past have to be put out of their misery; prolonging their lonely, dusty, neglected lives under the bed and in the back of the closet is just plain selfish.

I love to purge so I’ve begun to prepare for the move by working on my own stuff first. I’ve gotten rid of: two huge bags of clothing and a box of books. I’m now working on ensuring that we bring no more than one box of food with us. Operation Empty the Cupboards has officially begun! Right now, I’m thinking about ways other than soup to use green split peas. I have a lot of split peas. I sometimes impulse buy them (and red lentils) because they look so darned purty in their dried, uncooked state. Also, just having them around makes me feel irritatingly virtuous.

I would love any ideas you have for non-soup-ish green split peas. In the meantime, I’m going to try subbing them in for brown lentils in a recipe I have for sunflower lentil pie. It’s very old school vegan this recipe, but I recall it being quite tasty. I think a bright green meat loaf-ish sort of thing will be adorable; I hope it’ll be tasty and not just a waste of a lot of peas and sunflower seeds. I’ll keep you posted.

Other staples that I have in too great abundance that must be taken care of because they’re not coming with us, dammit:

  • Wild rice
  • French lentils
  • Red lentils
  • Red quinoa
  • Cocoa powder (I know, chocolate mole, right? Sadly, I hate chocolate mole. And I don’t want to spend the next couple of months eating cookies for dinner.)
  • Nori flakes
  • TVP granules

I think I’ll be okay for the lentils…everything else, I either like but have only one recipe for, or I don’t know how to make them awesome (I’m looking at you, wild rice!).

It occurs to me that this is rather a strange obsession. But really, I hate stuff. Stuff just collects dust and makes it hard to find the other stuff that might actually be fun or useful. The only stuff I like is books and I still find myself trying to get rid of the blessed things.

So help me complete this mission by sharing your recipe ideas. You may also help by commiserating loudly with me over the horrors of moving house.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. andrew says:

    I sympathize! We purge and collect in endless Sisyphean waves…

    Nori flakes…easy: toast 1 tbls of coarse sea salt with 3 tbls of sesame seeds until the sesame just starts to change colour and then add in the nori and toast with it, just until the first couple of sesame seeds pop. Then roughly grind it all together. Then cook the wild rice and quinoa and toss with the “gomashio with nori” to taste…but frankly, you’ll put that shit on everything.

    1. Colleen says:

      Amazing. I can’t wait to try this! Thanks, Andrew!

  2. heidenkind says:

    I completely agree with you on moving. I actually have a phobia of owning furniture for that very reason. My parents bought me some basic furniture things (mattress, table, etc.) and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve considered selling all of it on Craig’s List.

    Moving is the PERFECT time to get rid of all your crap. You don’t want to go into a new place and think, “Why on earth did I bring that along?” Much better to move with less than what you need; you’re going to buy more stuff anyway.

  3. Colleen says:

    THE SPLIT PEA SUNFLOWER PIE WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! It tastes even better than the lentil original. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Barbara says:

    Perhaps Brook’s need to fill your closets with detritus of years past should be called, “shelfish.”

    1. Colleen says:

      Off to the punitentiary with you!

  5. J.G. says:

    I love moving because it is the perfect excuse to purge. I am born for the binge/purge cycle (and fortunately do not apply it to anything scary like food). I vividly remember standing in the open door of a U-Haul and telling myself, “For goodness’ sake! They will have brooms there!” Kudos to you for getting an early start and not packing too much.

    But if there’s an unknown Faulkner manuscript in that old suitcase, you’re going to be sorry. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Colleen says:

      But I’ll never know if there was a Faulkner MS. in the suitcase so how can I be sorry? ๐Ÿ˜› I’ll be careful when we go through the eleventy boxes of comics from the early 80s…

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