Starting From Scratch All Over Again…

August 17, 2009 at 6:48 am 5 comments

The cheese stands alone

The cheese stands alone

This week marks the point in my experiment when I officially begin to lose my mind.

I traveled to New Jersey this weekend (by choice, yes) and still managed to eat mostly from scratch, thanks to my mom … well, aside from all the eating I did at a whirlwind wedding that included a white horse and the latest Bollywood hits.

About two hours ago, I landed in Seattle with enough food from my mom to get me through lunch tomorrow — but I’m utterly unprepared for the week. It turns out all my planning ahead from last weekend only got me through a few days. I don’t have any food leftover, except for a brick of paneer … the cheese stands alone.

Anyway, that means I’m basically starting from scratch all over again without the benefit of a weekend (tomorrow, aside from work, I’m going to see Jeff’s family before starting on my food prep). But before I pull all my hair out, I suppose I should remind myself that this is what the experiment is all about — finding ways to cook from scratch in the midst of everyday chaos.

I also need to remind myself not to turn into a reclusive mad scientist-type who spends her evenings cooking and blogging feverishly, while spurning yoga (or physical activity in general) and shunning my friends who dare to take me away from my “very important work.”

This week, my goal is to start thinking more long-term — not just about freezing enough food to get me through the next meal or two. Here are a few ideas I hope to try out:

1.) Canning/jarring more items — especially pickles and jams (I may need to take a class on this…)
2.) Start using the food dehydrator to make quick snacks, like banana chips
3.) Make large batches of staple condiments, like mayonnaise, mustard, and chocolate (yes, that IS a staple)
4.) When making bread, save a few batches of dough so I can just pop one in the oven (insert “bun in the oven” joke here).
5.) Start cooking more with friends to produce a wider variety of items (i.e. not just Indian food). Jon & Jeff – I’m looking in your direction.
6.) Try making yogurt again, now that I know it’s not death yogurt.

In the event that I don’t actually turn into a deranged cook (think Swedish Chef meets Sweeney Todd), this week has the potential to be extremely eye-opening … proving to myself the extent to which I can truly cook and eat from scratch without being a completely insufferable person.


Entry filed under: Equipment, Preparation. Tags: , .

Mom-Tested Tips for Cooking Indian Food From Scratch Living Fajita Loca

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Uma  |  August 20, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    What’s a food dehydrator? And, when am I coming over for dinner?

    • 2. shiwanis  |  August 20, 2009 at 7:20 pm

      Think fruit leathers, banana chips, and dried mango in the comfort of your own home! Dinner next week?

  • 3. Kellie  |  August 20, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Ha! I tried canning peaches once. It was a total disaster, involving an enormous mess and a sweaty, bitchy cook vowing (some time around midnight after 10 hours of wrestling with peach pits and mason jars) “NEVER AGAIN….” The moral of that story was twofold: don’t buy crates of peaches that are on sale due to a freak summer hailstorm, and don’t have a mother-in-law who can can peaches blindfolded. And I’m still enough of a masochist to volunteer myself to attend a canning class with you. Chutneys can’t be so hard, right?

  • 4. Hannah  |  August 20, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    If you decide to take a class on canning/jarring, lemme know cause I’ve been thinking along those lines for a few months now (it helps that my sister-in-law has a lovely plum tree whose fruits I could happily eat all year long).

    Secondly, when Jeff was learning how to butterfly chicken, I swear he brought over a chicken 2-3 times a week for two weeks. Which is to say that, to save your mind and save you time, it’s probably ok to make something you’ve made before.

    And our potluck idea died before it was even born. 🙂

    • 5. shiwanis  |  August 20, 2009 at 9:49 pm

      Yeah, my friend Kellie was interested in canning too — I think it’ll be a fun fall activity. I’ll definitely keep you posted!

      I think you’re right — I shouldn’t be too hard on myself about leftovers & repeating recipes.


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