Sunday, May 20, 2012

Recap: Austerity Measures

On April 15, 2012, I made a vow to avoid going to the grocery for a month. It was an exercise in both creativity and frugality. I wanted to force myself to dig to the back of my fridge for the impulse tahini purchase and make something interesting out of it. I also wanted to be friendly to my budget. Was I successful? No and no. Well, actually maybe and maybe.

This is my refrigerator before and after.

I love the fact that I still have the one lonely Miller Light. And note the tahini. 

Regarding the trips to the grocery, I actually went three times, all to buy ingredients for dishes to bring to occasions. Deviled eggs for a barbecue, chocolate pie for a friend's birthday, and fruit salad for dinner with friends. I ended up with some much coveted eggs, milk, and produce as leftovers. (And I didn't feel a little bit guilty about using them.)

Regarding the creativity, I did make some delicious food. My favorite meal was one of my last. Here's what I did:

Meat: I used up the last of my frozen pork. That was truly the gift that kept giving, and I'll be making another pork butt ASAP. I heated it the shredded pork in a skillet with some oil, then took out the pork and coated it in homemade barbecue sauce.

Veg: I found the frozen greens my aunt gave me in January. Using the pork drippings in the skillet, I sauteed the greens in a sauce pot for about 10 minutes. I then added vegetable stock (thank you, pantry), salt, and pepper, and let it cook on low for an hour.

Legume: Last can of kidney beans from the pantry. Last onion, caramelized. In a pot, with barbecue sauce. Heaven.

Carb: Cornbread made with frozen corn kernels and the forbidden eggs and milk.

Regarding the healthiness of my meals, this is where I failed miserably. I really missed fresh vegetables. And now that it's over, I realize that I didn't have as much energy as I normally do during the month of austerity. I didn't gain any weight, but I know that I was missing out on some nutrients.

And finally, regarding the frugality, I did save money in the end, but not as much as I would have liked. I was definitely more tempted to eat out, knowing the alternative beans and rice lurking in my fridge.

So will I do it again? Probably not. It made me realize how much my body needs fresh produce, and I am not willing to give that up for a long time. In fact, I'm headed out to the farmer's market right now to stock up again.

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