Throwing perfectly good food in the garbage, doesn't seem like a smart thing to do, however, I did find all kinds of random foodstuffs cluttering the shelves. The only way to get rid of it was to eat it, so I grouped all our "pantry orphans" on the dining room table and planned our weekly menus around them.
|OMG, this picture is so terrible, and I can't recreate it because we have eaten most of this|
Half a bag of egg noodles that Seamus brought home from Germany
Can of water chestnuts
Half a bag of black-eyed peas
Half box of lasagna. (WHY can't there be lasagna packages that are just enough for one 9 x 13 pan?)
Can of anchovies
Small bag of mung beans
Quarter of a bag of butterscotch chips
Jar of roasted red peppers
Can of Campbell's tomato soup
Rosewater - noticed later that it expired a year ago. But it can still be used as a "linen spray." Bonus!
Chocolate "liquor sauce"
Partial bag of marshmallows
Asian egg noodles
Home-canned jam in mystery flavor
Home-canned pickled peaches
Home-canned pickled green beans
Home-canned chutney--jars and jars of it
Korean hot pepper powder
Asian garlic/chili paste
Wisconsin mustard that I brought home from business trip
Whole wheat pastry flour (WHY did I saddle myself with this?)
Tiny amount of rye flour
So I realized that listing what I cooked with these things is actually even more boring than the list itself. I made lasagna with the lasagna? Genius! In the end, we ate a lot of stir fries, a beef-Campbell's tomato soup-egg noodle dish that my mother used to make, hoppin John (with the black-eyed peas), and assorted cookies to use up the raisins, nuts, and the whole wheat pastry flour. The marshmallows were so stale, we threw them away. The rye flour, I incorporated into a pizza crust, and the jar of roasted peppers went into some delicious French-inspired baguette sandwiches.
We still have a few things we haven't eaten, such as the mystery jam, which I think is cherry butter. I seem to buy a lot of condiments and sauces, which is super-wasteful if you buy them for one recipe and never need them again. I need to stop doing that, although at this point, fish sauce and other Asian condiments have become staples in our house.
Rounding up and eating all the pantry orphans was a satisfying little project. It felt like an accomplishment and it taught me a few things about my food-buying habits. What would your pantry orphans be, if you went looking for them?