|Visiting the Gingerbread House display during the holidays.....|
Today, while most people were returning to their regular workday schedules, I barricaded myself in my house and began the process of de-holidaying. Now, even though I began this work in the very early morning hours, I have not completed it. Given the looks of things, it may be mid-January or perhaps even late January until everything is complete.
We had a very lovely yet super busy 6 weeks---lots of cooking, lots of entertaining, lots of cleaning up, lots of comings and goings and partying and restauranting and falalaing. Although we had a few very, very last minute changes in after-Christmas and New Years Eve and Day travel plans--due to weather and unexpected house guests that stayed longer than anticipated---it was nice to be surrounded by friends and family and enjoy the festive atmosphere in our home along with them.
As I think I've shared many times---I am a big lover of the holiday season and all that goes with it. I willingly and happily tire myself into oblivion with all the cooking and decorating and shopping and partying and everything else. But, come January 2, I am just one big heep of crankiness. I look around at all the aftermath and the work that has to be done to undo all the work that I did for 6 solid weeks and I am ready to crumble to the floor in tears and misery.
Not a pretty sight.......it messes with my looks....
This year, I hit the ground running on November 1, 2012 and literally hit the ground January 1, 2013 after dinner. Up until that moment in time, I was jolly and full of energy and merriment. Then, my holiday switch went off! I didn't even have the energy to clean up after our New Year's Day dinner. So, as soon as our unexpected New Year's Eve and New Year's Day house guests walked out the door, I perched myself on the couch and starred at the TV----I didn't have the energy to change the channel. Because of my inability to switch the channel, I am now completely caught up with the happenings of Dance Moms (a show about a Pittsburgh area dance school that sometimes makes me embarrassed to once have been a Dance Mom in Pittsburgh!)since there was a Dance Moms marathon on! Now I'm informed and interested enough to tune in for their new season to see just what is going to happen with Kelly and her girls......
One of my projects today was to clear the fridge of all the holiday foods that have been lingering in there for far too long. As with most projects I do, it grew many arms. Soon, I found myself forging through the freezer and the pantry as well---growling as I went. When I was finished, I had loaded up 3 garbage bags, 2 empty wine boxes and 1 empty beer case with food to be trashed. As I sat on the floor of my kitchen looking at everything that I would be clandestinely toting out to the trash in the darkness of night, I couldn't help but think how absolutely wasteful I am. I didn't even have the stomach to think about the money that was being trashed or about those people who go without while I stuff my home with enough food to feed a small community. As I went about the business of laundering the holiday linens, putting away all the holiday china and crystal and banishing the holiday platters and tureens and bowls to their non-holiday homes, I was tortured by the question of what possess me to have so much food in the house! I fully admit that when I need comfort or when I am stressed, I always find myself in the kitchen cooking up more food than my little family could ever eat. And, I definitely love visiting grocery stores and finding new ingredients and traveling far and wide to visit culinary treasures. Plus, I am pretty sure that I equate food with love. Perhaps it's the Italian in me. Yet, no matter, it just nagged away at me......pushing me further into my after-the-holidays misery.......WHY DO I HAVE SO MUCH FOOD IN THIS HOUSE?
THEN....I remembered something that my son the doctor told me about......
It's called PANTRY CHALLENGE.
When I was helping him move into his new home, I took on the job of stocking his pantry, his fridge and his freezer. Of course. I did an amazing job if I could say so myself! It allowed me to leave him in his new home knowing he will never starve....
Upon seeing his overflowing pantry, fridge and freezer, he reminded me that he was a single man who will probably only eat one meal a day in his home on weekdays and maybe 2 meals a day in his home on weekends. And, although he loves to cook, he couldn't imagine needing every spice on the planet. Plus, did I forget that he makes it a rule to eat healthy? Then, he laughed a bit and acknowledged that he should have known what to expect when he allowed his mother to take on the job of stocking his pantry, fridge and freezer.
A few days later, he told me that he was considering doing a PANTRY CHALLENGE in order to be a better steward of resources (and to use up all the stuff I stocked his home with!). The challenge would be to live for one month using everything in his pantry, his fridge and his freezer while only shopping for fruits, veggies and dairy. He explained that in addition to being more respectful of resources, the challenge would also force him to be more experimental with his cooking--something he thought he would enjoy. At the time, with his new job and work travel commitments, he knew that he would not be able to do it until early in the new year. But, he was sure he would still have enough stockpiled to take on the challenge at that time.
My wheels starting turning.
I SHOULD DO A PANTRY CHALLENGE. Judi-style, of course!
A Pantry Challenge might be just what I need to help me understand our food consumption better and to force me to be more mindful of what I am buying and cooking.
Plus, I might find some new recipes along the way.......
Since I can't do the challenge in January.....due to the fact that my daughter will still be home and we will be hosting some house guests throughout the month as well as doing some entertaining (YES again!)......I have decided that I will be doing my Pantry Challenge beginning February 1.
WHO wants to join me????