Kitchen Culture · Misadventures

Captain Kitchen (or, Kitchen Geek-dom)

For the first time since moving back to the U.S., I am going on a proper vacation next week.  I’ve been  away several times over the past few years, but mostly I’ve just been going to visit friends where they live–super exciting places, like Boise…or Huntsville…or Columbia (MO, not SC.)  Not exactly what one may call “tourists hot spots.”

Don’t get me wrong.  It was great visiting all my sundry friends in all their sundry new homes, but I am ready to leave my car in the driveway, my practicality in my classroom, and go on a real vacation.  And next Monday, I’m doing it.  I’m getting on a plane and I’m flying someplace WARM to do nothing for a whole glorious week.

Needless to say, in my zeal to make my Next Week as stress-free and idle as possible (save swimming, reading books of fluff, and getting a sun tan), it has made my This Week pretty hectic.  School is rough–the kids are climbing the walls and it is a constant battle to keep them even marginally engaged (Guess who’s giving every class an assessment this week?). Then, in addition to all the normal things I do “of an evening,” I’m running weird, pre-vacation errands (Such as, but not limited to, hunting all over the place for a beach bag smaller than Texas that costs less than one million dollars.  Going to the scary tanning booth so I can have some sort of a base so my natural alabaster doesn’t turn to fire engine read in the tropical sun.  Trying on ever sandal ever designed…)  I am also trying to clear out my refrigerator.

As I’ve mentioned before, I work hard to try to avoid throwing away perfectly good food because I forgot about it and it went bad in my fridge.  I’ve been doing a pretty good job–making the stuff I buy, eating what I make, and so on.  So when I made up my list of “Things to Do Before I Leave” I flippantly added, Clear out fridge.  It sounds so easy, doesn’t it?  Three simple little words.  Something I do all the time, right?


What I now know is that I’ve never actually had to clear out my fridge since I made this resolution of mine.  I’ve pared it down, sure, when I was going to be out of town for a few days, but I’d always leave a chili or a stew or a pasta sauce that would be good when I got back.  This is the first time I’ve actually (completely) cleared it out.

And it’s hard.  It’s hard because I’m determined not to waste food.  I’ve had to get creative (what am I going to do with that half-bag of spinach before it gets slimy?  What am I going to do with two random little zucchinis?)

I have made (I am ashamed to admit this) a list of the meals I’m eating between now and IMG_0525when I leave.  I have legitimately done this. I actually mapped it all out.  This list is now hanging on my refrigerator in case I try to “go rogue” and make something I don’t need to before the other stuff is gone.  I wrote down everything.  I included when a friend of mine is buying lunch this week because he lost a bet over March Madness and the friend I’m meeting for dinner because I actually have a night free. I have (since taking a photo of this list) decided to make a chili to use those peppers and zucchini–because I can freeze what I can’t finish.  I’m actually contemplating making a grilled cheese sandwich to use up the last of the shredded cheese and the loaf of bread.   I am trying to eek out my coffee to make it last until I leave so I won’t have to leave perfectly good beans to go stale in my absence. As I write all of these things, I’m becoming increasingly overwhelmed by my own geekiness.

I am actually concerned about this.(I mean, a list?!)  I actually took the time to think all of this through.

Yes.  I admit I probably taking it a bit far, but I don’t think what I’m doing is bad.  I’m kind of proud of myself for using forward planning and trying to be a good steward of my few resources. I feel accomplished that I can make the puzzle fit together.  I’m like the superhero of Kitchen Conservation.

Just call me Captain Kitchen–defending refrigerators everywhere from the dangers of mold…Okay, wait.  Stop.  That’s taking it a little far, even for me.  Let’s just leave it with the fact that I made a list…


11 thoughts on “Captain Kitchen (or, Kitchen Geek-dom)

  1. Congratulations on winning the comment contest. You will love the Highlights Foundation! And don’t be too concerned about the list. I am a list maker from way back. I think I make lists of my lists! Enjoy your vacation, too.

    1. It has! I started doing mostly to try not to be wasteful but I’ve ended up saving money, too! 🙂

  2. Are you kidding? This is so, so impressive! I only hope that someday I can be THIS organized. I long for a day when I actually follow the list I made. Have a great trip.

  3. Very creative. I’ve not tried zucchini in chili before but may throw some in next time. Have an awesome vacation…no lists while you are there! 🙂

  4. It may be geeky, but I make a list of every meal every day of the week! It does help keep down the food waste and the waist line! But in my fridge are all sorts of half empty bottles and jars or salsa or peppers or pickles. Think those never go bad? Not so!

    Enjoy your vacation!

  5. This line is so cute, “Just call me Captain Kitchen–defending refrigerators everywhere from the dangers of mold.” Are you planning on making lists while on vacation? Have a great time.

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