Living off the Larder for Lent

Despite technically not being Christian, I do find the the period of Lent a useful time for being especially mindful, whether or not I actually give something up. A couple of years ago when we were working on a food project at SimpleGifts, I thought hard about what I could do without for 40 days that would have a meaningful difference. The usual suspects - sweets, alcohol, etc - seemed a bit self-serving, as I imagined my waistline would be more of motivation than any kind of deprivation on a spiritual level. I thought about the amount of food our 2-person household wastes, despite our best efforts, and how I've often looked in our cupboards and thought "A family of four could live off what's in here for a month!". So, taking that idea forward and throwing in a bit of alliteration, I came up with the idea of living off the larder for Lent - i.e. not doing any extra food shopping for 40 days and subsisting on what we have in store. 4 weeks into this experiment 2 years ago, we had a family tragedy and I had to go to America, so we never made it all the way through. Even so, our meals were getting very "beany" towards the end!

Besides the shelves shown below, we'll also what's in our fridge and freezer (not a huge amount of space). As I'm making up the rules as I go along, I'm allowing our household to top up fresh milk and will most likely have to get some fresh veg as some point, to keep some semblance of basic nutrition. (Also not shown, a rather large sack and-a-half of potatoes and about a dozen onions.) And we are allowed one meal out per week, but when possible will try to make this dinner at friends' rather than an extravagant restaurant meal. This is for mental health/socialisation factors.

What at do I fear the most from this experiment? The day the coffee runs out! We may just have enough for 1 cup/day/person, but are likely to be a bit short. Luckily, we have 100 or so tea bags, so we'll make do. The next worse thing is going to be the lack of eggs. I'm going to make a couple dozen muffin tin-quiches and stick them in the freezer, but after that I'll have exactly 6 eggs. Apparently, chick pea water fluffs up like egg whites, so may have to experiment with that.

And what am I looking forward to most? Making bread! We have half a loaf in the bread box and another small loaf in the freezer, after that I will be breaking out the yeast...

Thank you to Erin Tierney who inspired me to attempt this experiment again. It should be an interesting journey and one that I hope makes me more mindful of waste and grateful for abundance in all forms.

Larder 1