The Downsizing Dozen: Forgotten Food

Inside the dark cavern of kitchen cabinets lies our shame and carefully hidden secrets. This is where you’ll find all the junk outlawed during my elimination diet, as well as many unused good intentions pushed behind current favorites. Some items were bought with high hopes, some carried over during the move, and some can be used as evidence against a weak moment at the grocery store.

Since my spouse has climbed aboard the autoimmune wagon to help with his arthritis, I have no one except my daughter to pawn off all the formerly savored treats that no longer play well with my digestive system. And, as an upwardly mobile young career gal, she has little time to cook much less eat a good breakfast. So, our forbidden folly sits neglected, taking up guilty room.

Truth be told, in order to accommodate more storage in our galley kitchen with little wall space, we need the deeper shelves. We’ve found that our great downsizing experiment requires longer arms and a footstool at hand. In order to reach a dimly remembered ingredient, we have to complete a full evacuation while regretfully reliving one by one the foolishness of our purchases and total lack of willpower in the snack aisle.

The one advantage is that as we repeatedly handle our sins, the desire to get rid of the evidence grows stronger, either by conscious effort to cook the malingerer and never buy it again, or by food pantry donation. I am relieved to find that almost all the dry goods, condiments and frozen sundries we hauled from our old house last June have been consumed or recycled.

That’s not to say that there might be a few flirty campfire marshmallows, cavorting candy canes and malicious macaroni boxes still lurking in the shameful shadows. Like death and taxes, the presence of forgotten food is unavoidable, but we’ll keep trying anyway.

Just give us until April 15th.

Once a month for the next twelve, I’ll feature another step in the downsizing journey that didn’t just begin when we sold our suburban house and moved to a small walk-up apartment in June of 2014. This shift to a simpler life has been years in the making, and I hope you’ll join me in my family’s quest to get down to basics. My inaugural post entitled Giving It All Away was featured in July, Make It Stick in August, Following Your Feet in September, Case of the Missing Mac in October, Diminished Drumsticks in November, Dwindling Decorations in December, and Finding Focus in January.

8 thoughts on “The Downsizing Dozen: Forgotten Food

  1. But, Tamara, if you always put an item you use back in the front, the things you never use will soon all be in the back. Then you can happily forget they are there. Your shelf may not be simplified, but your field of vision will be. At least it will be until you wonder where that third ant on the shelf today may have come from. That puzzlement led me back one time, on a visit home, to my mother’s old steam iron, which had become the steel fortress for a colony of the tiniest ants I have ever seen. Mom had no need of the iron for the polyester outfits she was by then wearing, so a small simplification did indeed follow.

  2. Death, taxes, and forgotten food. Our shared fates. Certainly you’ve had greater challenges in the matter of pantry management, but the lurking ghosts of snacks past and ingredients without recipes is something I’m familiar with.

    I loved the weaving in of words like “guilt,” “shame,” “outlawed,” “regretfully.” That whole vocabulary paints the picture of the struggle. Then you have the “flirty” marshmallows. Perfect word. I confess to chuckling at the “full evacuation” — I can hear the alarm sounding.

    Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one with mysteries an inch away from the end of my arm.

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