NOW / FREE STYLE SCRAPS
I'm a compulsive planner when it comes to food. I can wake up in the middle of the night thinking about the week's grocery shopping and nudge my partner to ask, "How do you feel about halibut this weekend?"
To which she usually answers something like, "I don't want to talk about food right now."
Me? I could plan 24 hours a day, which is why my arms are wide open to the Good Food Box.
Here's the deal.
First you need to organize eight to 12 people - either at your place of work or somewhere in your neighbourhood that can serve as a delivery depot - who commit to purchasing a box of food every week. The box varies vary in size/price from $12 to $32, and you get what you get, local food when it's available, so potatoes, root vegetables and Brussels sprouts around this time of year, and other stuff as selected by the GFB people directly from the Ontario Food Terminal.
Bonus: decent recipes for using the contents. Bigger bonus: all profits go to preparing food boxes for those in need via Foodshare.
My weekly mission? Use up everything that comes in our box.
That works for my two-person household. Before the Good Food Box, we tended to forget we'd already bought broccoli, so we'd find yellowing remnants in the fridge of four bunches we'd never finished. With our new resolution, that won't be happening any more.
Except for yellowed broccoli, which we tossed, I used to pull everything out of the fridge to see what I could cook - another source of pain for my partner. ("That's five days old," she'd say. "Smells fine," I inevitably replied.) So I've got the right stuff for the challenge of using everything up.
Week one we get a big bunch of bananas, a bag of spinach, a pineapple, a big bag of apples, bok choy, potatoes, a ton of sweet potatoes, a head of romaine lettuce and a bag of onions. Price? Seventeen bucks.
So I give up my luxury arugula in favour of the romaine - a cool money-saver in these trying economic times. We make a batch of baked apples in honour of our bubbes (grandmothers, in case you're not familiar with Yiddish), make way-cool baked sweet potato frites, steam the spinach and bok choy and, ta-da!, even produce a banana bread when the bananas start getting mushy.
We use everything up the first week except the onions - onion soup, here we come - and don't set foot in a fruit-and-vegetable store all week except to service our citrus fetish, clementines in my case, red grapefruit in my girlfriend's, and to get fresh herbs. Come summer, I resolve to use only herbs I grow in my garden, and I'll try to pot some to grow indoors for next winter.
Second week, we score some clementines - woo-hoo! - and use up everything in the box again except for the celery. We put some in a soup, but not being into Cheez Whiz, fail to dispose of it all.
My New Year's resolution: continue to make the most of our Good Food Box. I'm thinking we may succeed.
But damn that celery. Any ideas?
For more on the Good Food Box, go to foodshare.net/goodfoodbox01.htm.