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It’s All in the Planning

To continue on yesterday’s theme, a subcategory of the locavore’s biggest struggle is the need to plan ahead.  I have never been much of a planner (as my very erratic and eclectic life clearly reveals), and that has had to change over the last couple of years.  For if I don’t plan ahead, I often can’t eat. There is no quick food in this house.  Nothing instant, nothing pre-packaged.  Here are a few pictures of our fridge, pantries and freezer.  Note the lack of corporate packaging and logos.  Pretty much everything has been processed in this house (and I think all the produce was grown by my roommate).  This represents an awful lot of planning, time and work!





This has required not only a lot of time, but also planning.  I need to actually schedule time in for canning and cooking.  Even on a daily basis, I have to make sure I leave enough time before I get really tired at the end of the day to decide what I’ll be eating the next day.  What needs to be taken out of the freezer?  What needs to be soaked?  Does the sourdough starter need to be fed?  The sauerkraut burped?  The milk turned into yogurt as it’s threatening to soon turn sour?  (by the way, the large pail in the fridge is milk, which we got last night and will be put into smaller jars at some point today to keep it fresher and minimize fridge space).  The fastest food I have is toast, which is only fast if I’ve gotten around to making bread!  I need to keep a constant watch on my supplies and always be thinking ahead.

There’s a wonderful book I’ve been reading (well, I read half quit a while ago and have not quite gotten around to finishing it, but I hope to!) called Kitchen Literacy: How we lost knowledge around food and why we need to get it back.  In it, an 19th century American woman’s life is described, based on the careful notes found in one New England woman’s diary.  In it, she plans her food a year in advance at times!  While I don’t have to go to nearly that extreme for many things, certainly I must take advantage of what is available when, or – like the pears I never got around to canning this fall – I have to do without for a year.  Of course, unlike the woman in the story, for me this is by choice. I could certainly go to the grocery store and pick up anything that I missed putting by during the harvest, but generally I chose not to. In most cases, I’d prefer to go without than to buy something industrially produced.  And I’d rather stay organized than do without.  So I plan and work at improving my self-discipline.

Doing so has actually been a really fantastic experience for me.  I have always enjoyed living more on the Bohemian end of the spectrum, but planning ahead and staying organized is dramatically reducing my general levels of stress and anxiety, and increasing my productivity in all areas of my life.  Who knew?!  I’m sure this is not surprising to many, but it certainly is a pleasant discovery for me. I find that being organized around food requires being organized in other areas of my life.  What a great side effect!  One more reason to stick with it.


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