Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pantry Cleanout

By Diana Hsieh

Unlike some people, I didn't clean out my pantry when I first adopted my diet of real, whole foods. In part, that's because I eased into that diet gradually over the course of a few weeks from late June to early July. After that, it was simply not a problem worth fixing right away. I wasn't tempted to eat the junk still left in my pantry, and I've had little time to do home projects like that while I've been writing my dissertation.

Last Sunday, I finally did the deed. Mostly, it was a matter of good timing. I was on break from work. I had a bunch of large and sturdy bags because I just bought six 50-pound bags of horse feed. And Paul was going to haul out the trash that night for pickup on Monday.

I was pretty surprised by how much I had to throw out: three and a half full and heavy bags. I threw out many boxes of pasta, bags of stuffing, vegetable shortening, cans of Campbell's soup, boxes of mac and cheese, angel food cake mix, fruit leathers, granola bars, crystal light mix, cream of wheat, grits, corn meal, dry milk, rye flour, wheat gluten, whole wheat flour, onion soup mix, all kinds of rice, rice noodles, splenda, corn syrup, brown sugars, juice, spray canola oil, and more.

I did keep my white sugar. Although I don't use it at all, I might want it for company. I also kept my white flour, in case I need to make a roux. (I wasn't happy with the roux made from spouted flour; it browned too quickly. I should try it again, however, perhaps at a lower temperature.) Plus, I do still need to make brownies for FROG meetings, and that requires adding a bit of flour to the Ghirardelli mix to compensate for our high altitude. (I wonder what kind of oil I should use for those: maybe cold-pressed walnut oil?)

In the clean-out process, I was amazed to read the ingredient list on my Campbell's tomato soups: sugar and flour are high on the list. (Presumably, flour is used as a thickener.) The major ingredients in their Tomato Soup are "Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Wheat Flour." And for Tomato Bisque, they are "Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Diced Tomatoes in Tomato Juice, Sugar, Wheat Flour, Cream, (Milk), Water." UGH! No thanks!

Now I have so much more room in my pantry. Yeah!

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