Pantry Challenge still going after Day 51



Today marks Day 51 of the Armageddon Pantry Challenge.

I must admit, this experiment has gone on much longer than I expected. In fact, it’s dragging on so long that some participants are begging for it to end by May 1 (not me).

Meanwhile, I’m struggling to put together passable meals with the bizarre menagerie of ingredients remaining in the cupboard. I’m still dreading the assortment of canned clams, beans, olives and frozen okra.

The truth is, we’ve proven that we could outlast most emergencies with our food stores. Granted, we have the luxury of electricity, which has helped keep our freezer storage fresh, which accounts for the meat we’ve eaten. Also, the “cheat” foods we chose at the beginning of the challenge have helped us make meals more edible, with dairy and fresh produce.

I’ve become accustomed to skipping most of the aisles in the grocery store, ignoring the temptation of the middle aisles I’ve nicknamed “the danger zone.”

We still have staples such as flour, sugar and yeast, so I can make the baked goods we normally might purchase from the store. But that requires planning and effort, obviously.

Hubby and I agree that the biggest sacrifice so far in the challenge has been convenience. We can’t just go get something we want. Drive-thrus are off-limits. I can’t just pick up a rotisserie chicken. Pizza delivery is strictly verboten.

I’ve noticed conspicuously-placed coupons and fliers around the house lately advertising 49-cent tacos and pizza delivery deals. It should be noted these appeared after the “please-God-let-this-be-over-by-May” discussion.

This ridiculous propaganda promptly found its way into the trash, much like the cereal coupons that someone had clipped in anticipation of the end of the challenge. At this point, we have seven boxes of cereal remaining in the pantry.

“What’s this? This expires before we’ll be done with the challenge. Why are you keeping this?” I asked hubby, waving the coupon.

“Whaaat?! That’s good until mid-May!” he said, snatching his precious General Mills coupon. “We better be done by then. I’m definitely done by then!”

It should be noted that this incident took place during the same weekend in which hubby partook of delicious homemade crepes for breakfast. Seriously, he is clipping coupons for cereal we don’t need after he eats homemade crepes?

And people wonder how we ended up with more than 20 boxes of cereal in the cupboard.

Clearly, the pantry challenge serves as a much-needed intervention. If his cereal-hoarding continues, he could end up starring on “Extreme Couponing” or something.

I’m betting this insane experiment could go on another month. However long it lasts, I know what we’re working toward as that pantry empties out. Remember the contraband gelato? Yes, the gelato hubby claimed was part of the “dairy” group. The gelato that remains sealed and sequestered in the garage freezer.

Well, we’ve reached a compromise after weeks of impasse on the frozen confection’s fate. The gelato will be the last item consumed in the challenge, signaling our success and the end of this experiment.

I’ll keep that in mind as we wade through the next few weeks of beans and rice.

Erin McIntyre is a writer, master gardener and owner of the gourmet pickle company, Yum Pickles. Email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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