The miracle of growing up in my childhood home was that my mother could put a good meal on the table every night - as well as pack our school lunches and serve us a good breakfast - with the food she had on hand. I remember comparing our, er, her food cupboard to Kroger's. She never bought one of anything, and therefore never had to run to the grocery at the last minute for a missing ingredient.
Finally, after many years of living in the Middle of Nowhere, I have turned into my mother. I do make trips to both Sam's Club (once every four to six weeks) and Tiny Kroger (every 10 days or so) for essentials, but I can put a good, healthy meal on our table every night by "shopping" the pantry, freezer and/or fridge.
I couldn't do this when I lived in Ohio. Meijer and Target were within walking distance; if I needed something, I didn't think twice about running out to fill in any culinary gaps.
But out here in the country? With gas well over $3 a gallon, and heading for $4? I've learned to shop for the future, but more than that, I've learned to grow and preserve a lot of the food we eat.
It's very satisfying to put a meal together, whether simple or complicated, without first making a list and driving to the grocery.
I'm thinking about this now because it's time to plan the garden, of course. What do I use the most? (Onions, celery, tomatoes, beans.) What from last year's harvest have I run out of already? (Garlic, edamame, peas, corn.) I'm so excited that spring is on the way, and so grateful I live in a place where I can have a big garden.
And I'm so grateful to my mother for her good example. Too bad it took me so long to figure it out!
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