Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Eating and Moving

When moving, my thoughts usually turn to the thrilling prospect of exploring a new foodshed. But on my most recent move a few days ago, I found myself instead paying more attention to how my food life changed during the move itself.

Let's just say I ate a lot of things I hadn't been willing to eat up until it was time to decide between the compost bin, the garbage, and me.

Like turning one only after you've lived for an entire year, moving can't happen until after you've packed, cleaned, donated, drunk a six pack, and so forth. Since you can't snap your fingers and apparate into your new dwelling, you must experience the awkward phase of living amongst boxes and deciding up until the last moment what items are so crucial as to deserve to stay out. And your desire to get packing over with usually outweighs your desire to have access to a cutting board.

With half of your possessions in boxes and the other half at Goodwill, preparing even a simple snack becomes daunting. We did a lot of cutting directly on the top of a wooden hutch, and several meals were cooked in a single non-stick skillet with a silicon tipped rubber spatula as the only tool. For a few days we shared one plate and reused one cloth napkin.

We drank out of peanut butter jars, and then left them in the recycling bin before driving away. We ate simple meals like noodles and eggs (at top), and extravagant meals made from freezer items that simply had to go.

Since the refrigerator must be left empty, you are forced to take a good hard look at your food supply. Suddenly your Softasilk flour and vodka so cheap as to only be drinkable in jello shot form have nowhere to hide, and like children left on your doorstep, must now be dealt with.

You must throw away the jar of pitted sour cherries in brandy that you bought your girlfriend, now your wife, at the Smokehouse Deli in Cleveland back when you were a touring sketch comedian. As a general rule, if you have food left over from an entirely different career, it's time to let go.

We said goodbye to frozen pieces of our wedding cake, unmarked jars of homemade jam, and corn husks too brittle for making tamales.

On the plus side, I found myself revisiting old friends I'd nearly forgotten. Though we bid farewell to the cake, we defrosted and devoured a container of the sweet potato-peanut-pimenton soup that Amanda made for our wedding, which remains one of the best soups I've ever slurped, even after a half year in the freezer. The taste brought me back; I didn't realize that freezers were also time machines.

Perhaps the best rediscovered food was a frozen cow tongue that we cooked in the Crockpot and then ate in gorditas so good they deserve their own post. (Stay tuned.)

There were also forgotten foods that were precious enough to merit space in the U-Haul. These included jars of dehydrated chicken of the woods, local dried beans, bricks of baking chocolate and the remaining half bottle of Aquavit that Seth and Maggie brought me from somewhere in Scandinavia.

Moving also threw a wrench into gardening, which we basically can't do this season because we'll be moving again in September. But luckily, one strawberry ripened before we left.

The others will have to be a gift to our neighbors or, more likely, birds and squirrels.

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Margaret said...

Well said. Any chance of getting a recipe for that temptingly-rich-looking peanut, etc soup? Anything good enough to be a time machine after half a year in the freezer deserves to be set down and allowed to spread. :)

Megan Carroll said...

I know I am moving in the autumn... I want to start packing now, but of course my kitchen implements will be the last packed....

Kristian said...

Can't wait for the cow tongue post. I have a frozen cow tongue in mine as well (and a cow heart, in case you have a recipe for that).

Aaron Kagan said...

I haven't done a cow heart, but maybe this will give you some inspiration:

And of course there's always Fergus Henderson.