Friday, October 9, 2009

Kim O'Donnell's Eating Down the Fridge Challenge

Readers of this blog might remember a couple of posts about "eating down the fridge." The idea first came to my attention via Kim O'Donnell, formerly of who used to host a weekly chat and blog about all things food related. Kim has moved on to another cyber space called True Slant where she continues her mission.

In the spring of this year Kim challenged her Post readers to eat down the fridge by foregoing the weekly shopping ritual--except for essentials--and making meals from the contents of the fridge, freezer, and pantry. "Essential" is subjectively defined: my essentials (coffee, milk, OJ, yogurt, olive oil) might not seem like a requirement to someone else, but the point is to minimize the weekly grocery haul and just consume what you already have on hand.

For the fall EDF challenge Kim invited guest bloggers to write about their EDF challenges and perspectives, and yours truly was the Friday blogger. You can read my dispatch and then think about how to incorporate the EDF ethos into your own weekly shopping and cooking habits. EDF is a money saving idea in these hard economic times, but it's also a way to clean out the kitchen clutter and start afresh. Think of it as fall cleanup as we transition from summer's dwindling abundance of corn, tomatoes, peaches, and zucchini to fall's harvest offerings of butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and apples. As you eat down your own fridge/freezer/pantry, substitutions are indeed encouraged (no fresh oregano for that sauce? try some dried thyme instead).

EDF dinner with with wine

My own experience of the latest round of EDF was to host a French inspired dinner last Saturday using mostly contents from my freezer: boeuf bourguignon using a beef sirloin tip roast, parsley buttered noodles from frozen homemade pasta dough, haricots verts using green beans bought at a Connecticut farmstand, and tarte tatin using frozen homemade pie crust and apples picked two weeks earlier. I also extended my focus to my wine cabinet and opened a special bottle of 1997 Ferrari-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon in the spirit of the WSJ wine writers' "Open that Bottle of Wine Night." Every year they challenge readers to stop saving that special bottle and open it to share with friends and loved ones. We finally got to enjoy a bottle we'd bought seven years ago and it was a sheer pleasure enjoyed with good friends over a delightful evening that cost next to nothing as we made dinner from ingredients we mostly had on hand.

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