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Hangers On

June 3, 2014

So, we’re moving again. Last time I was in this situation was July. We have until the end of the month to pack up our things and move on. This was the part that I thought I would hate. Truly. Ask me after moving back into our Albany home if I still feel this way, but right now I’m finding the exercise to be liberating.

There’s just too much stuff. We have too much stuff. And moving down here, we managed to rid ourselves of about a third of it. Now that we’re moving back, I’m going to take the chance to thin out the load another time. And when we clear out our Albany storage locker, there will be even more culling.

It’s true that I didn’t expect to use all the files that I brought down to Princeton, and I didn’t. But I had kind of hoped to finish some of the foodstuffs that I schlepped across state lines. Now I’m taking inventory of our pantry, and there are some things that have no chance of being consumed before we leave. Some we’ll bring back to Albany.

 There are actually a few forces at play which have created my current fix.

The first is clearly my love of food and ingredients. I love buying things that I want to cook with. However, the executional realities of that cooking may not have been thoroughly considered.

Take for example the pasta. Normal semolina pasta. We’ve got both fancy versions and everyday supermarket boxes laying around. They never get made. Mostly because Mrs. Fussy won’t eat them. She requires a bit more fiber in her diet. Really, we all do. However, if the wife weren’t here I would probably make a fun dinner of it for me and the kids. 

Actually, that gives me an idea. When my better half is away in London later this month, I’ll make a decadent meal from that pasta, the remnants of our super fancy butter, and probably some prosciutto and peas. Oh man. That’s a great plan.

Sometimes in my enthusiasm for ingredients, I overbuy. This happened most recently with the incredible variety of lentils I discovered at the Indian supermarket. There is no possible way we can eat all of those before we leave. But at least those will be easy to bring back to Albany.

I’m also sitting on a surprisingly large stash of tea bags. This goes back to the cold brew tea experiments this year. I started out making the tea with PG tips and it was excellent. But I wondered if I used a lesser Trader Joe’s English breakfast tea, would I still get similar results? The answer was no. So I bought a box of 100 Tetley tea bags, and those did the trick. Even though I’m never without iced tea, it seems like I’ve barely made a dent in that thing. Of course, the decidedly less delicious Trader Joe’s tea bags are still lingering around too.

Speaking of lingering, I still have one last pouch of matzoh ball mix from Passover. The good news is that Young Master Fussy loves matzoh balls. The better news is that his love for these things is also helping me go through the stash of frozen chicken stock cubes I’ve accumulated.

But we’re well past oatmeal season. I’ve been making overnight oats that may help me get through the rolled oats, but I won’t touch the steel cut ones until fall at the earliest.

There are some things that I know the kids just won’t touch either. Yes, I could lay down the law at dinner time. Sometimes I do. But lately, I’ve chosen to stack the deck in favor of meals everyone likes instead of facing the long faces around the family table. 

But that means the whole wheat couscous I picked up earlier this year has never been made. And unless I eat it all myself, nobody is going to touch it. Mrs. Fussy at least would go for a polenta dinner, but the kids always choose to forgo dessert rather than have a few modest bites of this delicious preparation.

Now for someone who doesn’t bake, I have a ridiculous amount of flour. There is all-purpose, Indian maida, chickpea, and buckwheat. Part of me hopes to still make a recipe for quick buckwheat blinis, because they would go great with the smoked salmon we’ve got on hand. But even the simplified recipe is still a pain in the ass.

There may be some way to get creative with the chickpea flour, but we may need to donate the refined white flours to someone who is staying on at the Institute for another year.

Speaking of passing things on, when our German neighbor left, I took three small jars of Magi Klare Gemüsebrühe. It’s a powder that creates a clear vegetable bouillon. But as much as I had intended to switch over to soup snacks in the afternoon and evening, that never materialized.

And then there are the things I’ve had for a long time but just can’t ever seem to finish. About a million years ago, Albany Jane gave me a bottle of her homemade vanilla extract. It’s still almost full. There’s another bottle I’ve been working through first, but even that I can’t seem to drain.

That’s not even the worst of it. There are still a few spoonfuls of the fine white Himalayan salt Mrs. Fussy and I got on the first day we moved to the Capital Region. Salt, luckily, never goes bad. But still, it’s embarrassing.

The situation with the fancy oils and vinegars is far less dire. After paring down before the move, and more mindful consumption over the course of the year, I’m down to some crazy delicious sherry vinegar, a thick and sweet balsamic, a NY-made roasted pumpkin seed oil, and a single estate olive oil from Chile.
 Only three of those came with us on the truck down to Princeton.

One thing I tried to be good about this year was buying new things. So when I saw some interesting cocktail bitters in minuscule .5 oz bottles, I picked them up. And it’s even possible I’ll get through them before we go.

Maybe that’s progress. 

Anyhow, my goal is to use up as much of what we’ve got as I can. It may lead to some unusual combinations. I’ll keep you posted if I come up with anything good.


One Comment leave one →
  1. June 3, 2014 3:56 pm

    I will totally help you out with that vanilla extract and buckwheat flour. I’ve been running through the vanilla extract like mad lately.

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