Monday, 26 March 2012

The Freezer of Doom

I decided it was time to clear out my dad's freezer to see exactly what was in there, so that I could more efficiently plan my attack for the next week and a half.

It was a scary, scary place.

This is kind of how I felt. Image by Michal Marcol.

I think my particular favourite was the discovery of the vol au vent pastry cases... with a use-by date of 2005. Into the bin they went, along with half a dozen friends. Anything that went out of date before 2009 was chucked. Everything else was catalogued and colour-coded according to the urgency with which it needs to be eaten.

I take a fairly cavalier attitude to use-by dates at the best of times, because in general I feel that food in the freezer for a month or two longer than recommended is probably still fine. In my own freezer, nothing is more than six months old, so there is no risk of finding things from seven years ago. I decided that 2009 was a reasonable compromise between avoiding poisoning everyone, and throwing out tonnes of food. If I had chucked everything that was out of date, I'd have thrown out 22 different items, or to put it another way about 6 months' worth of food. I'm not prepared to be that wasteful.

The next task is to work out what exactly I can do with it all, to make sure that it gets eaten. I need to transform the food in this house into a selection of individually-portioned frozen meals. Shouldn't be too hard, I do this all the time for myself.

Slight hiccoughs: firstly, there is almost no fresh veg here. For a while there was a big box of vegetables, apparently, but it all went mouldy. My brother does not have the time or the inclination to cook. There are a few tins of things but they're mostly aduki beans or similar. No tinned tomatoes, no onions, no garlic, no spices that I can find. Thankfully the Tesco order which will arrive in a couple of hours contains tinned tomatoes but I didn't think to add any fresh veg to the order so it'll be a trip down to the local shop to top up on overpriced but critical ingredients.

In the meantime I'm trying to work out what I can cook for this evening, using a variety of frozen meatfree products, half a bag of red lentils, two tins of bean salad, eight portions of instant mashed potato, curry paste and a single tin of peas and carrots. Answers on a postcard, please.

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