Tidying up before The Feast

Urgency Day 317


500 Things Items 176-184: Kitchen Scraps

  • History: Had a need, bought a thing
  • Value: Esp. well-used, Pyrex bowls and loaf pan
  • Parting Pain: None- I love more room in the cupboards
  • Un-possessing: Donations


Cue the Linus and Lucy theme and hand me a “wet sucker,” because I’m jumping in the nearest pile of leaves.

I love fall. No make that,

I LOOOOVE fall!!

Here are ten random things that are better about fall:

  1. Apples—real ones with a few brown spots and no shiny wax, from the farmers’ market or better yet, U Pick ‘em apple groves
  2. Chill in the air so you need…
  3. Sweaters, the cozier the better for sitting around…
  4. Fires—in a fireplace or a campground or a backyard fire pit
  5. Orange, brown and red after the silly day-glo colors of summer
  6. Leaves turning orange, brown and red and…
  7. Falling leaves swirling in the wind like disoriented flocks of birds
  8. The woodsy, fecund smell of fallen leaves and (probably illegal) leaf burning in backyards
  9. Pumpkin patches, the more Sincere the better
  10. Anticipating the holidays which is always way better than the holidays themselves

And, of course, stews and soups and chili, oh my. Seasonal cooking is always appealing, but for me, never more so than in the fall.

Last week, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman chronicled a week he spent cooking just for himself and mostly using pantry staples. His piece, The Pantry Diaries, got me thinking about the need to go through my own pantry and stock up on the fall staples I would be turning to again and again in the coming months: beans, pastas, canned or boxed tomatoes, broths, tuna and artichokes packed in olive oil, brown rice and lentils. I love how these satisfying ingredients are also some of the most frugal.

So, I’ll be watching the grocery store fliers for sales on these items to bolster my supplies; asking my friends who shop with an eye on the final cha-ching to alert me when they see these things go on sale where they shop; and organizing my recipes to accommodate autumnal flavors.

But I realized that by stocking up, even in this reasonable way, I am not, strictly speaking, adhering to my downsizing project.

For all my affection for the season, fall is not usually associated with downsizing. In fact, it’s usually the harbinger of the traditional more-is-more bacchanalia of the holidays: From waistlines to wasteful spending, everything seems to expand between now and the January 2nd reckoning.

I began to wonder if it were possible to introduce a hint of reduction to the season of expansion. I wondered if I could actually decrease something about my kitchen a mere 50 days before the feast, the iconic feast, The Thanksgiving Day Feast, which I am happily hosting this year.

I curiously extended the challenge, and I smugly accepted the challenge– but of course.

Here’s my list of downsizeables, culled not from my basement but from my hard-working kitchen:

  1. Terra cotta garlic baker
  2. Set of 3 measuring cups shaped like teacups
  3. 2 nesting Pyrex bowls
  4. Decorative bowl
  5. Set of wooden salad servers
  6. 2 baking sheets
  7. Broiler pan and tray
  8. Loaf pan with removable drip-pan liner

(Eight lines totaling twelve tools. Nine discards were due today to stay on track.)

Most of this collection are duplicates– suspiciously unnecessary purchases made through the years. A few were gifts (I hope you still love me, givers). The broiler pan was in the oven when we arrived with the one from our old house. (Oops.) If anything else needs explaining, just ask.

I’m confident The Feast will still be delicious.  I suspect I could do this several more times with no impact on my cooking. Hmmm. Another challenge?

Fall is here, and I am rejuvenated.

Isn’t it ironic that fall puts a spring in my step?


6 Responses to “Orts”

  1. kara Says:

    I have two things to say, one, I love getting an email saying that you have a new post up. It’s such a nice way for me to procrastinate just a bit more! Two, I wish I lived closer so I could swing by and rummage through your donation box! btw, your kitchen looks great! Me and my tiny kitchen are envious…

  2. sthibeault Says:

    Name it, babe. It’s yours. And thanks.

  3. melanie Says:

    Love your use of language to paint a thought and make me smile. And to bring to the front of my mind thoughts I’ve had in the back of my mind… the “more is more bacchanalia of the holidays” so true! Aha! No wonder my donations to Good Will go down at this time of year. Great post.

  4. boysgonewild Says:

    Can’t wait to hear what you are cooking for turkey day.

  5. Donna Says:

    We like the things that AUTUMN brings.
    It brings the chill, an end to heat.
    It brings warm socks upon our feet.

    Autumn brings so many things.
    It brings us football–“go team go!”
    It brings the chance that there’ll be snow.
    It brings your family — “Here we go!” (er, come)


  6. sthibeault Says:

    Fabulous! You should write the whole version. I wonder which line in your poem will make me cry…

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