A moveable feast

Zach Hively - 08/08/2019

I am about to move, which means I am packing. The packing process is an ideal time to assess one’s possessions for their true value to one’s life. Sure, one can handle boxes of junk lightly forgotten in the back of the closet, behind the suit jackets that never fit one just right. But why should one want to move those boxes to a new location, when one could leave them in the crawlspace for some future tenant, or rats?

Purging oneself of unused possessions while packing makes perfect sense, so naturally, one is not doing it. Instead, one’s efforts are going toward eating all my food.

Follow the bouncing ball – my reasoning here goes something like this: Bananas don’t last forever. If a banana is left over come moving day, it WILL get put in a box with other items. Because if college taught me one thing, it was never to date two women consecutively from the same campus organization. And if it taught me a second thing, it was never to pass up food, particularly food that was not “cooked” in the dining hall.

So into the assorted box the banana goes. That box might be the first box I unpack, and a banana will be what gets me through unpacking day. Otherwise, if it’s not the first box I unpack, I will get hangry and quit unpacking, and the banana box will live behind the suit jackets until the odor causes me to move again.

The banana is hypothetical. It could be any food-like item. It could be pistachios, or electrolyte mix. It could be cod. You never know what ends up where on moving day.

That’s why I’m mobilizing all my effort and manpower to consume all the food in this house before going to the next one. This goal requires that I grocery shop as little as possible in the weeks leading up to the big day. In fact, the past week’s grocery list has consisted of the following:

• Bananas, because writing about them made me crave them, okay?

• An avocado, to reinforce the stereotype imposed on my generation by people older than me who forget what it felt like when they had stereotypes imposed on THEM by even older people.

• Bread, local and artisan, whole grain, nine-seed, reduced gluten, because what barbarian goes a day without avocado toast? Not this barbarian!

That’s all. You see, I have a large quantity of food still left in my kitchen. Food that, I have determined, is still there because it doesn’t go well with any of the other food left in my kitchen, and/or I have yet to identify it.

Take for instance these mason jars of dry food. I bought them two houses ago, when I lived near a store with a hearty bulk-food section. Filling mason jars with dry food brought me significant sensory satisfaction. The textures of seeds and grains and dehydrated food bits. Their various colors. Their sounds as they tumbled into my jars. I seriously haven’t been so calmed and entertained since that time I spent too long with a Sharpie in the fifth grade.

Actually, I was so calmed and entertained that I didn’t jot down what those foodstuffs were called, which means now I can’t Google them, which means I am left to toss them in the rice cooker and see which one goes best with the curry ketchup that expired just last Thanksgiving and still tastes fine.

That bad news in all this is that, without names or binomial nomenclature or a thorough understanding of the expiration process and its impact on flavor, I can record precious few functioning recipes from my stint as a Mr. Julia Child. But here is one example of a culinary discovery that you, too, can make at home with the blinds drawn.

Zach’S Moving Day Melange

Prep Time: Variable
Cook Time: Optional
Ingredients: Dry ingredients; wet ingredients

• Preheat oven or stovetop to 350 degrees, or until hot to touch. Grease an 8 1⁄2” by 11” baking pan with coconut oil, butter, Vaseline, or similar substitution to taste. (Leftover containers will work in lieu of baking pan.)

• In a separate bowl or hat, mix dry ingredients. Cocoa powder works. So does jasmine rice. Add spices, peppers, salts, electrolyte mixes, and raisins. Remove raisins, because you remember raisins are gross.

• Mix wet ingredients in anything besides a colander. Add water to taste, if ingredients aren’t wet enough.

• Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Whip one egg and fold into mix.

• Scoop melange into pre-greased container, but on second thought, don’t place it into the oven or on the stove. Contents may be flammable.

• Actually, contents may self-ignite. Call to renew auto insurance, if necessary, then load melange into trunk of car. On your way for barbecue, drop off meal at the nearest dormitory. It’ll get eaten

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