It has never been our practice to buy canned food in bulk so we were really caught off guard. What we always kept full was the freezer. Vegetables and fruits were bought almost everyday. At this point, the contents of the freezer have dwindled alarmingly. If Landers had not delivered (incomplete as it was), we won’t have vegetables. It’s worrisome but we’d rather live like this than enter crowded groceries and fight it out with the panic buyers.
Luckily, we’re finally getting meat and dairy delivered to our doorstep. Robinson’s via Metromart is scheduled to make two deliveries within the week. We’ll have fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, seafood and chicken. And, yes, some canned food too.
Start with the most perishable food items
But, first, we’re consuming what we already have. I’ve discussed the plan with my daughter, Alex (she and I do most of the cooking), and we agreed that the best strategy is to keep consuming the most perishable items first — meat, chicken, seafood, vegetables and fruits — for as long as we have access to them. If, at some point, they become scarce or completely unavailable, that’s the time we will start eating canned food.
In the photo above, that chicken is from the last batch of thigh fillets in our freezer. The sauce over the chicken was made with various cheeses. We’re trying to use them in creative ways before they get near their expiry dates. The eggplant side dish was made with the small bunch of vegetables delivered by Landers.
With canned / frozen food, note the expiry dates
Now this is where the “first one in, first one out” rule should be observed diligently. I admit that we never really did that in the past. We buy things and, after that, we buy things again, and the ones from the previous batch get forgotten.
That’s why before the kitchen renovation, we had food everywhere — not only in the kitchen cabinets but on shelves and inside drawers. What we could not fit in the kitchen, we kept in a secondary kitchen. Dried spices we couldn’t even remember buying, seasonings that were never opened, condiments we bought during trips abroad… We ended giving away a lot of stuff because there was no way we could consume all of them before they started going bad.
We can’t afford to be that careless now. Not with the possibility that food supply can become problematic.
Fortunately, because we never really kept large stocks of canned food, we’re almost stocking the pantry from scratch. Speedy bought a can of corned beef, a can of luncheon meat and a can of Vienna sausages before pandemonium broke out. Aside from those, I checked last night and the only other canned food we have are a couple of cans of tomato soup, a can of tuna, and a can of corn kernels. All of those, we will consume before the ones that are scheduled to be delivered this week. And only after we run out of fresh food UNLESS any of those canned items are nearing expiration.
Okay, so, if you’re interested in the cheese sauce and eggplant side dish in the photo, here are the recipes. Note, however, that Alex made the cheese sauce with roux as a base. The recipe below is for a simpler and easier version.
- 2 cups shredded cheese or combination of cheeses
- 1 cup milk (see notes after the recipe)
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste (optional)
- dried herbs and spices (optional; see notes after the recipe)
- Dump the shredded cheese (or cheeses) in a mixing bowl.
- In a small sauce pan, scald the milk (meaning heat it below boiling point).
- With one hand, pour the hot milk over the cheese, slowly and in a thin stream, while stirring the mixture with the other hand.
- When the mixture is smooth, stir in salt, pepper, herbs or whatever spices you prefer.
- Cool the cheese sauce, transfer to a covered container and keep in the fridge. Use within a few days.
*This dish was cooked on a day when we had limited access to ingredients.
***For more recipes, see the main blog.