Conscious Kitchen Challenge, Self Exam   8 comments

One of the blogs that I read regularly, Ask An Organic Mom, is doing a conscious kitchen challenge to promote her knew book. I figure I’ll take the challenge and post my results here. To start, the first week is a self exam.

  1. How many meals do we make at home per week? It looks like this is a fixing food at home vs. takeout question. I’m not really sure where frozen lunches or breakfasts like cereal or toast fall because I don’t make my own but on the other hand I’m not stopping at a restaurant. I’ll use the loose definition of grocery vs. restaurant/prepackaged meal (no assembly except heating), which gives us a typical score of +15 (+25, -10).
  2. Look at the ingredient lists on foods in the cabinet. How long are they? Can you pronounce and visualize all of them? The instructions for this questions say to use one item, but I can get very different scores for a range of stuff in our cabinet. There’s the bag of local sun-dried tomatoes that scores +6 points, the can of black beans that scores +8, or the can of soup that scores +11, and then there’s the box of animal crackers that scores -3. Most of the items in our cabinet got a positive score, and I couldn’t find anything that I couldn’t pronounce (but then again, I am a science person).
  3. What’s in your fridge? What is the ratio of fruits/vegetables to packaged foods? We’re helped out by the fact that we only buy produce from the local farmer’s market, and only buy organic milk and butter (although some of the cheese may not be organic). The only packaged multi-ingredient items are juice, beer, and components like roasted red peppers, mustard, hoisin sauce, and mayonnaise. We get a total score of +34.
  4. What’s in your freezer? We’ve reduced our use of frozen lunches, but there’s a certain amount of bias in that I am doing this exercise before the weekly grocery shopping has been done. I calculate our total score to be 0. One package of conventional sausages canceled out one package of organic/humanely raised sausages; two frozen lunches canceled out the homemade frozen pesto and organic ice creams. But the scoring didn’t include the single-item packages like frozen berries, frozen edamame, flax seeds, or walnuts. If I include those at 1 point per bag we get a total score of +12. (Although since three of those are half empty bags of edamame, maybe I need to clean out the freezer.)
  5. How much trash do you create? Do you recycle or compost? We get a whopping +2 score. We recycle, but we don’t compost, and we fill up a garbage bag on average every two weeks. It’s pretty pathetic. I look forward to owning a home and garden so that I can start composting (although it’s a sad excuse since I could compost and container garden in our rental), and I think we generate WAAAAY too much trash.

So on the whole, we get a positive score. We are already working on increasing the amount of leftovers we make for lunches, and decreasing our use of pre-packaged frozen lunches. And I need to stop getting my Sunday morning muffin. I’m pretty happy with our cabinet and our fridge, but apparently our freezer needs some work. Really just some cleaning up work, though, if we can reduce our frozen lunches. the meat in the freezer is usually just a package or two of sausages, and most of the time they are organic and/or local and/or “humanely-raised” (although there’s no certification for that so – grain of salt). I don’t see us developing many relationships with a local farmer for our meat in the next few weeks. And then of course, there’s the composting.

Posted March 27, 2010 by mayakey in food, home

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8 responses to “Conscious Kitchen Challenge, Self Exam

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  1. Well, we aren’t doing so bad. There are a couple of pre-packaged asian noodle bowls. Some traditional peanut butter and a few cereals and other assorted “badness” in our pantry. But our packaged stuff is organic cheese bunnies for the little bunny and Cheerios. The other stuff is actual cooking ingredients. The baby food is organic and packaged in glass.

    Our fridge is ok, other than condiments it’s real food much to my chagrin. The dairy is organic except for cheese, because Michael says organic cheese is a scam. Oh, I do have some prepackaged pastas because I eat like a 5-year-old and refuse to actually COOK for myself, so at least it’s not takeout. And the freezer is much the same. We have organic vegetables and fruit, some unhappy beef and pork, but some very happy (ie EXPENSIVE) chicken (in fact I’m pretty sure the chicken ate better than we do).

    We don’t recycle but we do compost. I haven’t been able to give up my plastic bottled water yet.

    However, I did just eat a Twix and it made me so happy. So I’ll happily take my minus point. But on the plus side, I washed it down with organic milk. So go me 🙂

    Carmela Chavez Liberman
  2. You crack me up: “real food much to my chagrin”

  3. Well you know I eat like a little kid. He buys fennel and stuff I wouldn’t even know how to cook. Oh! We ordered this super happy chicken and it was really good. It tasted … like chicken! And I felt fine about giving it to Owen. I’ve been a little weird about giving him meat, but knowing it was ok made me feel good about feeding it to him.

    Carmela Chavez Liberman
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