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PamMehnert

Hi, I'm Pam Mehnert

As Outpost's general manager, Pam's work keeps her at the office, in meetings, or in front of her computer more than a simple 40 hours each week. However, her passion as a foodie has driven her to take on this challenge for the culinary experience of...
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Pam Mehnert

52 Weeks By The Numbers

A Year of Inconvenience
For one year, I'm making everything from scratch and forgoing convenience foods. Join me on my journey! By Pam Mehnert on May 3, 2011

Let the countdown begin. When I began my year of inconvenience I thought it might be interesting if I kept track of the quantity of staples I was buying and making. Not everything mind you, mainly the items I would have typically purchased conveniently at the supermarket (or in this case at my co-op). I’m pretty sure I missed tracking a number of items, or at least it feels that way now recalling how many weeks these items were part of my sometimes frustrating routine.

 

Here’s a glimpse into my 52 weeks of inconvenience, primarily cooking or baking for just the two of us (although some food items became gifts, while others were served to our dinner guests.

 

Ingredients

Made From Scratch

 

 

40 pounds of flour

 

(14 lbs. whole wheat flour and 26 lbs. white flour)

40 loaves of sandwich bread, 7 loaves of cinnamon raisin bread, 3 loaves banana bread, 6 Christmas Stollens, 24 hamburger buns, 24 flour tortillas, 24 popovers, 18 bagels, 12 pita breads, 12 pizza crusts, 4 batches flax seed crackers, 2 batches chocolate graham crackers, 8 crusts for chicken pot pies, and 4 pounds of pasta. Oh, and a crazy cake, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and I’m sure I missed a few other things as well. Whew!

 

52 pounds of tomatoes

144 ounces diced tomatoes, 96 ounces tomato sauce, 80 ounces pizza sauce, 54 ounces pasta sauce, 28 ounces roasted tomatoes. And I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to last.

 

8 pounds of rolled oats, 5 pounds of pecans

21 pounds of granola

8 batches of granola bars (200 of 2x2 squares)

The rest of the pecans were used in the Christmas Stollen

 

5 pounds Masa

7 batches (80) corn tortillas. I love making these and likely will not go back to buying them pre-made.

 

13 pounds of whole chickens and 13 pounds of turkey breast

About 4 chicken and turkey dinners as well as leftovers for sandwiches, soup, and stock.

448 ounces (or 56 cups) of stock

Chicken soup, veggie soup, turkey soup, lamb stew, tomatillo pork stew, chicken pot pies, dozens of rice dishes and other crock pot dishes

 

48 Tablespoons or 24 ounces Instant yeast

Sandwich bread, cinnamon raisin bread, stolen, hamburger buns, bagels, pita bread, pizza crusts.

52 ounces honey

Breads, 8 batches of granola bars (200 squares)

 

48 ounces maple syrup

Granola (sweetener) and pancakes. Life is so sweet.

10 pounds fair trade sugar

Okay that number should scare me into a five-mile hike. Yikes, that’s a lot of baking.

 

3 pounds (48 ounces) brown sugar

Granola, some breads, granola bars, cookies

8 pounds (256 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Wow, really? What did I make with all that butter? I only use unsalted for baking and some cooking. And I wonder why I gained 6 pounds this past year…

 

97 ounces or 12 cups of olive oil

Salad dressing, marinades, pasta sauce, and all of those made from scratch dinners.

 

20 dozen eggs (that’s 240)

Okay, if Lisa and I averaged 4 eggs/week total for breakfast that would be understandable. Many, many eggs were used in baking and pasta – and the rest made for some great breakfasts.

 

My year ended on April 17, and I still have some of the tomatoes and chicken stock in my basement freezer. I remember when I was so worried about putting up enough tomatoes last summer, to last me through the winter, and much to my surprise I didn’t use them all. We’ve eaten a few meals over the past two weeks (since the year officially ended) that were part of my stocking up on frozen dinners. Things like curried chicken pot pie, turkey meatloaf, turkey noodle soup, and pork carnitas have added a bit of value to what might have otherwise been a convenience food splurge for me.

 

In fact, over the past two weeks not a whole lot has changed for me… uhm yet. I baked two breads, made a batch of granola, one pizza, a number of from-scratch dinners, and averaged at least 3 out of 7 lunches from scratch each week. What did change is that I purchased pasta, chips, salsa, breakfast cereal, canned beans, a few salads and one sandwich from my co-op. I have a half-gallon of milk in the refrigerator right now for making yogurt (tonight) and I also think twice before buying anything convenient, partly out of habit and partially out of guilt. Could I actually be a changed woman? Only the next 50 weeks will tell for certain.

Comments

Congratulations! What an accomplishment. You must be feeling wonderful. Jo Zimny - Owner Posted by: justjonoe | May 18 at 10:20 PM
Thanks Jo - it does feel pretty terrific to have stuck with it for a year and come out on the good side of things! Posted by: Pam | June 28 at 11:35 AM

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