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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...
Pam Mehnert

Day One - Must Organize

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 April 19, 2010

Do you see that crying garlic container on the right in this picture? That pretty much represents my feelings as I take each bottle and can of my beloved convenience items and sort them into bags for my local food pantry. This is all good food, actually great food with great flavors from my beloved Outpost Natural Foods. But it’s the food I will do without over the next 12 months as I prepare my pantry for the single ingredients that will take their place.

Reflect on the emptiness

I’m guessing convenience food takes on different meaning to different lifestyles. A lot of my friends think the term means the fast food of McDonalds, the frozen dinners from the supermarket, and the pizza delivery man. Yes that certainly is convenience and millions of Americans eat mostly from that genre while setting foot into their kitchen only to grab a soda from the refrigerator or a bag of Doritos from the pantry. In my mind and part of my lifestyle the meaning is pretty different. I’ve now shopped primarily at Outpost during the past 29 years of my employment here. During that time the natural products industry has exploded with product choices, filling our store’s shelves with the variety of a regular supermarket. From canned beans and soup to chips, crackers, granola bars, frozen veggie burgers, flavored yogurt, and even our own prepared foods and bakery. Someone or some company has been either doing the food prep or cooking dinner so I don’t have to.

I spent Sunday, the first day of my food journey, cleaning out my pantry and reorganizing it to help me try to figure out just how I’m going to do this. And by the way, how did the shelves get so dusty? Actually, a lot of the cans and bottles were also dusty. I was surprised to find the not two, not three, but four packages of taco seasoning. I can’t remember the last time I actually made tacos. I thought, maybe this won’t be so hard after all if I’m not really using all of this stuff. Tossing out the last of my “stinky peas” (a tasty little snack food from the Indian Grocery store) I was ready to move the jars that will store my bulk grains and beans onto the lower shelf.

Ready, set, time to get cookin!

Now what should I make first?


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