Before I get on with week four, some housekeeping, literally. I wrapped up the pantry and tackled the basement closet, and in both cases, realized that each could use some help in the hardware department.
Here's the pantry. Putting everything back together, I realized it could really benefit from a rack to hold the broom, mop, etc., as well as some hooks to hold a couple of folding stools..leaning the damn things against the walls means they flop around so much you can't move things without getting cracked in the head. It's Sideshow Bob's worst nightmare.
And here's the basement closet. It was worse than this picture makes it seem. This is really a crap closet -- games, CDs (though many CDs are stored elsewhere, too, and totally arbitrarily), unused couch cushions, random blankets, odd pieces of luggage, hardware for a skateboard for some reason. Up to this point my usual method of putting things in here was to crack the door open, shove whatever item I was holding in through the crack, and shutting the door immediately so nothing would fall out. When I opened the door to take this photo, two Tonka trucks that were balanced on top of the cushions fell out and almost took off two of my toes.
And now I have a pretty daunting week ahead of me -- seven days of vegetarian meals. I mean, I love meat. Meat delights and entrances me. As a gardener, I absolutely do love vegetables and fruits, but not to the exclusion of meat and meat products. Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, veal, lamb -- if it has a face, I will eat the flesh off its very bones. Part of this, no doubt, is because I came from a total meat-and-potatoes household -- if there wasn't meat covering half the plate, it wasn't dinner by my dad's lights. Although I do make vegetarian meals from time to time, it's hard for me to imagine making meals on a regular basis where meat isn't the main attraction. Even in stir-fries and stuff like that I often will add extra meat, because I feel like every bite should have meat available, just because it's, you know, meat. MEEEEEAT. It calls to me.
But there are plenty of reasons to add more vegetarian meals to our rotation -- replacing meat with vegetables is better nutritionally, and meat's environmental cost is a major consideration. There's also its, you know, cost cost. Meat is certainly the most expensive portion of our grocery bill (well, that and soda, most probably, but that's another week.) I tried to institute Meatless Mondays for a while, but it was such a pain in the ass to think about that way -- like, oh, it's Monday, I can't make meat, hope I have enough lentils or whatever -- that it never really took. So, while I'm not making the rest of the family abide by the rules, but I'm also not going to bend over backwards to make meat the centerpiece of every meal.
For instance, tonight's dinner was lemon pappardelle with artichokes and mushrooms in a creamy parmesan sauce. I added sliced grilled chicken to everyone's but mine, so it was easy to omit -- but, I tend to pop chunks of meat in my mouth as I'm cooking, and that was surprisingly difficult to keep from doing. I absentmindedly reached out to grab a piece of chicken at least three times while I was cooking everything else. There is something about small pieces of meat...they just want to be in my mouth, you know? YOU know. When I was a kid and my mom would make a roast for dinner or some other communal meat-hunk, she would sometimes leave the leftovers out on a cutting board and every time my sisters or I would pass by, we'd hack off a piece until it was gone. I still can't make a roast beef as well as my mom, but it doesn't stop me from trying.
Holy smokes. I've only been vegetarian for what, 28 hours, and I already miss meat. Long week ahead, my friends. Long week.