Tuesday, 27 August 2019

My Fifty Foods

The other day I was sat at my desk in the office and I had an idea. 

 In a bid to simplify the food in the cupboards both in Wales and at the Van I decided to list my most frequently and regularly eaten foods.  As you can see from the start of my scribblings I had just eaten breakfast!

My idea struck me because each and every time I have done a Challenge that has entailed eating our way through the cupboards there has been a core of food left untouched.  Sometimes it was subsequently donated to Food Banks but usually because it was out of date, it was put back into the cupboard in an 'out of sight, out of mind' kind of mentality.

I decided not anymore ... I need simplicity in all things even food.

Thinking back over challenges from years ago I remembered the Project 333 clothes challenge and it's founder Courtney Carver trying to start a similar challenge with food.  She named it Capsule Kitchen and ran it on the same principles as Project 333.  Every three months you would choose 33 food items to eat for that three month season.  I gave it a very brief go (as you can see here) but it just didn't click with me then for some reason.  Why not now I thought.

Well, I got to thirty items of regularly eaten foods and then I thought I should go downstairs and actually look in the cupboards, in the fridge and in the freezer to see what I actually had in there.  Turns out I had missed a couple of very regularly eaten foods ... I can't see me living without peanut butter for very long!

So I changed it to the more niftily title of My Forty Foods, with some none included items.  Then I thought hang on you can't have 'non-included items' it has to be virtually all-inclusive.

While I was going through the cupboards I decided to be brutal and did something that is very unusual for me ... I threw food away!  All the things that were out of date, that had lived through so many of the Challenges and somehow remained on a shelf, were tipped out of their jars or packets and binned.  The jars and boxes went into the recycling and the old foodstuff went straight into the bin.

This new way of eating and shopping should stop this ever having to happen again.  

Of course, if you have studied the list in any detail you will see that fish, meat, dairy and eggs are not mentioned at all  This is because this is my list, if he wants them Alan is obviously allowed to buy any of the non-mentioned items with absolute impunity ... as long as he eats them!!

You will also no doubt notice that lentils are in the 'miscellaneous' column, that is because I buy them in both tinned and dried form, so it simplifies things to do it this way.

I'm not being completely rigid in this, so for instance if I fancy a box of vegan Magnums for a treat or a big bag of crisps, even though they are not on my list I would still buy them.  They are just something I would not keep a regular stock of, they are a treat or splurge item.

Sue xx


  1. A very clever idea Sue. Not sure I could do it but might try one evening when I am sitting down and have a pen and paper to hand.

  2. What a nifty, thrifty idea Sue. My cupboards really need a purge and making a list of the foods we do eat on a regular basis could break me out of the routine of buying, storing and then pitching outdated, uneaten food.

  3. I don't think I dare do this, I am not sure what I would put on the list as I bet we eat way more than 50 different foods but I am a meal planner so I don't much if anything in the cupboards that has been there for years but maybe I should go and have a look! Great idea though and I am will be following along to see how easy it is to stick to it.

  4. Brilliant idea, I have done a similar thing s I am on the slimming world diet and I find it tedious to keep looking up my A, B and syn choices and as I don't eat meat, dairy or fish it has been easy to write down my limited choices and put them on the inside of the larder cupboard door, simples. eg my A choices are just 400 ml of soya milk and 40g of koko d/f cheese and B,s are my oats or bread or ry-vita and the syns I just add on when I think of something I fancy. 2 stone gone but a long way to go.I have also decided that when an item of clothing gets too big- out it goes, so I have to keep it off !

  5. Great idea Sue, I think most of us have staples and experiment with other items. I bought egg noodles a while ago, I still havent used them. Ive had to change my address Sue:


  6. I always have some ready made pastry in the freezer, and cans of red/butter beans in the cupboard. Not being a vegetarian, I have cans of tuna. And dried milk powder, and custard powder are always there too, plus marmite. Project 333 didnt work for my wardrobe, but I'm hoping Fifty Foods might be more of a success! "Pantry Purge" was already on my September to-do list. This looks like a brilliant starting point. Thank you.

  7. This is an excellent idea, especially for you now as you are simplifying your life. I do a similar thing, (staples in cupboard/fridge etc) most come with us whether we are working or travelling. Mine list takes the form of a shopping list but works in the same way. We are one month away from finishing our current working contract so I am on the verge of purging cupboards to shrink our stocks so they fit back into the motorhome.

  8. An interesting concept. Think I'd struggle! I am very good at using up leftovers or things that are coming up to the use-by date so it is very rare that anything gets wasted.

  9. It is an interesting concept and would avoid food waste. I go on binges of buying some things that frankly don't get eaten regularly, if at all... money would be better spent buying more of our staples that are always on the Grocery List and we always run out of.

  10. I like this idea a lot. Since we downsized and moved to FL I am all about space in my cupboards and pantry. No keeping things just because and I really do know exactly what I have and where it is. Curious to make a list and see what’s on mine :-)

  11. Great way to simplify what you are eating. Not sure I could do this with both of us it would have to be 50 each. I will think on it for a bit and once things have churned around for awhile perhaps give it a try.

    God bless.

  12. After having to pitch a LOT of out of date food from my pantry a couple of years ago I have done a pretty good job of going through it on a regular basis and putting anything that needs using up in the near future front & centre. I also find that rotating from the fridge to the freezer to the pantry as far as proteins are concerned gets things used up as well.

    I am an omnivore so have meat, poultry and fish in there as well as fruit & veg. I do keep some pastas & grains but not a lot as I tend to eat a low carb diet - its what works for me.

    Things like peanut butter and jams are kept for emergencies along with packages of crisp breads. I keep track and if I haven't used any of these items when they are about 6 weeks to BB dates I'll take them into the church pantry and then buy a few more for my emergency supplies.

    I do eat much more simply in the summer as I don't cook much - temps tend to be around 30C and very humid here and I only have A/C in the bedroom so the stove doesn't get turned on much in July and August.

    I am hoping to carry forward some of this simplicity into the cooler weather. The plan is to cook son one day and prepare a grain, prepare one or two proteins and then prep some raw veg and roast or saute some others and then just mix and match throughout the week. I always have things like cheese, apples, eggs & yogurt along with frozen fruit & veg so I can always make a simple plate or bowl of something or other.

    I do tend to have the same items around at all times but I like to have a variety of condiments & sauces to change things up a bit every now and again. But it's just me and I don't mind eating the same thing for a few days in a row so that helps as well. We'll see how it goes.


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