SNAP to it Food Stamp Challenge–Day Five

By Sharron R. Blezard, June 5, 2010

Leftovers and Live Chicken Edition

Whew! What a long but wonderful day. There was lots of visiting, sharing, good food, storytelling, singing, baseball, swinging on vines, hugging, picture-taking, and just plain fun at my maternal family reunion. There was an abundance of delicious food, but true to Rogers family values, not one bit went to waste. The snacks from the night before were brought from the motel to the picnic pavilion, and all the leftovers from the catered meal were divided into bags, boxes, and foil wrap to be sent home with various folks. No one left hungry, and no one left empty-handed unless they absolutely refused a pie, bag of fruit, or package of chicken. Even tonight when my mother, my cousin, and I stopped at Applebees for supper and shared an order of chicken quesadillas and a Rueben sandwich with fries, we ended up with a go-box that will be my lunch for tomorrow.

One of the more hilarious stories was told by my mother. It seems when she and my dad were newlyweds, my grandmother sent them home with a live chicken. Now my mother had watched her mom wring many a chicken’s neck, scald it, pluck it, and fry it, so she thought this would be no problem. She got a pot of water boiling on the stove, went out to the backyard and proceeded to try and relieve the poor chicken of its life by swinging it swiftly in a circle by its neck just like she’s seen her mother do throughout her childhood. To her dismay, all my mother managed to do was give the poor bird whiplash. Enter my father to finish the task. No luck there either. Finally, and most certainly frustrated, my father solved the problem with a hatchet. The rest of the steps went as planned, but I can just imagine the two of them dining on “fried failure” that night. Needless to say, that was the last LIVE chicken my mother brought back to town.

My cousin, who was for almost her entire adult life a medical missionary in Guatemala and Honduras, recalled being given several live chickens when she and her husband would go into the mountains. They had a nice little flock when someone gave them a rooster that liked to warm up his vocal chords at 3:00 a.m. right outside their window. It wasn’t long before the rooster ended up in the stew pot and they also quit bringing home the live birds.

Well, I didn’t bring home a live bird today (hopefully never will!), but here are a few of my family’s tips for reducing food waste and making do.

  • If your bananas are too ripe to eat then they’re perfect for banana bread.
  • Give stale bread new life as bread crumbs or cube it for bread pudding.
  • Need buttermilk for a recipe but don’t want to buy a quart? Take regular milk and mix in white vinegar or lemon juice (1 t. per one cup milk) and let it sit for five minutes before stirring and using in your recipe.
  • Want to save almost sour milk? Add 2 t. baking soda per quart to give it an extra day or two.
  • Freezer Soup—save any meat stock, leftover veggies, leftover bits of roast or chicken and keep in a large container in the freezer. Periodically have a freezer soup night, throwing in a few fresh herbs, rice, barley, pasta, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Serve with cornbread or biscuits for a hearty and comforting meal.

What tips and ideas do you have about reducing food waste and making use of what you have on hand? Please share!

State of the Pantry:

It still looked the same when I returned home. Nothing used, nothing wasted. I spent $12 on the trip on food: $2 for real coffee for my daughter and $10 towards our communal meal at Applebees. I’m still taking this out of my food budget even though I had some money budgeted to contribute towards gas for the ride. Total left for the month: $147.46.

Website of the Day:

Today’s website follows the theme of food waste, and it’s one that I think you’ll really enjoy if you are not already a follower. Click here to check out Wasted Food, Jonathan Bloom’s excellent blog. The name is self-explanatory and Bloom will soon have a book out on the subject.

PS: Katy Wolk-Stanley has a great post today about reducing food waste over at The Non-Consumer Advocate today, so be sure to check it out. You’ll find some good reminders and solid tips about how to use everything.

Chicken Photo Credit:

About the Author

The Rev. Sharron Riessinger Blezard is an ELCA pastor currently rostered in the Lower Susquehanna Synod. She came to ordained ministry after teaching secondary and college English, working in non-profit management and public relations, and moonlighting as a freelance writer. See more posts by .

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