The "Never Home" Blues
I honestly am confused as to where in the rations we are and where to go from here.
I started this little experiment at the end of September.Within two weeks, both vehicles decided, nay, demanded that we devote all our time and money to them. Since that time (almost 2 months) I have only managed organized grocery shopping three times.
Three times. Two months. One week's food each time.
The rest of the time, we have been eating out due to: lack of time to shop/not being home to cook; spending all my time hanging around the mechanic's shop an hour from home; and scheduling conflicts that require driving hundreds of extra miles each week (For example: Last weekend, Danny filled in for a 12 hr shift as a paramedic...and promptly got stuck in Lexington due to weather/pilot out-of-hours, and stranding the truck at the base. I had to drive out to Lexington (3 hours, one way) to pick him up, then drive him to pick up the truck. No time to grocery shop; not home to cook. We have had whole weeks of this type of thing. I'm exhausted.) The last time I managed to grocery shop, I bought rations for one week...and have used almost none of it. My refrigerator is full of badly wilted veggies and slightly out of date dairy. A dozen pumpkins ($1 each after Hallowe'en) are lined up in the kitchen, awaiting processing. I haven't made fresh bread for a month.
The schedule for the upcoming week isn't much better. As far as I can tell, I'll be cooking at home only three or four of the seven days. Two of the days we will be out of state, and one or two we will be out of town all day.
In addition, winter is finally here...and the chickens have decided that laying eggs is more of a warm weather sport. They have mounds of warm, fluffy straw; their chicken coop is nicely winterized; plexiglass windows let in lots of nice winter sunlight; and they have as much high protein, tasty chicken chow as they can eat. Makes no difference. For the last two weeks we have gotten zero, zip, nada eggs. I only have about 8 eggs left in the fridge. We went with the "chicken keeping" ration option, which means we're not eligible to buy eggs. I'm wishing now that I had stored more eggs when I had the chance, instead of trading them on the Black Market. (If you coat eggs in a thick layer of Crisco and store them in a single layer [I use a plastic cake storage pan] in a cool/cold place, they will keep for months.)
So I wonder: Do I just buy another week's rations and go from there? Do I sift through what I already have and save the rest of the ration points for the next week? Since we've been eating out so much (which I'm fairly certain would not have been possible for the average person during wartime, although there were restaurants available and the price was controlled to make eating out more affordable) do I just forfeit our rations up to now and start again next week, schedule willing (since I do have lots of food left over at home)? And what about Thanksgiving? It's only about two weeks away. Would it be fair to use all our unused ration points to buy a turkey?
We've got to stop eating out so much, it is breaking us. And now that we have no eggs, I'm going to have to rethink many of my recipes.
For example, take Eggplant Parmesan (which is surprisingly good without the "Parmesan" part of the agenda). No meat ration at all. Filling, tasty, quick. The batter requires three eggs. So much for Eggplant Parmesan until the chickens get back in the swing of things.
Strata. Potato pancakes. For that matter, pancakes proper. Quiche. Frittata. Lemon-rice soup. Et cetera. I had never noticed how many of the recipes I make require eggs. With no eggs and the little meat provided with the ration, meals look to be getting a bit harder to plan.
I'm going to have to research what a wartime family would have done faced with constant upheavals like this and use it as a guide to go forward. I'll post what I discover.