Archive: Eating Down the Fridge

EDF: From Anxiety to Creativity

Jill Nussinow is a northern California-based cookbook author, cooking teacher and recipe developer who teaches people about the joys of buying and eating fresh farmer’s market and homegrown produce. She is the author of "The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment" cookbook and the DVD, "Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look, Delicious Dishes in Minutes." Her companion Web sites are Pressure Cooking Online and The Veggie Queen, which includes a lively blog. (Jill Nussinow) I head into this week with unusual trepidation and anxiety. My stock-in-trade is food, and making sure there's plenty of it. How will I manage without shopping? It’s one of my major activities: I run into “real” people versus my "virtual" buddies. My twice weekly jaunts to the farmer’s market and occasional stops to the natural food store fulfill my “face time”. Will I survive? I discover that there’s more to this challenge than I...


By Kim ODonnel | June 26, 2009; 01:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

EDF Realization: Size Doesn’t Matter

Allen Williams recently traded in his Silicon Valley dot-com career to pursue freelance food writing from Vancouver, B.C. Allen enjoys food exploration and combines childhood farm-style cooking with urban flavors at his blog, Eating Out Loud. When taking a break from cooking you’ll also find Allen sharing his vintage recipe card collection on his hobby site, Recovered Recipes. A peek inside Allen Williams' pantry in Vancouver, B.C. (Allen Williams) In all honesty, I’ve feared Kim’s Eating Down the Fridge challenge ever since signing up. I found myself lured in by the prospect of making creative MacGyver-like meals but grew concerned about our 520 square-foot condo which we had just moved to a few months ago. The pantry is petite and the refrigerator narrow and not very deep. It’s the smallest space I’ve ever lived in, and I wasn’t sure if it contained enough food to sustain two adults for...


By Kim ODonnel | June 26, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

EDF: A Report from Poland

Busy mom-of-four Jessica Sirotin, a native of New Jersey, has spent the past 15 years living in Eastern Europe. Currently based in Warsaw, Poland, Sirotin has also lived in Russia and Hungary, and has enjoyed, mostly, every minute of it. (Jessica Sorotin) It would be wonderful to think that changing how and what my family consumes is being carried out in the measured and careful way I had planned. In execution, however, I find myself pressured by both circumstances and my four kids. Nevertheless, I think I have a fighting chance at success. My husband’s family is of Russian/Polish extraction, and in the 15 years we have lived in Eastern Europe (Russia, Hungary and Poland) I have taken to heart many of their ideas about managing the pantry. Even though Communism ended here almost 20 years ago, many people still remember the food shortages and remain very pro-active about...


By Kim ODonnel | June 25, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

EDF: The Challenges – and Joys – of Cooking for One

A native of Falls Church, Va., Bren Herrerra is a freelance food and travel writer and personal chef based in Atlanta, Ga. She shares her love for Cuban and Latin fusion cuisine in her blog, Flanboyant Eats. Bren tells me she throws back five shots of Cuban espresso daily to wear her many hats. Her latest gig is a biweekly cooking segment on "Daytime" TV. Bren's green tea ice cream cups. (Bren Herrera) A friend once told me I should treat myself like a queen when it comes to cooking. Her bright suggestion came after my ongoing complaint that cooking for one is simply not fun. I’m single, with no real responsibility for others’ nutrition; therefore, I find myself extremely lethargic, come dinnertime. I find little interest or appeal in cooking for just me. In Latin households, eating is as much about fellowship with friends and family and political...


By Kim ODonnel | June 24, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

When EDF Is Not a Game, But Real Life

In May, when I made a save-the-date announcement on the EDF Facebook Group page, I received an e-mail from west coast reader Jill Blevins, who knows a thing or two about eating down the fridge -- and not by choice. “I was homeless with four kids,” she writes, “twice, and know what it's like to be poor, to think food stamps are a gift from God and to eat down the fridge for weeks straight, hoping the kids would sleep late so I'd only have to feed them two starchy meals.” I asked Blevins, who’s currently based in Oregon (and no longer homeless), to share her candid perspective on making do with what you’ve got on hand. Jill Blevins. (Family photo) Asking me to abstain from food shopping is like asking an anorexic to please cut back on the eating for a while. It’s not the shopping that keeps...


By Kim ODonnel | June 23, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Emptying the Fridge on Meatless Monday

Stefanie Gans is a freelance food writer and co-editor of the food blog, Endless Simmer. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post's Express, Onion’s Decider DC, BusinessWoman Magazine and Young Women Misbehavin’. She lives in D..C, always has her nails painted and finds daily inspiration from avocados. (Stefanie Gans) I got it easy. It’s simple to start off right, but just like New Year’s resolutions and spring flings, the newness will soon fade. And then you’re left with a fridge full of slimy greens and rank yogurt. So I’ve taken the lead-off position quite seriously. I want to set the right tone. The Eating Down the Fridge challenge is actually not intimidating if you plan a bit for the week (like Miss Karin does here), although sketching each meal is not my idea of fun. I like the freedom of mood-induced dishes because I surely cannot predict my...


By Kim ODonnel | June 22, 2009; 02:15 PM ET | Comments (3)

Eating Down the Fridge: A Week of Menus

Karin Calloway is a recipe developer and journalist who works as the food columnist for The Augusta Chronicle, online chef for Viking Range Corporation and editor of Augusta Family Magazine. She and her husband, Bond, live in Augusta, Ga., with their two teenagers. Karin “tweets” about what she’s cooking at (Photo courtesy of Karin Calloway) Kim’s blog has been stored in my favorites for some time, and I read about the Eating Down the Fridge challenge in March with much interest. When I read that she was holding the challenge again, I sent her an e-mail to see if the readers of my column in The Augusta Chronicle could join in. I promoted the challenge in last week’s column, and am looking forward to hearing how my readers are using what they have on hand. I’m participating in the challenge, too, and since I work in recipe development,...


By Kim ODonnel | June 22, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Eating Down the Fridge Honor Roll: Summer '09

This list will be updated daily until June 19, 2009. If you'd like to be included, send me an e-mail with your city and state (and country, if applicable -- we've got EDFers from Denmark and Poland in the house!). In the subject line, please type "EDF Summer." And for those of you just joining us, here's some background on the first challenge held in March. P.S. If you live in the Twitter-verse, I've created a hashtag so you can search all EDF-related tweets: add #EDFsum to all tweets. Kristin Adair & Phil Morton Arlington, Va. Dede Apfelbaum Arlington, Va. Ann Augunas King of Prussia, Pa. David Bennett Washington, D.C. Amanda Bensen Washington, D.C. (Food blog: Food & Think Cristina Bernadini & James Kane Redwood City, Calif. Vani Bhartipudi Seattle, Wash. Genevieve Bieniosek Silver Spring, Md. Jill Blevins San Francisco, Calif. Laurel Bowers Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Marisa Brandt Seattle,...


By Kim ODonnel | June 5, 2009; 02:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

Save the Date: Eating Down the Fridge, Round 2

Back in March, you, me and more than 100 households across the U.S. (plus folks in Canada, Denmark and Australia) kicked off the first Eating Down the Fridge challenge in this space. With guest bloggers and a robust Facebook group page, we went great guns, sharing the ups and downs of taking a break from food shopping and using what you had stored in the freezer, fridge and pantry. In fact, when the week came to an end, many of you kept going and expressed interest in future frugal adventures. Your enthusiasm is the inspiration for the second quarterly EDF, scheduled for June 20-26. If you’re new to this idea, here’s the FAQ I posted from the first EDF: So how is this going to work? The challenge is in effect from Saturday, June 20, until Friday, June 26. During this time, the goal is to do zero food...


By Kim ODonnel | May 29, 2009; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (8)

EDF: Lessons Learned

On the blog watch, the EDF is officially over, but the eating-down party is far from a done deal. EDFers have taken their fridges and pantries by storm, and can’t seem to get enough of the frugal vibrations. Among some of you, there’s talk of continuing the challenge for a second or even a third week, requesting permission to stock up on perishables, such as produce, eggs and dairy. There’s enough of a groundswell that I’m considering a quarterly EDF, next one to be held in June, then in September and so on, so we can experience the challenge during different seasons. Here’s a sampler of what you’ve been saying; From the EDF Facebook Group Page: I can see the back of my freezer. -- Kathy, Cincinnati I find I'm being more thoughtful about what I'm eating and serving. It seems decadent to eat chicken on its own instead...


By Kim ODonnel | March 16, 2009; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (5)

EDF: Home Stretch and a Call for Pizza Night

If you’ve been following along since Sunday, you know that today is Day Six (of seven) of Eating Down the Fridge. For the diehard EDFers who haven’t stepped foot into a grocery store this week, today may be the most challenging day of all. Is that crisper compartment down to the last mangy thing that used to be a carrot? Is there nary a starch to pair up with the remaining six cans of black beans? Are the remaining ingredients so seemingly incompatible and so off-putting that you run the risk of alienating the rest of the family? (A writer for the Orlando Weekly titled her column yesterday "Eating Down the Frickin’ Fridge.") I can’t say I’ve had that experience, but I do feel like tonight will an appropriately “eating down” denouement to this week-long eating adventure. Although I’ve got EDF ideas for Saturday (both lunch and dinner), tonight...


By Kim ODonnel | March 13, 2009; 03:01 PM ET | Comments (15)

EDF: The Princess and Her Fridge

On the night that Barack Obama was elected president, Los Angeles-based blogger Eddie Gehman Kohan launched some change of her own -- Obama Foodorama, which she describes as a “daily diary of the Obama foodscape, one byte at a time.” In the few months since, Gehman Kohan's "Ob Fo" has become a must-read for anyone interested in what the First Family is eating for supper or what the Obama administration is dishing up for agricultural and food policy. I'm not sure Kim realized she was going to be running a pop-psych experiment when she planned the Eating Down The Fridge challenge, but it seems like the whole lovely project has involved as much psychic cleaning as fridge cleaning for the enthusiastic cooks who've been hanging around in her virtual kitchen. It's been brilliant good fun to read. Naturally, I wound up doing some soul cleaning of my own, in...


By Kim ODonnel | March 13, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

EDF, Down Under

AMA reader Nancy Owens is a Boston native currently living in Canberra, Australia, where she writes about her Australian adventures, food and otherwise at Roving Lemon. She ate down her Down Under fridge last week to file the following report. I’ve been the person responsible for filling (and emptying) fridges on three continents. That sounds exotic and adventurous, doesn’t it? The contents of Nancy Owens's fridge in Canberra, Australia. (Nancy Owens) Sometimes it is…. And then there’s the everyday reality: Every one of those fridges seems to have a half-empty bag of carrots perpetually lurking in the bottom of the vegetable drawer. No matter where I’ve lived (first Boston, then Oxford, U.K., and now Canberra), I do the same thing: buy bags of carrots (because they’re cheaper that way than buying individual carrots, and you never know when you might need one), and then take forever to use them...


By Kim ODonnel | March 12, 2009; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (5)

EDF: Pantry Par-tay

New York-based writer Paula Crossfield is the managing editor of Civil Eats, a Web site focused on food and sustainability. She is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post's Green Page and is a contributing producer at The Leonard Lopate Show on New York Public Radio. She is currently planning a vegetable garden for her roof in the Lower East Side. Eating Down the Fridge is more about the pantry than the refrigerator at my place. An overwhelming sense of guilt should I allow lettuce to wilt, Emmental cheese to harden or citrus to mold pretty much keeps the fridge in check, save for some leftovers I can’t bear to eat a fourth time. No, this was an opportunity to go after those dried beans, grains, nuts and fruit I’ve been stock piling in the lazy Susan, which my husband keeps threatening not to fix should it break...


By Kim ODonnel | March 12, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

EDF: Hump Day Reflections

It’s Day Four. Are you finding your way to the other end of the freezer or more lost than ever? I can see clearly now, the frost is gone…. Here at the Casa, we’re having a blast lightening up the crisper, whittling down the freezer and making space in the cupboards. Last night’s supper was a few wild salmon fillets from the freezer, seasoned with a coffee rub (1 teaspoon ground cumin
, 1 teaspoon chili powder,
 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 
1/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee, about ½ teaspoon
 salt and pepper to taste), roasted broccoli (1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon salt,
 ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika,
 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes), a loaf of bread and leftover rice from my friend Leslie’s fridge. We were eating in style! I saved the stalks of the brocc, thinking I’d either turn them into soup with...


By Kim ODonnel | March 11, 2009; 04:15 PM ET | Comments (24)

EDF: Saving the Best for Last

Guest blogger Nicole Spiridakis lives in San Francisco, where she writes about food, travel and her native state at Cucina Nicolina, her cooking blog. When she's not in her (tiny) kitchen working on a new dish, she contributes to NPR's Kitchen Window, the San Francisco Chronicle's Home and Garden section, and other publications. She ate down her fridge last week to file this report. The trouble with leftovers is that you can get tired of them. Or, at least, I tire of them after awhile. I love making an enormous pot of quinoa-mushroom-spinach stew, and will eat it happily throughout the week for lunch, but by the time long-awaited Friday rolls around I’m looking at my Tupperware container with slight distaste -- even though it’s one of my very favorite meals. I’m sure you know what I mean. Nicole's quinoa stew. (Nicole Spiridakis) And yet, I adore a meal...


By Kim ODonnel | March 11, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Eating Down Fridge: Guest Blogger Julia Watson

Julia Watson is an ex-foreign correspondent turned freelance food writer with her own Web site, eatWashington. She's also written on food for The Washington Post and NPR and has published two novels, "Russian Salad" and "American Pie" -- neither of which are about food. Her article on eating at French night markets will appear in the May issue of Gourmet magazine. A veteran fridge and pantry hoarder, Julia dishes up advice for the uninitiated in her essay, below. She'll join me Thursday at 1 ET for the special EDF chat. It was the Sunday brunch gazpacho that made me realize there’s a skill to serving leftovers that’s not just about the food. It’s about how you’ve stored it. I’d made a batch of Vietnamese iced coffee to serve with the chocolate mousse cake. And saved it in a juice bottle. I’d also made a pale peach-colored gazpacho that I...


By Kim ODonnel | March 10, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (26)

White Bread, Three Ways: Part III

As related last week, I was underwhelmed by the results of my maiden voyage on the no-knead bread train. I’m a confessed “kneady” gal, so maybe I was feeling first-time jitters or just simply finding my doughy way. Whatever the case, I remained unconvinced that NK would become my new MO, unless of course, someone else could show me the crumby light…Which leads me to the final installment in this mini series on good ole white bread. (Kim O'Donnel) So let me cut to the chase: I may have found the holy grail of bread making, folks. Admittedly, I was reading through “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois with great skepticism, but I was truly intrigued by their thesis that a) you could make bread without kneading and b) make a batch of so-called NK dough that you could use at your leisure...


By Kim ODonnel | March 9, 2009; 01:00 PM ET | Comments (13)

Eating Down the Fridge: Let the Fun Begin!

Well, howdy do and welcome to Day One of Eating Down the Fridge! I am so excited to embark on this week-long adventure with you and see just how resourceful we can be with our collective edible surplus from the fridge, freezer and pantry. As of today, we are 112 households strong, representing 30 states and four additional countries (Australia, Canada, Denmark and South Africa); you can see the entire list of participants on the EDF Honor Roll, which continues to be updated today. On the EDF Facebook Group page, 163 members are talking (and cooking) up a storm around the clock, and if you’re a Twitterer, you can find all related tweets by searching with the following hashtag: #eatfridge In addition to reports from Casa Appetite, you’ll hear from a lively bunch of guest bloggers, including Julia Watson, DC-based food writer and the creative force behind Eat Washington;...


By Kim ODonnel | March 9, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (26)

Eating Down the Fridge Honor Roll

This list will be updated daily until March 9, 2009. If you'd like to be included, send me an e-mail with your city and state. In the subject line, please type "EDF." Lenore Ancypa Shelby Township, Mich. Andrew Anderson South Africa Dede Apfelbaum Arlington, Va. Ilene Arnsdorf Phoenx, Ariz. Mandira Banerjee Ann Arbor, Mich. (Food blog: Ahaar) Amanda Baxter Gaithersburg, Md. Mara Beck-Rinnemaki S. Milwaukee, Wis. Carol Belles Triangle, Va. Amanda Bensen Washington, D.C. (Food blog at Smithsonian: Food and Think) Vani Bhartipudi Seattle, Wash. Jill Blevins Portland, Ore. Amy Branum Arlington, Va. Marsha Buchanan Badlands, S.D. Jennifer Carpenter & Hedley Lagrand Hoboken, N.J. Constance Carter Washington, D.C. Kim Carlson Portland, Ore. (Editorial director, Culinate) Nell Codner Laurel, Md. Aoife Connors Washington, D.C. Jennifer Corcoran Falls Church, Va. Dennis Coyle & David Mallory Arlington, Va. Paula Crossfield New York, N.Y. (managing editor, CivilEats) Mike Davitt Burke, Va. Emily DeArdo...


By Kim ODonnel | February 26, 2009; 12:08 PM ET | Comments (6)

Eating Down the Fridge: Save the Date!

What: A week-long kitchen challenge of abstaining from food shopping, and using up what’s in the fridge, freezer and kitchen cabinets. Inspired by eGullet’s Steven Shaw and AMA reader enthusiasm. When: The week of March 9 Where: Right here, in the AMA kitchen, and in kitchens across the country How: I’ll be actively participating, sharing the ups and downs of my experiences (and lessons learned) in the blog space, complete with recipes and improvisational meals based on what’s in the larder. You are invited to join me and sign up (and have your name included on the EDF Honor Roll) and share your experiences throughout the week. In addition, as done with the Eat Local Challenge last summer, I am seeking a few guest bloggers from different parts of the country. RSVP: By Friday, March 6; e-mail me with the subject line: “Eating Down the Fridge” and in your...


By Kim ODonnel | February 26, 2009; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

Eating Down the Fridge

eGullet co-founder and executive eater Steven Shaw is in the midst of a kitchen challenge worth chewing on; for an entire week, he’s taking a break from food shopping, using what he’s got stored in the freezer, fridge and pantry. A few months ago, I talked about this very idea with my editor, Nancy, who describes it as “eating down the fridge.” Her father -- raised during the Great Depression -- refused to toss any somewhat edible food item and would regularly go through their freezer and eat all "mystery" leftovers. Shaw, who lives in a New York apartment with his wife and son, is chronicling the ups and down of his experiment every day and is encouraging readers to join him for the frugal ride. Inspired by Shaw’s gumption, I took a cursory spin of the Casa Appetite larder, and here’s just a sampler from the ice box: a...


By Kim ODonnel | February 24, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (22)


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