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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Using my Talents: Stocking the Pantry for Lucy Marmalade

Those of you with a bit of Biblical knowledge may recognize the allusion to the Parable of the Talents, which exhorts us to USE our talents, rather than burying them in the ground. Talent, incidentally, was a unit of currency in Biblical times, but the parable has been extended to mean that we should use our talents, in the sense of what our gifts are. Something of the double meaning emerges in Milton's poignant sonnet 19, where he meditates on his blindness:

WHEN I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker.
. ..

Really, I wish my talent were for something a bit more--shall we say, elevated--but it seems that my talent is for frugality. Well, that brings up one of my favorite ideas from Emerson, which I've cited here earlier:

There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.

So, to use my talent today, I acquired 10 cans of bargain-priced tuna, which are now residing in Lucy Marmalade's closet. She will be on a vastly reduced meal plan next year. We figured that each time she prepares her own meal, she will save around $8.00, which can go to a meal out or whatever the heck she wants.

The tuna is in a bag. Also in bags in the closet: 20 cans of beans, quantities of oatmeal, canned tomatoes.

Note that this saves her money and time. It also saves me money, and doesn't really cost me time, since I am out and about in any case.

Here then, dear readers, is the beginning of a food future stockpile. Next year, I'll send her recipes!

Have you been stockpiling the food futures discussed by Funny's guest=poster?


Chance said...

We stockpile beans and make turkey chili all the time, very filling. A can of diced tomatoes, 3 cans of black beans (only Goya), a can of corn, chicken stock, garlic and onions (these could be the appropriate powders I suppose), chipotle pepper, a pound of ground turkey (the only thing that has to be fresh bought). If it were me, I might print off the recipe, measure out the spices in advance into a little bag and hand over. Turkey chili can feed friends nicely. Does she have a hot plate? Microwave? Dorm Fridge? If she actually cook there, I would add lots of chicken stock in a box and dried noodles.

Duchesse said...

One of my favourite pasta sauces is tuna, white beans and anything else you want (celery, peppers, artichokes) sauteed in olive oil with a little garlic. Suspect Lucy M. and Frugal Son have this talent in their DNA!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Chance--Good ideas. She will have a fridge in her room and a kitchen with a stove on her floor. No hotplates allowed! I am going to be writing of my strategies for this project.

@Duchesse--Great recipe idea. I think I'll make it myself. I still have tuna I bought in Italy a few years ago. My family has been making fun of me for "saving" it.

Lucy Marmalade said...

I love tuna and beans and can't wait to cook for myself next year! (cooking = opening a can of tuna, you know). Thanks for the tuna! It's funny because I read that Milton poem the other day and was reminded how beautiful it is. Maybe we're on the same wavelength.

Shelley said...

Having read that the volcanic eruption in Iceland may halt importation of fresh fruit and veg to Britain, I wonder if I need to be stocking up on tinned and frozen (yuck). Think I'll just try to hold out until the garden produces something. Another excuse for food prices to rise, sadly!

Funny about Money said...

Wanted to let you know I used your Emerson quote for one of the community college classes yesterday. It was a great kick-off for a discussion first of what really matters in education, life, the universe and all that and then a segue into a little spiel on what elements of one's writing are most important to concentrate on, and why. And how you can avoid committing intellectual suicide by "imitating" (i.e., echoing a party line) when you think a professor will grade you down for writing something that conflicts with his or her political or philosophical views.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Shelley--I saw something yesterday about the growers of the produce, who are in Africa. The workers on up will be affected! They were bagging loads of rotting produce for the pigs.

@Funny--Isn't that the greatest quotation? I started teaching a little American lit--just for a change. I'm so glad--if only for finally getting around to Emerson. Love him.