Sweetie and I frequently have about 15 minutes to sit down and eat together during the week, and sometimes the only reason we even have that is because we decide we'd rather eat together at 8:30 than separately when real people eat dinner. And by "eat dinner", I sometimes mean "slap a piece of turkey between two pieces of mustard-slathered bread and say a blessing over it."
And I have yet to meet any real-life June Cleaver who makes a meat & three from scratch every.single.day. I have and use an apron, but that's really where the commonalities end. Most of us on most days are just doing the best we can!
There are ways, though, to streamline this process so that, with catlike agility, you can whip through your kitchen and break your "Nothin' to Somethin'" personal best time for getting food on the table. Make that getting food on plates on the table.
The first step (we'll do two or three more) is this: get a garbage bag. One pantry/drawer/cabinet/whatever at a time, pull out ALL the food and check the expiration dates.
Much like 12-steppers need to get deeply, painfully honest with themselves (OK, maybe not quite that intense... for some people) it's time to shine the flashlight on yourself and ask The Hard Questions. Namely, this expired when??? and why the hell is it still in my possession, shouldn't it have run away on its own by now?
I thought I was pretty familiar with the stuff in my cabinets. And I was, because some of it and I had quite a long time to get to know one another. I mean the bulgur wheat that was packaged in 200... this hurts.... 2006. Fare thee well. The shiitake mushroom broth that sounded so cool and I never had any idea what to do with it (keep your ideas to yourself, I've Hefty'd the dream). The blanched almonds that made a perfect snack that one time with the dried cherries (also still on the spinaround).
And now that it's all gone, I can - dare I say it? - find the salt. And the peppercorns and the canned tomatoes and the jelly. So when I race in the door and leash up the dogs and run back home to start dinner, I don't waste time anymore plowing through the useless and expired and the highly specialized in order to get to the Jiffy cornbread mix. It's right there.
Next time - What To Do With Aunt Louise's Tupperware Circa 1974