Food Spring Cleaning

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Spring is just around the corner so why not clean up the kitchen of all the stuff you have accumulated since you’ve been married!

Yes, I’m talking about the spice kit from Costco that you bought 5 years ago and you still have not used at all, or the baking powder you bought to bake little Timmy’s 8 year birthday cake ... only now Timmy is living on his own with his own baking powder!

My point is this - not every food lasts forever. Being a chef, I love to save on groceries, but I am not about to try to save 50 cents or a dollar because I bought a case of something that will take me half my life to eat… Every week, I get to go see the inner food cupboards of people who want to eat like gourmets but cook with stuff they have had for years. Whether you want to lose weight, eat gourmet meals or just want to change your eating habits, you need to clean your cupboards of all food purchased before the first World War and start smart shopping…

1- If you see a special at the grocery store, ask yourself how long is it going to take me to eat this box of whatever it is! If it’s more than two months, don’t buy it… Now, you are probably thinking what about tuna cans, or dry spices or bottle sauces would last longer than three months. Yes, some of these items would last more than three months, but why can’t you just buy food for short term instead of stocking up forever? If you want to keep your family meals interesting it is simple: just rotate your food inventory as often as you can with new ideas, new brands, and new exciting flavors. It’s not very inspiring to be looking at the same can of food day after day.

2- Buy fresh whenever you can. Why not buy tuna less often, but buy fresh tuna instead of canned tuna. Canned tuna is cooked in plain water while fresh tuna can be cooked in a white wine end of the bottle. Don’t get me wrong. I do like tuna melts, but I also like seared fresh tuna from the local fish store served with a wasabi vinaigrette.

3- You need to rotate all your frozen foods within 6 months maximum. Make sure that you have used all of last year's frozen meat, fruits and vegetables before you put new packages in the deep freeze!

4- Learn to make food from scratch and/or I do give private cooking classes if you wish... I am always amazed to see people’s faces when I make salad dressing. Yes, there are some packaged dressings or BBQ sauce out there that are not too bad but think about it - every time you make it at home you use food from your cupboards which creates a rotation of stock…

5- Get your kids involved by making them finish eating something out of your cupboards before buying more of something else.

Take it from me - great chefs, amateurs and professionals alike don’t go grocery shopping trying to figure out what kind of bottled sauces can they use to create gourmet menus . The main idea is to use the wonderful stuff you already bought to create your own specialties!

The Chef in Stead - Website For Previous Chef Tips For comments or questions, you can reach Martin at 250-712-4440 or Email.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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