I think we're starting to get the hang of this. The copious pantry supplies don't seem to have dwindled dramatically, but we're definitely in a different frame of mind. Meals are planned around what we already have, not what we could pick up at the store. Going to the market every Saturday is a necessity. I haven't had to stop for some last-minute ingredient on my way home from work all month. Yesterday, The Guy found himself sorely tempted, when at Costco, to pick up a few pantry items, but just couldn't bring himself to do it. Instead, he limited himself to the lettuce, mushrooms, and parmesan that were his reason for being there.
Oddly, this challenge has highlighted for me the extent to which we don't actually cook from the pantry. That is, most of our ingredients tend to be perishables from the fridge. From a nutritional standpoint, this is ideal. The majority of our diet appears to consist of fresh (and this time of year, local) veggies, dairy, and meats, supplemented by just a few pantry staples. The thought that we'd 'run out' of things and get desperate by the end of the month of only buying fresh food seems hilarious now. We've (mostly) adhered to the rules of the challenge, are eating wonderfully well, and yet have hardly touched the pantry stores. What this tells me is that we definitely don't need to be sitting on such huge stockpiles, or doing so much shopping! We don't even use most of the stuff in everyday life!
All in all, I like this. This cold-turkey 'challenge' approach seemed somewhat silly at first, and the strict rules led to a few arguments and some temporary resentment. However, I suspect that it's doing a lot to affect our outlook on food, and may help maintain a bit more of an 'enough is enough' mindset instead of always stocking up whenever possible. This could lead to more elbow room, fewer shopping trips, and maybe even more sanity in the kitchen.
One more week (and change) to go!
food budget tracker: week 2
farmer's market: $36.50