Help! I had an ant attack – ugh! But I’m a glass half-full person. So I took it as an (involuntary) opportunity to clear out my cupboards. My house is a sugar-free zone now and gone is anything that wasn’t sealed properly.
Naturally everything new I buy is environmentally assessed first but honestly I won’t be rushing to replace anything I threw out – did I really need chocolate ice-cream sauce? As a result my cupboards look pretty great!
I feel bad about the waste but I look to it as an unavoidable speeding up of the minimalist process. Before now I had concentrated on reducing waste in fresh produce but this gives me a chance to rethink the rare occasion I bake. I’m looking into building up a solid recipe index of deserts and treats that are zero or reduced waste. For a sugar replacement there are dates available loose in my local market and I buy fabulous honey in massive glass jars with metal lids from il Valentino, the best Italian bakery in Dublin (for my granola). Sugar comes in paper bags so I don’t think it is the worst environmentally, I’m just attempting to be a bit healthier and kill two ants with one stone.
In the cupboards there were a bunch of random things that had been sitting there for ages so I devised a fun way to use them up. I have a beautiful empty biscuit tin into which every week I will place 1-2 items to get creative with. This week is a packet of pecan nuts and a tin of bamboo shots. I think this game will occupy me for a number of weeks. It will also give me a chance to share recipes with you and hopefully inspire you to use what’s lurking in your cupboards.
Things I’ve learned:
1) clean presses regularly to avoid ants
2) Most of the dry goods in presses are unnecessary. Most will be a waste of food.
3) My new minimalist and reduced waste ethos has changed how I cook. I no longer want to buy a full jar of fennel seeds for a once-off recipe. I need to make sure that any recipe requiring spices will be a regular on my menus so I am not creating unnecessary packaging waste or food waste.
4) I am a mass murderer of ants and I feel terrible about it. I used vinegar and boiling water if you’re wondering.
5) Seriously clean your presses regularly and keep things in sealed containers – ants are a pain!
6) The whole ant ordeal reminded me about the most hilarious Michael McIntyre sketch about unused spices in the cupboard. Absolutely watch it!
P.S: If you have a recipe that uses fennel seeds leave it in the comment and I’ll try one next week!