Kitchen overstock: Don't be a victim

Now's the time, in my house anyway, to take inventory. Remember a couple weeks ago when my refrigerator gave up the ghost? Well, onc
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Now's the time, in my house anyway, to take inventory. Remember a couple weeks ago when my refrigerator gave up the ghost? Well, once it was resuscitated, I was faced with the task of re-stocking everything that had been crammed hastily into coolers when the big melt-down occurred. Which I was eager to do -- I like to be organized and all those clean empty shelves gave me the perfect opportunity to start from scratch. I know, I'm weird like that. Clearly there was a level of disorganization prior to the great purge.

Otherwise I would have known that I had two great big jars of garlic before I purchased yet another. Only one is open. It's not like I was dipping into all three, but still. Considering how little you actually use in a recipe, I won't have to buy garlic for a lon-n-n-g time. Of course if there's a plague of vampires, I probably have enough to bathe in...

Unlike the garlic, I was aware that my salad dressing situation was slightly out of control but I didn't realize just how far. Last count? -- 17 varieties and that doesn't include duplicates of the exact same flavor/brand. Yeah, here's where I really have to call into question my belief that I'm an organized person.

I think the overstocking may have occured because when I'm in the grocery store I can't always recall whether I need applesauce or olive oil or orange juice. Maybe I do need it and just didn't put it on the list. Since I'd rather not run out of something in the middle of making dinner, into the cart it goes, especially if it's on sale or I have a coupon. (For what it's worth I have two good-sized jars of pesto, lots of coconut and an embarrasing amount of brownie mix.)

So it turns out the refrigerator is stocked with enough dressing to open a salad bar. There's a Bacon Ranch, a Buttermilk Ranch, a Cracked Peppercorn Ranch (at least I don't have a Garlic Ranch,) three variations of blue cheese and several vinegairettes, plus assorted others.

At least I know what's there now. I can forgive myself for letting the dressing take over the refrigerator and for having enough garlic to last until 2010 -- but what really bothered me was the mustard.

Yes, I said mustard. Wanna guess how many? Eight. Now who do you know that needs eight kinds of mustard? I certainly don't, and I have no idea why I have so many. I think they might be multiplying, like the fishes and loaves. Hey, maybe that's it! Maybe there are miracles being performed in my refrigerator and I don't even know it! Because I don't recall thinking, "You know, in addition to the basic yellow mustard, we should also have a dijon, a stadium, a "sweet and tangy pub style" a raspberry honey, a Creole, a Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 and let's throw in some dijonaisse for good measure.

Creole mustard? Please. I needed this? I do remember purchasing it for a recipe but how much did I use? A tablespoon -- tops? I couldn't have figured out some way to make Creole mustard by blending some of the others? And the most important question -- do I even know what the recipe was for? Ummm. No.

So I've devised a plan: In addition to the on-going list of things I actually need, I'm going to carry with me, "The Un-grocery List," which will begin with "any kind of mustard" and continue with all the things mentioned above. These items will be banned from my cart -- even if the store has salad dressing for a dollar, as they often do, or it's quadruple coupon day or garlic's actually being given away -- until I've made a significant dent in the over-stock. Additional Un-grocery list items include pepperoni, black beans, apple pie spice, thyme, chocolate chips, cream cheese and tri-color rotini.

In the meantime, I'm hoping to be invited to a lot of potlucks. I figure several batches of pepperoni pasta salad tossed in dressing and some cream cheese chocolate chip brownies ought to bring my inventory into balance pretty quickly. I'm still trying to work out a creative way to combine some of the other ingredients, but if you're having a cook-out, you can count on me to bring the mustard!