So, here we are. I want to make space for 2021, and I’m going to purge my pantry. Lucky for me, I have two dogs who are more than willing to help me finish the task. Lucky for them, it’s delicious and nutritious work! Tonight, we are making hamburgers. The pups will get their raw meat mixed up with pureed pumpkin. Fiber – check. Vitamins from A to Z – check. Tomorrow the humans are having a vegetarian meal, so I’ll add some tinned sardines to the brown rice for our meat-loving furry family. In fact, we include sardines in the pups’ meals most weeks because these little fish are so good for joints and muscles. Next week, I have my sights set on a dog-friendly green bean casserole, but if I’m feeling unmotivated I’ll just mix up the veggies with trimmings from a rotisserie chicken that we’ll undoubtedly have left over from a weekday meal. The beans, in addition to packing a nutritional punch, will help all of us get rid of a few extra holiday pounds.
The pantry purging process may feel like throwing caution and preparedness to the wind (or the dogs), but nothing could be further from the truth. I am preparing for difficult months ahead, but months that will not look exactly as they did last year. I’m relying on seasoned food-supply workers, grocery store staff who have learned how to safely serve us, and importantly, a new community of home gardeners and local farmers to keep my kitchen stocked with mostly fresh food.
Like many people I know, I have spent the last ten months finding depth and novelty in a very small world – one mostly contained within the walls of my home, but also in the new ways of creating community. Little shifts like a different kitchen landscape are symbolic and not; they are changes that mirror hope and make room for new ways of living and connecting in the year to come. I’ll be enjoying this shift by brightening my pups’ meals, taking stock, and imagining a better 2021.