Never have I been so obsessed with air, or space to be specific. Now that we live in a defined space every centimetre matters.
Lets start with our clothes. Obviously a significant downsizing was required when we moved onto the boat, evening clothes and corporate attire were a no brainer, harder decisions though were around summer vs winter clothes and shoes. Now compared to most women I know I’m neither an Imelda Marcos nor a clothes hoarder however it appeared that I owned a lot more clothes and shoes than I thought. Downsizing was difficult not from a what clothes will I miss, but what clothes will I get the most use out of? What was the most adaptable and so on. Of the shoes I own what 1 pair of sandals will go with everything and the list goes on.
Clothes space however was to be the least of my worries. I have spent considerable time pondering capsicums. Literally hours. Can I afford to buy that capsicum, not from a price perspective although at Lord Howe Island prices sometimes came into it, but from a space perspective. I don’t know if you have noticed but a capsicum contains a LOT of dead space. Put one of them into my limited crisper space and all of a sudden something else has to go.
Picture your current fridge space, now divide that by about 1/3 and that is the fridge (not freezer) space I am currently working with (we have a stand alone freezer that is about the size of a small esky, that holds all our frozen meats). In the fridge, I have dedicated 1 whole shelf to fresh veggies. And, capsicums are VERY space wasteful. I have experimented with cutting them up and storing them flat in a plastic bag but they go soft really quickly that way. Experiment #2 was will they keep out of the crisper? - ah, no they won’t. I have tried cutting them and freezing them, but they defrost soggy, and then I’m using up valuable freezer space. I started to wonder, how important really were capsicums to our menu, perhaps I should just give them up??
Avocados are a clear winner, store on the bench until you use them and then into the fridge for a day or two. Not so sure about these giant avocados they sell in Noumea. That's a lot a guacomole!!!!
Unlike capsicums, a whole lot of other items I now know will last perfectly well outside of the fridge. All fruits are now stored in baskets on the bench, you just need to sure that you rotate them every day so that they don’t get bruised.
Likewise pumpkin will last a really long time as long as you don’t cut into it, once you start it, it’s pumpkin city for at least a week. Although I haven’t resorted to pumpkin desert (I’m still scarred by a pumpkin pannacotta made by my dear friend Tiffany).
Spring onions likewise are very space greedy, they now have a massive haircut before they enter my precious crisper space. Lettuce simply can’t come in, it is very space wasteful and quite frankly just doesn’t last long enough in our fridge environment to warrant the effort. It’s really all about bang for buck, carrots are a clear winner 100% usable and long lasting, cauliflower and broccoli are in to 75/25 bracket and often win a place, asparagus is surprisingly hardy and almost 100% usable, asparagus, when available is in.
What else is “airy” you ask? Pre packaged meat, I simply don’t have space for air, so now all meats we purchase come from actual butchers who provide the products in plastic bags.
But what do I really crave, that absolutely earns a place every time? Herbs and chillies. They add so much flavour to a meal that whenever we find them we buy them. And unlike my Adelaide self, I use every last centimetre of them. Coriander now becomes at least 3 meals, leaves - into cold rolls, stems into omelettes or a stir fry and the roots ground up go into a curry.
When the inevitable ’what’s for dinner?’ question is posed, I carefully consider what we have and what needs to be used next so that it doesn’t spoil, this rather than desire dictates our next meal.
The necessity of my space pondering has, I believe, turned me into the type of cook I always should have been, creatively utilising every last drop of an ingredient. It has been a long time since I threw out anything fresh that had gone past its due date.