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Food columnist Lou Groccia learns the benefit of lists


Friday, May 18, 2018

The older I get, the easier it is to forget things.

Like what’s in the fridge that needs to be used up.

So, I have taken to keeping a yellow note pad on my large cutting board amid the growing clutter on my new kitchen counters. You can have all the high-tech cooking equipment you like (like me), but there’s something deeply satisfying for me about writing out long-hand my latest ideas about what to cook.

I often just write down what I need to use up in the fridge. Then I might look in my four larders (flours, ethnic ingredients, baking ingredients and general foodstuffs) for things that go well with what I have on hand in the fridge.

A recent example: I had on hand ¾ of a cucumber, 5 Roma tomatoes, 4 scallions, 1 lemon, a piece of feta and a bunch of parsley. It was clear I needed to use these soon before the food police made me throw them out.

So, I wrote these items down and with pad in hand, I looked in the general foodstuffs larder and found a jar of marinated artichokes and a small container with 1 cup of fregola inside. The fregola is basically large couscous.

I boiled and drained the fregola, then added it to a bowl with the other ingredients which I had properly prepped, added the artichoke marinade to the lemon juice, tossed the whole thing a few times then added salt and pepper to taste.

Dinner was served. And the next day’s lunch.

I tore that sheet off the yellow pad and threw it away.

The next day my wife asked if I saved the recipe. Oops. Back to the writing board.

— LOU

Yes, it is easy to forget things. Like the mystery bottle filled with some red powder, smokey and a little spicey on my counter. I forgot to label it. It could be a chili powder I bought at the Latin Market or a smoked paprika I bought out of the bulk jars at River Valley Market. Seems like the taste would give it away but it doesn’t. Why didn’t I label it? I guess
I forgot. The mind is a terrible thing to lose!

—LUCY