Some of you may remember our family embarking on the experiment of not buying anything but food and toiletries for six months in 2010. It was challenging, fun, and above all, fodder for lots of stories. Our family likes experiments. So when we came across the book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker (http://jenhatmaker.com), it didn't take long for us to be all in.
7 challenges families to reconsider American excess, much like our first challenge. Every month, the author chose one area of excess to focus on and radically streamline. Among the areas are: food, shopping, clothing, media, “stuff,” stress, and the environment. We're on our month two—food.
What does that mean? It means we have chosen seven foods that we will eat. All month. No exceptions. When the lady behind me at Dominicks saw my cart full of bread and cheese last week, she asked where the wine was and if she could come over. I told her sure. I didn't have the heart to tell her if she stayed for long, bread, cheese, chicken, apples, pasta, and lettuce were all she'd get. There may be quite a bit of whine, though, I'm thinking. And yes, you are correct, you math whizzes among us. That does add up to only six. Each person is free to choose his or her seventh, we decided. Different people need different diets.
So first, who knew you could get chicken so many ways? Whole chicken, boneless chicken, ground chicken, chicken in a little foil pouch, chicken in lunchmeat. Somehow, I'm not sure that plethora of choices right there really teaches much about excess. Or perhaps it does.
Of course there are the loopholes. I am pretty sure that, in some country, cookies are considered bread. Just have to figure out which one. Then, what about condiments? Sauces? Spices? Chocolate? It's very grey territory. OK, I know chocolate is not a condiment. But there is such a thing as chocolate cheese. And despite the sound of it, it's quite good. Just have to find some . . .
Obviously, we're still working on figuring out details without becoming legalists. Maybe that's part of the exercise. I don't really know yet what we'll learn. But it's exciting to learn it together.