Mark picked up our half-hog order from the farm yesterday and stowed it in the basement freezer. I went down there this morning for a pork steak from the fridge and, as long as I was there, I unpacked all the individually wrapped cuts and counted them, then restocked them in some semblance of order.
Right now I know everything that's in there, but come March or April I'll be digging through the bottom of the chest freezer, wondering, "Have I already used all the ham hocks?" I've tried, other times, making a list of the cuts that are in there, posting it on the wall, and crossing them off as each is removed. It never seems to work for very long. Mostly, I think, because I generally don't carry a pencil downstairs with me when I go to the pantry (and don't tell me to tie one to the wall, I promise you the kids will find a way to run off with it).
So I had an idea today. This would work for all you people who have a giant freezer or pantry full of stuff they need to keep track of, whether it's cuts of meat, once-a-month-cooking casseroles, or homemade preserves.
Here's my list on the wall above the freezer:
But I don't need to bring a pen down to cross stuff off, because I took a cue from the flyers on the coffee-shop bulletin board I was looking at yesterday:
See -- now all I have to do when I get a cut of pork out of the freezer is tear off one of the corresponding strips. What's left on the list is what's left in the freezer.
Tonight we had one of the pork steaks, thinly sliced, over a spinach salad with white beans and red onions, tossed in a dijon-cider dressing. Homemade wheat rolls on the side. Two kids opted for PB&J, so one pound of meat easily fed the whole family. I have decided it's a good idea to let them choose a meatless protein alternative -- as long as it isn't too complicated -- whenever they want.