Everyone who’s ever moved house knows that in your final days you wind up eating a variety of strange things because you just can’t take everything with you. On their own, these things are perfectly normal ingredients found in many cupboards across the land. It is in the combinations that are only tried out of necessity that they become unusual.
I made eggplant parmesan using a mix of lemon breadcrumbs and crushed-up pretzels, because they needed eating up. I also used the remains of three different kinds of cheese, and even then I didn’t have quite enough for the smooth and creamy cheesy top layer one expects in that particular dish. Perhaps I should have used the surplus custard to make a sort of derivative béchamel sauce.
I have about a pint of custard in the fridge that needs eating. Normally I wouldn’t even buy custard precisely because I know I can’t finish that much of it by myself before it goes off, but I was supposed to bring dessert to a dinner party, they bailed at the last minute, and now I open the fridge every day and there sits the custard, waiting in a resentful silence for the day I just have to toss some of it out.
Generally this would not present a problem. I would cook a series of delicious baked goods (sans raisins) and sensibly work my way through them, each with a velvety custard accompaniment. However, because moving day is fast approaching, I’ve been trying to avoid buying more food. One could so easily wind up baking a cake to go with the custard, then getting stuck with leftover half-bags of flour and sugar and a bit of milk and who’s going to eat the rest of those eggs before it’s time to move, is what I’d like to know. It gets to be a vicious cycle.
This is why I’ve limited myself to using the custard with things I already have. Cream crackers and custard, anyone? Popcorn with drizzled custard topping? Peanut butter and custard sandwiches?
As moving day looms and the larder ingredients grow ever sparser I know that my inventive meals will get even more creative. But equally bad is the food guilt that hovers whenever I do introduce new provisions into my dwindling supply.
My landlady very kindly offered to share what food she has in the house with me during the final weeks of my stay. “Don’t go buying bread and milk and things—and there are plenty of eggs! Have one of these bananas!” In this modern world where studies have shown people feel increasingly lonely and isolated, how nice to be faced with such generosity. But the thing is, I already bought some muffins.
One of the great things about moving, the flip side of the coin to trying to concoct a series of odd hodgepodge meals while clearing the fridge, is that you have a free license to eat whatever you want in the way of junk food and quick meals once that appliance has been emptied. Plus, people will frequently take pity on your tumultuous state of affairs and offer to feed you out of the goodness of their hearts. It is in the height of bad taste to turn them down in favour of whatever junk you’ve just dragged through the door like a cat with a small furry, winged, or even slimy animal of the outdoor variety.
So here I am having bought all these muffins, and there she is trying to foist food upon me every morning when I get up. I clearly have no choice but to lurk in bed each day, pretending to be asleep until she leaves the house so I can sneakily eat my clandestine muffins. With custard, of course.