O.K., So You’ve Opened the Box. Now What?

In university, I devoted entire days to planning my study time. I lived for color-coded spreadsheets, time line along the side, courses listed across the top. (Did you say: Procrastinator?)

I left the color-coding behind years ago but retained the need to organize. I’d always write out a meal plan for the week. From there, I’d extract a grocery list. Then I’d sort items into the order they’re found in the store, crossing off from the original list as things were placed onto the new list. (Did you say: Obsessive?)

Those were the good old days, the Pre-Weekly-Organic-Box Days. Things have now been turned upside down: The food comes first. What’s a girl to do?

Find new types of lists to make, of course!

(If you’re not into lists, no worries. I think what’s key is to have a system, whether it’s writing things down or whether it’s attacking the produce like a contestant on Chopped using three items from your box spontaneously at every meal. (Thank you to Geni from Sweet and Crumby for noting the similarity between a Chopped contestant and a gal with an organics box.))

My New Lists

List #1: A list of all the items in the box (see my list here)

List #2: The items divided into three categories based on perishability. These categories have very exciting titles. The categorization is done from-the-hip based on vague instinct and sometimes past experience.

Exciting Title A: Things to Eat First:

  • Sugar snap peas
  • Bok choy (Bok choy isn’t that perishable but the leaves were yellowed so I wanted to use it quickly.)
  • Curly kale (I don’t know much about curly kale but it seemed spinach-like to me so I put it here.)

Exciting Title B: Things to Eat Second:

  • Broccolini
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Avocados (These weren’t ripe enough for Eat First but I thought they’d be ready in a day or so.)

Exciting Title C: Things to Eat Last:

  • Green cabbage
  • Acorn squash
  • Sweet Potatoes

(I don’t worry about the fruit. My toddler eats most of it and I have a strategy for dealing with anything that’s passed its peak, a strategy which I’ll share with you later in the series.)

Once the lists are made, I put the food away. WHERE do I put it all? Anything that desperately needs to be cold goes in the fridge. Everything else is decoration.

A light fixture used as a bowl in the above pics

It goes into bowls (or into inverted old light fixtures, a gift of an idea from a decorator I know) which are placed on the counters and table. These heaps of produce are colorful, pretty and a continuous reminder to EAT THE STUFF UP.

So that’s what I do after opening the box: Make lists, Decorate. (Did you say: Brilliant?)

What are the first steps you take upon opening your produce box?


Find out about my adaptive meal plan and grocery list next week as the series What’s in the Box? Tips for Dealing with Your Organics Delivery continues.


See the other post in this series:


Find out about Cook the Story themes past, present and future.



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  1. #1 by janellebendycki on March 3, 2011 - 10:48 am

    I really enjoy this series. I was mulling over the idea of joining a CSA this year, and this is selling the idea more and more. I think the fact that you are an avid (or perpetual like me) list-maker helps too :).

    Kale is delicious, and is so good for you. I made Kale chips last summer, and was pleasantly surprised. I also make this recipe often as well, very simple and easily adapted to the flavors you like, http://janellebendycki.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/kale-and-unconventional-dinners/

    • #2 by cookthestory on March 3, 2011 - 11:27 am

      CSA’s usually require an upfront commitment, right? I think that’s why I didn’t join up back when I lived in Toronto. I have to say that my produce box saddens me a bit because it is not very local, but they do make an effort whenever possible.

      If you’re a list person, I doubt you’ll have any trouble. I think it is all about being organized.

      The kale recipe sounds great! Given all the kale talk on my blog right now, I wonder if maybe kale’s actually the new black ;).

      Thanks for visiting Janelle!

  2. #3 by Geni - Sweet and Crumby on March 7, 2011 - 6:03 pm

    Thanks for the shout out. Looks like you have everything under control. Good luck with the “baskets”.

  1. The Weekly Organics Box Stir Fry « Cook the Story
  2. What’s in the Box? « Cook the Story
  3. Thinking Inside the Box: Sweet Potato Flapjack Tuesday « Cook the Story

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