My goal is to cook from scratch, but realistically I am too busy. I don’t have time to start from scratch with every meal. I am committed to cooking from scratch, but want to eliminate as many steps as possible. This will make time for other important things in my day. For this reason I developed several dry mixes that require nothing but water to make a nutritious meal in minutes. They are easy enough for even a beginning cook or a child to use without help. My husband and children use these mixes every day, leaving me free to do other things. You will find a system of dry mixes in the next chapter, but first we have to gather and organize the necessary ingredients.
After experimenting and designing recipes for dry mixes, I purchased all the dried ingredients for each. I put each ingredient into small, consistent sized containers so that they could fit in my small kitchen. This eliminated the unorganized mess of bags and baggies that accumulated as I bought whole foods in their original packaging. Putting them in one rack made the system so much more efficient. I searched for powdered forms of each liquid ingredient that I normally bake with. I found egg powder, honey powder, milk powder, butter powder, etc. I labeled each container with easy preparation instructions so that my family could use them without my help.
I grouped each ingredient into sections so that everyone in the family could easily find what they wanted. I arranged foods at eye level for my children that I hope they will snack on including dried fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and some homemade snacks such as granola bars and trail mix. Then I mixed up many dry mixes and put them into labeled containers and grouped them in the ”Breakfast Bin” and the “Dinner Bin”. Now cooking from scratch is efficient and fast. Just “having” the food wasn’t enough. Labeling and grouping the food was better, but not quite usable. Mixing up dry mixes ahead made it do-able. The final step that pulled it all together was to put the labeled containers in bins in a Baker’s Rack which made cooking from scratch sustainable. The rack puts a year’s supply at my fingertips in a four-foot by two-foot space.
The rack has adjustable shelves so I placed one of the shelves at counter-height for the extra appliances that I have no room for in my kitchen. This gave me four added feet of counter-top! I put the electric grinder, my hand blender and the electric dough kneader/mixer on this counter and keep them plugged in.
If everyone had the same set up, we would know exactly where to go in our homes and know exactly what to cook. This would be a great advantage if one of us were ill and the other could come in and take care of the family. Another advantage would be if we gathered in an intentional community, we could coordinate meals. Finally, if we were to evacuate, we could easily disassemble the rack, put the containers into bins and put the whole thing in the car. When we get to our destination, setting up the kitchen would be very efficient.