Cooking with Carson: Clearing out your food for graduation

Do not let that food go bad; learn to clear out your pantry and fridge before you leave



If you are not using it, you can potentially donate it.

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

I, like many students who are either graduating or just leaving Pullman for the summer, have a problem.

We need to figure out what to do with all the food in our pantries and fridges. Looking at the calendar and my fridge shows just how poor a planner I truly was, and I do not relish taking back an absolute ton of food in my car using spaces that have been planned for my furniture. But you also do not want that food to go to waste.

Cue the trumpet, as that is where I come in. While the approaching deadline of graduation or lease ending may frighten some students, there is still time to make use of that food in a productive manner.

I have compiled a list of ways to easily use that food instead of just throwing it out, and each one of these methods is going to see some use from me going forward.

It is also important to know that you can donate food to local pantries or donate your RDA to the Meal Swipe Program so that other students or members of the community can make use of it. Whichever you choose, make sure to keep the following in mind.

Hope you enjoy it!

Breakfast Burrito – This is among the easiest and, in my opinion, most reliable as you are running to one of your finals after oversleeping. Take a tortilla, jam a decent amount of those ingredients in your fridge in there, slather on some sauce and bam, you have a breakfast burrito. Jokes aside, these usually go best when you are able to incorporate the three pillars: protein, veggie and egg. Almost every combination of these works together, and it helps clear that food out.

Stir Fry – This seems to be the cooking blog’s special when it comes to getting rid of old food, and as much as I do not want to play into the stereotype, they are right. While this will not fall under any traditional definition of stir fry, so long as you have a large pan and some oil, you are well on your way. It would be worth it to run to the store to pick up a sauce of your choice to cook along with it. Stir fry is a great way to get rid of masses of vegetables sitting in the back of your refrigerator and that chicken breast that you swore you would use. Try the stir fry!

Fried Rice – Traditionally speaking, this tends to be a mixture of day-old rice, scrambled eggs, vegetables, a protein, soy sauce and sesame oil. But when you are clearing out the pantry, you can really stretch and make things work for this dish. If you have some hot sauce, oyster sauce or some extra proteins, I would recommend throwing them in there. It might even be worth getting a little bit of extra rice so you can share it with your roommate. 

Salad – Like the stir fry, the salad can be the utility player whenever you are trying to get rid of food. Most proteins, veggies and fruits match well under the generic green leafy umbrella of lettuce or spinach, and with the right dressing, you can really pull it together. I would recommend trying to, at the very least, theme your salad so that you can pick the right accompaniment — a light dressing for a fruit salad or a nice Caesar for a ham and generic veggies meal. Either way, the salad often saves the day for clearing out your fridge.

Donate Your Food – Last but probably most important, you can donate food that you have no plans on using. There are a few donation spots in Pullman and Moscow that serve the greater community and would likely appreciate donations. It is important to note that certain pantries or food banks only take a certain type of food, so it is worth it to call ahead. For those who are living in the dorms and are filled to the brim with RDA, you may want to consider donating excess to the Meal Swipe program and helping out your fellow students.

If you have a recipe that helps clear out your leftovers, share it using the hashtag #cookingwithcarson