I thought I'd share a story from almost three years ago, when I had just started my venture of 'making things', a story I call 'Eating out of the cupboard'.
The first month of my creative venture was great: I had cool work, and enough money coming in to feel good. The second month, however, was quite different. Work had dried up, I did not have a customer base, and I did not really know what I was doing.
I felt that the decision to do this venture was a God thing, and it was definitely a step of faith, but there were still so many unknowns. I had devoted much time and energy to explore the connection between creativity and spirituality, and here I was, faced with the ramifications of my step of faith.
I had spent a large amount of time staring into nowhere wondering what to do, and feeling bad about doing nothing. I think in total that month I generated about $100 before tax.
Come the third month I was starting to get low on money. I got a little concerned that I was going to run out of my 'seed money' and then would have to go back to work and get a 'real job' knowing that I could not do what I had wanted to try for so long. This at first was discouraging but then I got a little experimental, you see I really wanted my creative venture to work, and was prepared to suffer a bit for it.
I figured out that I spent about $100 a week on food, including eat out food, and that added up relatively quickly. So I made a decision. I was not going to buy any food other than the bare necessities. I decided I was going to 'eat out of the cupboard'.
Little rules on spending money on food
What this meant was that I set in place a whole bunch of little rules that would govern my spending on food. These rules were:
1) I would eat only what had accumulated in my cupboard.
2) I would eat any fruit or vegetables growing nearby (this made me acutely aware of all the fruit trees close by and I ate about a thousand feijoa crumbles).
3) I could eat anything my flatmates were throwing out.
4) I could buy bare necessities like oats, bread, etc. And as a treat I could buy honey once a month.
5) I had to keep this up until my income situation improved.
One thing that I quickly realised is that I actually had a lot of things in my cupboard that I had forgotten about. Even though it did not look like much there was quite a bit. Things like oats often became my backstop and during that month I ate them for many meals.
The main thing that I realised is that with a little bit of salt and pepper, and some resourceful thinking I could turn a few bare ingredients into a meal that was actually quite nice. I learnt to maximise what I had. I learnt to eat out of the cupboard!
This was nothing special, and you probably all know this stuff already. But for me this was quite a liberating experience, and I think it significantly contributed to the working capital that I needed to get the wheels of my new and small business turning.
Jared's secret recipes
So I thought I'd share with you a couple of Jared's secret recipes that turned out quite good:
Honey, soy and red cabbage stir-fry
One half of a red cabbage (my flatmate Mark was throwing this out)
A splash of olive oil (in the cupboard)
Three tablespoons of soy sauce (this was also in the cupboard)
Two teaspoons of honey (part of the weekly necessities)
Some pre-cooked rice (my other flatmate was throwing this out)
One wrinkly old capsicum (off a dying plant)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat frying pan at a highish heat, add olive oil. Chop cabbage and throw in pan being careful not to splash yourself with scalding oil. Add the soy sauce and honey a few seconds before tossing in cabbage. Cook evenly until the cabbage starts to soften. Add the rice and capsicum. Add salt and pepper, and cook until your heart says it's done.
Enjoy with a glass of water at room temperature (from the tap).
Jared's Famous Feijoa Crumble
About a bag of feijoas (from the neighbour's tree)
A handful of brown sugar (from the cupboard)
Two handfuls of white or brown flour (also from the cupboard)
And about fifty grams of butter (once again from the cupboard)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit). Cut feijoas in half and spoon contents into baking tray, cover the entire tray. Melt butter. Add sugar and flour and mix into a smooth crumble removing all lumps. Sprinkle the crumble over the feijoas and bake in the oven until the crumble turns golden.
Don't eat too often or you will get a funny stomach. Enjoy.
Jared Diprose is a self-employed artisan and co-director of the Mosaic Workshop. He has a degree in Theology, and believes that words shape worlds. He is married to Sierra. You can see some of his work at www.facebook.com/jareddiprosecreative and you can check out The Mosaic Workshop at www.facebook.com/workshopmosaic
Jared Diprose's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jared-diprose.html