Order out of chaos

So for the past couple of years I’ve been managing the kitchen at the charity I work for. I have loved it. Feeding anywhere from ten to fifty people a healthy, varied, mostly-vegan menu for about £2 per person per day has been… a challenge? Often. A joy? Almost always. One of the biggest learning experiences in my life thus far? Definitely. Did I mention that these people I’m feeding are not vegans? Believe me, I’ve seen my share of skeptical faces when I’ve tried to explain the heart behind it (health! simplicity! ethical and sustainable resources!), but if there are a few people out there with a greater understanding of how possible it is to eat healthy, sustainable, whole-foods-based diets and not hate every minute of it, I feel good about what I’ve done.

But a big part of that is prep work, and prep work for twenty is no joke. Here’s what my average Monday morning looks like:

IMAG0066And then, an hour later, this:

In case it wasn’t clear, the first photo is the grocery order as it arrives (bless you, Tesco man, for making my life 1000% easier on a weekly basis and also breaking your back to carry 20 crates of food directly into my kitchen) and the second is the fresh food once it has been broken down into ingredients for each meal.

There’s something about the process, each groggy Monday morning, of sorting through 20 cratefuls of food. Something about the visual to-do list of it all. Something about the futility of how it will all be gone without a trace by next Monday in time to do it all again. Something about drawing order out of chaos in the physical that is echoed in my mental state as well. And that’s before a single vegetable has been washed or chopped.


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