“Yummm.” I leant back in my chair, stretching my hands in the air. “That was delicious!” I wiped leftover corn chip crumbs and tomato juice from my cheeks. “I think I could eat haystacks every day for the rest of my life,” I exclaimed to my husband who was similarly satisfied from our haystack feast.
We looked at each other for a moment. “Do you really think you could?” he asked. I paused for a moment. Took a deep breath. “Yep, want to try?” I grinned across the table.
In this moment, May 10, 2020, the haystack challenge was born. We promptly drove to Aldi and stocked up on beans (all the varieties!), corn chips (all the shapes!), cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, avocados and red onions. The lady at the checkout would have probably thought we were having a Mexican party, but due to it being the start of COVID restrictions she probably just thought we were panic buying food like everyone else.
We got home and began making different structures and shapes stacking all the ingredients together as they didn’t fit in our pantry. This brought us an amusing activity to help some COVID lockdown hours go by.
The months rolled by and day by day we both thoroughly looked forward to our haystack dinner. The ground rules were that we would eat haystacks once per day until we got tired of eating them. But our love only grew stronger each day. Sometimes we even had it for breakfast we were so keen!
Along the journey people started giving us more ideas and recommendations and our haystack combinations became even more creative. From grated carrot in the bean mix to broccoli stalks in homemade pesto for toppings, it was a fun and wild ride on a thorough exploration of this most exquisite and wholesome meal.
How long did we last? Well, on December 10, 2020, we made the tough decision to eat our last haystack (for the challenge). With COVID restrictions lifting and plans to spend weeks in the bush and road-tripping the east coast, logistics and convenience won that decision.
Seven months. Seven precious months consuming our favourite meal day in and day out. 2020 is remembered for a lot of reasons. But the only thing I can remember now, all these years later, is the common feeling of sitting down to a nutritious, scrumptious mouth-watering feast of haystacks. What a year! What a memory!
When life gave us lemons, we didn’t make lemonade—we made hummus for our haystacks!
I think Jesus made us with a creative and humorous streak. Sometimes we need to lean in more with our hearts (and stomachs) rather than with our heads so much.
Even now some people still ask me about our haystack challenge. Many ask, “Do you still like eating haystacks?” And my answer is . . . “Does the sun rise in the east?”
Anna Lindbeck is a musician and traveller from Queensland, Australia.