Thursday, October 11, 2007
The Great Pantry Cleanup of '07
My husband has been getting sick of opening the pantry door only to have something fall out at his feet. I can't see what he's worried about because whatever falls out has a safe landing on the gigantic pile of stuff on the floor of the pantry. Inspired by an article in a magazine I thought I’d give my pantry a big clean out. The end result was quite frightening because I couldn’t actually fit everything back in. I took before and after photos but apart from things being straightened up you can't really tell the difference although if you look hard enough you'll find the Easter Bunny that ended up in my chocolate caramel tart.
When we lived in Kentucky where the being snowed in during winter was a possibility there was very good reason to have multiple cans of things but now am close enough to swing my choice of four different supermarkets on the way home from work. If I run out of anything during a baking session at stupid o’clock then I’m less then 5 minutes drive from a 24 hour supermarket. Why then, do I have so much stuff in my pantry?
The article talked about what a person should have as basics in their pantry and also the kinds of extras you need to make cooking more interesting. That’s probably why I have various cans of tuna (in oil, in brine and flavoured); four kinds of mustard (Dijon, American, honey and hot English) five different kinds of rice (basmati, brown (meh!), sushi, Arborio, and although technically a grain not a rice - wild rice); five different kinds of syrupy stuff (maple, treacle, apple, golden and corn); five different kinds of vinegar (malt, white, rice wine, balsamic and white balsamic – oh and crema di balsamica); five different kinds of oil (canola, olive, sesame, rice bran and avocado); eight different kinds of canned fruit (plums, peaches, pineapple, pears, cherries, mangoes, apricots and mandarins) and for a little more variety nine different kinds of dried fruits (apricots, dates, prunes, figs, craisins, sour cherries, blueberries, sultanas and raisins and I didn’t include the crystallised ginger, glace peel and cherries in that count). I’m a little embarrassed to mention some of the more unusual extras I have but I will because if you've read this far I am sure you really want to know: tamarind paste, pomegranate molasses (what DO you do with that stuff? I haven't even used it), harissa, dukkah, liquid smoke, black truffles from Umbria, Italian mustard fruits, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, spearmint flavoured sugar for rimming one’s mojito glass, hibiscus flowers in syrup which you put in a glass of champagne, and a jar of iitty bitty little baba things in limoncello syrup.
What is the most unsual thing in your pantry?