Sunday, May 04, 2008

Pantry Archeology

Cleaned out the pantry this morning. Excavations revealed:

1 sack of potatoes seriously past their prime
2 open boxes of elbow macaroni
3 open containers of corn meal
4 food tins waiting to be painted
5 boxes of black cherry jello
6 cans of mandarin oranges
7 candle stubs
8 empty food jars waiting for to be transformed into storage containers
9 pounds of wild rice in an unmarked tin
10 colored bottles waiting to be used in a glass mosaic

Baking staples were accounted for, of course: Crisco, flour (unbleached, whole and cake), salt (table, rock and Kosher). Brown sugar, powdered sugar, superfine and turbinado. Honey, molasses and corn syrup.

Beans, dried and canned. Black, white, pinto. Cannellini.

Rice, basmati, jasmine and plain brown. Nine treasured pounds of wild.

And tomatoes. Can we talk about the number of ways tomatoes can be preserved? Sauce, paste and puree. Diced, stewed and whole. With herbs and spices. Without salt. All present and accounted for.

More than anything else, my pantry illustrates that I have never, ever been hungry. Not truly hungry. Not for a day, probably not an hour. My mother, who lived through the Depression, stockpiles staples. She always knows what's in her pantry and feels uncomfortable without multiples. One is enough for me.

I barely give the pantry a thought most days. Hell, when I started this morning it held almost as many empty containers as full. It also held funky potatoes, a jar of peaches past expiration, and a zip-lock bag full of tortilla chips that should have been eaten or pitched long ago.

Not advocating waste, but it's a strange kind of luxury to have so much that losing a little isn't a crisis. Which brings me to familiar territory: gratitude. Many go without, but I have a pantry filled with food.

And it's clean.


mamatulip said...

Not advocating waste, but it's a strange kind of luxury to have so much that losing a little isn't a crisis.

Yes, it is, isn't it?

Go Mama said...

Black cherry madarin orange Jello shooters. That's all I'm sayin'.

And 9 lbs of wild rice? From one to another, sounds like you're a former Minnesotan!

Amber said...

Come do mine next. ;)

kario said...

Love cleaning out the pantry. Although, I find it's a job best done in solitude. Can you take Bubba and the kids for a day so I can do mine?