Sunday, May 03, 2009

Pantry Inventory


A fully-stocked pantry can be a home cook’s best weapon in the never-ending war of, “What should we have for dinner tonight?” From cans of beans and tomatoes to pasta and rice, having a well-edited selection of non-perishables is very wise.

“Well-edited” is not necessarily an adjective I would use to describe my pantry selection. First off, my “pantry” consists of two 16 X 30 inch shelves -- not a whole lot of space. The other shelves in the closet hold cooking equipment and extra dishes. Once it became clear that I couldn’t add another item to my pantry and still be able to close the door, I decided it was time for a pantry inventory. Here’s what I discovered (keep in mind that all of my dried herbs/spices, oils and vinegars are in other spots):

All-bran cereal (to make refrigerator raisin bran muffins next weekend)
Cranberry Almond Crunch cereal
One bag microwave popcorn from Dad’s visit in October
Two packages black tea
Irish Breakfast tea
Herbal tea sampler
Peach tea blossoms
Tazo tea sampler (this is a lot of tea for someone who hardly drinks tea)
Instant coffee (for baking)
French hot chocolate mix
Malted milk powder
Three cans chickpeas
Can beef broth
Tube of tomato paste
Chicken bouillon cubes
Can diced tomatoes
Two cans tuna in olive oil
Fregola (semolina pasta)
Two packages rice noodles
Farro (whole grain)
No-boil lasagna noodles
Organic whole wheat rigatoni
Organic penne
Soba noodles
1/2 pkg thick spaghetti
Cous cous
Arborio rice
White rice
Dried breadcrumbs
One full bag and one partial bag of panko
Dark brown sugar
Superfine sugar
Palm sugar
German rock cane sugar
Gelatin packets
White flour
Whole wheat flour
Cake flour
Semolina flour
Cornmeal
Oats
Multi colored sprinkles
Christmas sprinkles
Food coloring
Cocoa powder
Dutch-process cocoa powder
White chocolate chips
2 large cans French chestnut spread, one small can
Candied violet petals
lady fingers (for tiramisu)
A handful of dried porcini mushrooms
Crispy Wheats crackers
One bag microwave popcorn
Homemade taralli (Italian crackers made by a friend of my mother-in-law’s)
Dried pineapple rings
Raisins
A honeycomb
Dried thyme
Sea salt
Dried Chinese ginger
Moroccan seasoning
Crushed red pepper
Gray salt
Herbes de napa
Smoked paprika
Kosher salt
Garlic rosemary oil
Ground allspice
Toasted spice rub
Rosewater
Balsamic vinegar
Can coconut milk
Grape jelly
Homemade apricot sauce
Peanut butter
Mango chutney
Two small, mostly empty bags of pine nuts
Pie weights (dried beans)
Sesame seeds
A tablespoon walnuts
A tablespoon pecans
Two tablespoons quinoa
Half bag red lentils
Four packets yeast
Quarter bag dried pinto beans

During my inventory I threw away a few pistachios, since I didn’t pay any attention to which pistachio nuts were recalled a few months ago, some toasted sesame seeds that didn’t smell toasty anymore, a bag of past-expiration pepitas (pumpkin seeds), and a can of coconut water that I bought once hoping Rosa would think it was juice. But it was too sugary anyway.

So, yes, this is a lot of stuff. But for the most part I’m glad to have it all. I could whip up a dozen meals based on the ingredients there (not to mention a few desserts and a couple hundred cups of tea).

After I cleaned the shelves I put everything back nicely and thought about what I learned. Obviously, being selective with pantry choices is smart. As is reorganizing frequently to remind me what I have on-hand in the hopes that I will use it (I totally forgot I had cornmeal and I really should use some of that chestnut spread). But the real lesson I learned today is clear: I need a bigger pantry.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You had a lot of stuff in your pantry!! I agree, you need a bigger pantry in a bigger kitchen. LH

Megan said...

I'm moving at the end of this month, and I've been having so much fun setting up my new pantry. I've never had a pantry before, just cabinets. But my boyfriend and I went to the container store and designed an Elfa pantry (I took over one of his closets!). I have 8 shelfs and 4 basket-style shelves, along with racks for spices and oils and such now! I'm actually planning to post about it (with pictures) when I get it all finished. You are sooo right about needing an organized pantry. Discovered all sorts of things hiding in the backs of my cabinets!

easylivingsally said...

Having a well stocked pantry goes a long way to getting healthy meals on the table.(I notice you had some organic items in there). We all can you bigger pantries that's as organized as the cooks on the food channel.

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