Saturday, June 09, 2007

Notes from the Pantry


Yes, that's a regular size grocery bag. Yes, it is mostly full of flour. Yes, the flour was undoubtably rancid. Yes, I bought too much. Yes, it was terribly wasteful. Yes, I really feel awful about it.

After so recently extolling the virtues of Costco, I now find myself compelled to rail against bulk purchasing. Here's the thing: it only makes sense to buy in bulk if you will actually use the item(s) in question up before they go bad. Don't let your eyes (and your desire for a bargain) get bigger than your family's appetite. You see, for some reason, I am able to use Costco successfully. We very rarely have anything bulk-purchased there go bad on us. I mean, really truly. Would I lie to you? No, of course not! Where I do go wrong, however, is with certain pantry items. I'll tell you right now, if my Costco carried huge bags of brown rice, I would be mightily tempted. It's good they don't! See, rice, flour, other grains, I tend to buy a big bag or two or three if they're on sale. I wonder if it's a comfort thing, as baking certainly creates a hominess and especially flours and rolled grains I associate with baking. Whatever. Does it matter? Suffice to say I am changing this habit. No longer will I buy a ten pound bag of flour. No more than five, and even better, two.

This morning, I stopped at the farmer's market. After that, I planned a quick stop at the local grocery store; I had a few things on my list, including cake flour. Imagine my surprise to see a stall featuring locally grown and milled grains at the farmer's market! They even had cake flour, in a perfect size: two little pounds. Just right for the amount of baking I (actually) do.

So, today, after mostly recovering from a lactose attack (I've been wondering if I suffer from lactose intolerance....well, if having extreme discomfort and other, um, symptoms within an hour after having a tall latte is lactose intolerance, guess I do have it. No more lattes for me, not worth the pain. Oh, and someday, if y'all are really lucky, I'll tell you all about my food allergies!)....let's see, where was I before that parenthetical? Oh, yes, flour. I've been working on the pantry for a while, in preparation for the kitchen update and just general feng shui reasons. Stale food is really extra bad feng shui, don't you know? At first, I did some Googling to learn about rancidity and how long flour can be stored. Um, three months on average before whole wheat flour goes rancid. And, nope, I have no idea when I purchased the flours seen above. Years, not months. So, with that to start with, and using my nose and tastebuds, I proceed to test the flours. The first bin, oh, my. Icky smell. Truly icky. Bitter and stale, flat, not like wheat at all. One other was easy too, but the last flour bin, well, I couldn't quite tell. So, I decided to open up the bag from the farmer's market as a control. I opened it up and oh, it smelled so good! Fresh, clean, wheaty, light. I tasted a bit and again, wheaty and fresh, like the sun on a field of wheat. Lovely. That sure made the comparison easy! After that, I tossed a couple of smaller bins that I knew, just knew, were ancient.

Before starting on the flour adventure, I made up a quick fruit crisp as a post-tossing treat. It's out of the oven now, peach and blueberry with an oatmeal-cinnamon-whole wheat pastry flour (not rancid!)-butter topping. Smells so good! And, in honour of my current favourite blog, here's a photo for you to drool over.


I'll tell you about the freezer later...

1 comment:

clutter buddy said...

Good job! I just did the same not to long ago. It really does take effort to not buy too much of certain things, especially if you are like me and like to have a lot of food around. I know for me it's definately a security thing.