Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It Came from the Pantry!

Run away!!!!! Far, far away!!!!!

No, seriously, dude, run.

As you know, I've worked in my pantry before. Several times before. And in the baking cupboard. But this time, I had help from someone who is truly ruthless.

Today, my good friend L helped me with a pantry attack. I've been wanting her input on my pantry for a while, because she is the food-expiration-date Queen. You name it, she can tell you how long you can keep it before it'll rot your guts out. I didn't do much to prepare, because, well, I really wanted her to be harsh, to cut no corners, give me no quarter. And, well, yeah.

We filled three paper grocery sacks of grainy-beany stuff, and those went into compost. We filled five bags of garbage. She made me get rid of dozens of jars of jam from, well, most were from 1999 or 2000. Not *that* long ago. I had made them, so there were attachment issues. And, those went in a garbage bag. Um, don't tell her, but I pulled 'em all out, opened them, emptied them, put the ancient jam into compost, and will wash the jars. They're still good jars!

She used her mysterious pantry powers to rearrange my pantry (which now seems quite spacious, and even has a few empty spots), sorting foods by cuisine as well as type (i.e. cans together in general, but cans of coconut milk say with the Indian cuisine section). Who knew I had that many canned tomatoes? Or six cans of coconut milk? Or five bags of crystalized ginger (all of which were stale and outdated)?

There were no bugs living in my pantry goods. A few spiders, but that's normal for this time of year. Nothing truly disgusting (well, maybe you'll change your mind when you look at some of the pictures below). Just too much food that had sat around for too long. That's my real problem--I don't know how much food our family truly needs to have on-hand.

I also have cooking and homemaking ambitions that just don't fit with the reality of my life or my family's taste in foods. I had all sorts of interesting grains. Does my family enjoy meals made with interesting grains? Uh, not so much. They prefer a meat or tofu or bean main dish, with rice or potatoes and a green vegetable and/or salad. That's the sort of meal that everyone actually eats. Not kashi or barley soup or rye berry special delight.

So, on with the photo show! You know you've been itching for more pictures. Well, here ya go!

Empty Tupperware bins (these will be sold on Craig's List soon)

The lovely mess the little children made while we tossed ancient food.

Bags of food heading to the compost bin. Luckily, today was pick-up day.

A whole pile-O-crapola.

The bags of garbage.

Empty jam jars.

Empty jam in a compost bucket.

So tidy and neat!

The new top shelf.

The new middle shelf.

The new bottom shelf.

So many clean jars!


Anonymous said...

Congrats! It's BeaUtifull!

Monica said...

It looks awesome! Woo Hoo! :)

Anonymous said...

Way to go! You may want to consider labeling the shelves. It will help you and your family keep it orderly.

Anonymous said...

Go, you! Um, okay, the bucket of jam? Kind of gross.


Anonymous said...

Totally awesome!! Incredible! Kind of wish I could have some of the grainy stuff, but the kids balk at eating brown rice, there's no way they'd eat anything else. And I'm glad you rescued your jam jars, can always fill those up with more jam or sell them on craigslist too. kcn

In Recovery said...

Everything that was tossed or composted was stale. Beans were old, grains had gone off, flours were icky, nothing that you would want to cook with. :-(

katharine said...

sister you did a fabulous job. i only wish you had gifted me more jam when you first made it because i ate up the few jars you did give me so fast and had to start buying it again. it was so homemade and delicious and i was/am so impressed that you could really make things at home like jam (and soap! i used the soap you made all up right away.) love, katharine

katharine said...

Hey, too bad you didn't still have your chickens! you could have fed them some of the grain.