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The Great Pantry Project

December 16, 2011
Actual Pantry

Actual Pantry

Pantry Project Items

Pantry Project Lunch

Pantry Project Cookies for Desert Harvester Fund Raiser

Pantry Project Carob Nut Balls

As a faithful fan of Martha Stewart I’m always excited each month to get my magazine.  January’s issue just arrived in my box and I think I realized why not everyone loves Martha as much as I do.  This issue is dedicated to “Kitchens we love; Secrets to style, color, and organization”.  “Organization” is the main sticking point.  The kitchens on display are immaculate with every bowl, pan and rolling pin looking artfully placed and never used.  It reminds me a bit of the airbrushed models in fashion magazines, desirable even in their unbelievability.  While I realize the futility in coveting these model cooking centers and I am inspired to get my own workspace a little more in order.

Recently we returned from a three week trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon (The food operation alone warrants it’s own blog post).  I brought home great memories and a significant amount of unused food.  Trying to find a home for the surplus inspired a pantry perusal that got me pondering exactly what I stock on the shelves.  I found an eclectic and bizarre collection of goodies.  The “Pantry Project” was born.  Into a large box went a collection of items that have languished on the shelves for an embarrassing amount of time.  What would Martha say?

These items seem to fall into 3 distinct categories:

1)  Items that were purchased for a specific recipe that was never created or didn’t require using the full amount of the item.  An example of which are the packets of “Instant Black Sesame Powder Mix” purchased to make Sesame ice cream for a Chinese New Year party.  I ultimately used a sweetened sesame paste for the Asian inspired sundae bar leaving the powder in the pantry.

2)  Items that seemed like a good or fun idea the the time of purchase but with no actual plan for their usage.  Here the example is clearly represented by the bottle of “Carob Cocktail Syrup”.  Perhaps more puzzling is the overwhelming collection of cacao powder and nibs.

3)  Items that were handcrafted and gifted.  I am lucky to have a collection of talented food friends who like to share.  My only defense on these items remaining in the pantry is that I’ve deemed them to precious to eat and so I have hung on to them waiting for a special occasion.

The goal of the “Pantry Project” is to “use ’em or lose ’em”.  If by the end of the year the items haven’t been used or designated a legitimate use in a future project (sworn, documented and witnessed) then I have to clear them out!  It’s been exciting to stretch my creativity and resourcefulness.  Everyday is like an episode of the cooking show “Chopped” replete with my own basket of mystery ingredients.  All guests to my home should be forewarned that they are treading into culinary experimentation territory where cacao lurks in the wings waiting to make an appearance in your next meal.  After all I’m only 3 pounds of nibs away from a Martha Stewart level of organization.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 10, 2012 3:59 pm

    The carob nut balls were so unbelievable. I love that you mentioned the Martha Stewart thing! Lilly was just saying when she met you she was like “OH MY GOD, SHE’S LIKE A SUSTAINABLE MARTHA STEWART!!!”

    100% pure charm!

    I’m hungry for more blogs – How did that backpacking showdown go?

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