I really dislike cleaning cupboards. So when I cleaned out the pantry a few days ago, I wasn’t too happy. The kids and Chris always offer to help (a token offer since I expect it but always turn them down). Then they split so they don’t have to listen to me explode with “Who poured brown sugar into the rice jar?” or “Why didn’t we know we had two jars of red pesto when I went shopping yesterday??”
According to Katie, these are questions that she has learned she is not actually expected to answer. She was quite delighted when she learned the meaning of “rhetorical”! She’s also learned that she is way better off if she doesn’t answer them, despite the fact they seem to ricochet around the room and settle randomly on someone. The urge to answer in kind is overwhelming… we are still reeling from a 2008 response involving gender stereotyping and the implication that the maternal head of the house is the maid.
I’m always amazed at what escapes our notice in the pantry and cupboards. Here’s what I found a few days ago.
1. 10 packets of Stash Licorice Spice Herbal Tea (yuck, who drinks licorice? O.K. Sake…but I’m convinced that’s an acquired taste, involving a generation of exposure.)
2. A spice mix for Chana Masala, given to Chris about 4 years ago by Stephanie when he enthused about hers. I hope to make this tomorrow.
3. About 4 cups of Garam Masala. I had a cup already, Stephanie kindly gave us a bunch and then Chris bought more because we couldn’t find it in the pantry. We’ve used about 4 tablespoons in the last year.
4. Three partial bags of bulk popcorn. Much to my satisfaction it is now all in one mason jar with a white screw lid.
5. An old onion. Enough said.
6. About 15 bags of unidentified grains. Some I’ve got a good idea as to the contents…others I will grind up and improvise on breadmaking day.
7. Five boxes or arborio rice. See note about Garam Masala.
8. Two bottles of lemon juice that somehow didn’t make it into my lemon juice bottle lineup. I have been buying it for the last year while I had these.
9. Cream of tartar. Bought the last time we made homemade Play Doh.
10. Two half filled bottles of Sunflower oil. Now in one bottle. Second bottle in recycling bin.
11. A large can of Heinz Tomatoe juice and a small can of no name peas. At least 7 years old. Given to us as part of a “food basket” during our 2003 wildfire evacuation…I think the third evacuation that August. Anybody have a recipe for a Ceasar?
12. Part package of taco seasoning that slid down the side of the pantry shelf and wedged itself. Rock solid.
13. Peanut skins all over the place and more than a handful of pistachio shells.
14. Something I originally thought was a petrified mouse but when I finished gagging long enough to look at, realized it was an old sock of Stephen’s.
15. The most surprising…1/2″ of Captain Morgan’s dark rum…that’s the last thing I would’ve thought I’d lose in the pantry!
16. Three wine jackets…some really funny ones that I meant to give away but like so much I keep hiding them. One is a metal snowman with a hat that goes over the cork. He is carrying skis which I’m pretty sure are skate skis, because no snowman who cares about “cool” would be caught with anything but.
17. Dried camping food. After a nasty experience with dried camping food in 1991, we refuse to eat it. But frugal me can’t throw it away.
18. Half jar of red peppercorns that I’ve been putting in the pepper mill for three years now in an attempt to use it up after an unsuccessful peppercorn encrusted goatcheese and pineapple log. (Blech). I know, it almost sounds good.
19. Eight partially filled food colouring containers from Easter. Two of each colour. Probably because we couldn’t find the original package last year. Too messy to contemplate pouring into one set.
20. A letter from my Dad to me after my mom died in 2000. Finding that was worth the hour it took me to clean the pantry. I miss her.
Tomorrow I clean out the drawer under the oven…here’s hoping it will also be worth my while!