Okay, sorry, I’ll admit it. I’m kind of a Monica and I love cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of things. Last weekend I decided to clean out the fridge and go through my cupboards, a daunting task given the fact that I am a bit of a food hoarder. Not in the “gross, what is that sheath of mold around that Tupperware?!” way, but in the charming “Oh look at this rare spice, I should stockpile a container of it just in case!” kind of way.
Here are the most surprising discoveries I unearthed while in the throes of my mission:
Not one, not two, but three kinds of nutmeg. Why? WHYYY? How did this come to be? What do I even use nutmeg for? My squash soup, I guess. And various roasted vegetables. Maybe spice cookies sometimes? I don’t know, I don’t know. This is basically a lifetime supply.
Um. Random “souvenirs” from Australia? These are all like three years old and I totally had no idea they were still in my pantry. Maybe I had big plans for the port wine jell-o in the past, but clearly by this point all those dreams have been shattered.
On the left/middle: two baggies of homemade spice mixes. On the top is a cajun spice rub from a summer BBQ, and on the left is umami powder, left over from this recipe. (Which I cooked/posted in the beginning of the summer! I mean, spice mixes don’t go bad, right?) On the right is a bag of saffron I purchased in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul! I’m just so well-traveled, humblebrag to the max, apologies. This is from summer 2009. I ask the same question I asked above: this doesn’t expire, right? I guess I’m not a sophisticated, exotic person who uses mass amounts of saffron in her day-to-day (or, year-to-year, apparently) cooking.
Trendy foodie ingredients. We have…black garlic! This one can’t go bad because the garlic is already fermented, or so I am telling myself. I bought this stuff online from England when it first hit the market a year or so ago. It’s really good in certain pastas and whatnot. I should probably try to use it more often. In the middle is agave syrup… a pretty hip and I guess “healthy” sweetener, but looks like I haven’t really made much of an effort to actually substitute it for sugar. Finally, we have crystallized ginger chips. The fatal flaw of this one is: I don’t bake hardly ever, nor do I especially like cooking sweet things in general. I think I got these to make ginger cookies a couple Christmases ago. I should probably gift them to our very own BakersRoyale, who could surely do them more justice than I ever could.
Ahh, Grecian sea salt. I’ve been hoarding this bad boy for three years as well. I really don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just can’t part with this stuff. Is it any better than your average American table salt? Who knows, but I can tell you that the memories sure are worth keeping this little plastic canister around. Even if there is only a tiny sprinkle left inside.
So yes, my pantry is bizarre. I think what it comes down to is this: food is more than just FOOD. These amusing remnants represent sentiments, memories, plans, and possibilities. I just don’t have the heart to toss any of these potential treasures. Who knows when I might come up with the perfect recipe incorporating nutmeg, passionfruit pulp, agave syrup, crystallized ginger, Turkish saffron, and Grecian sea salt?
What’s in your pantry?