My Pantry

I promise, this is not a how-to post on how to organize a pantry. There are no links to the baskets I purchased or tips on how to organize canned goods—there is nothing pin-worthy here. Rather, I had to post this picture. Because my pantry never looks like this.

I’d like to blame it on the kids. I could blame James (sort of). Every day he finds something new, something a little taller than the day before, to push/drag/pull into the pantry so that he can climb up on top of it and reach for a snack, like gummy treats, at 9:30 in the morning. But mostly, I’m to blame. Shelf too high? Rarely do I pull a chair over in order to put an item on the “right” shelf. (Check out my pantry in a couple weeks. I guarantee there will be many more items on the bottom shelves vs. the top ones.) Late-night grocery run? A glass of wine and a long-ago recorded show sound so much nicer than properly putting things away. Three potato chips left in a bag? Certainly can’t throw it away, especially when tossing it onto (an incorrect) shelf is so much faster.

But I’ve recently been on a bit of doctor-prescribed-steroid high. I’ve decided taking four little pills call prednisone is pretty much equivalent to drinking an entire pot of coffee in the morning. That said, given that the other side effects of this drug include something called moon face (think of your face, as round and puffy as a full moon—lovely, no?), I highly recommend the coffee versus the drug. But because of this short-term high, our house is becoming (a little) more organized. And with that, I’d like to share a short list of questions I asked myself while cleaning the pantry:

1. It’s not like I never clean the pantry. I’d say, maybe, once a year I go through everything, checking expiration dates, throwing things out. So why, every time I do this, do I find things that expired six years and two moves ago?

2. What is liquid smoke? Why do we have it? Where did it come from? And why do I insist on keeping it every time I clean the pantry simply because there’s no expiration date?

3. How is it possible for the hinge inside of the lid of the trash can to get so dirty?

4. Why are Simple Human trash cans so expensive? You’d think for that kind of money it would feature food-resistant hinges.

5. Why, for the past year, have I thought it necessary to keep four almost-empty bags of dried-out brown sugar?

6. Why do we have so many cans of chickpeas?

7. Every December I find it deeply necessary to buy candy canes. Every summer trip to the beach I find it deeply necessary to buy saltwater taffy. It never gets eaten. Ever. And yet I buy it. And store it. Forever.

8. When I look up a new recipe, and buy ingredients for that new recipe, and invariably take too long to make the recipe therefore allowing all the fresh produce the recipe required to go bad, why do I not find new uses for the recipe’s pantry-ingredients? Like cornichons. Seriously. How difficult would it be to find another recipe for cornichons?

9. How in the world did we store all this stuff when we didn’t have a pantry in our old house?

10. How is it possible that, at least once a week, I can open this door, look inside, convince myself there’s nothing to make, that we have nothing, that we have to go to the grocery and that the only thing left to do is pick up Chipotle?

Yum. Chipotle.

(Another steroid side effect? Unbelievable-akin-to-pumping-milk-for-twin-11-month-old-boys hunger.)

“Even the most resourceful housewife cannot create miracles from a rice-less pantry.” —Chinese proverb