I have a great pantry. I think it was at the moment I saw the pantry that I immediately called dh and told him to come home from work because I was going to make an offer on a house. ;-) A little alarming to dh since we were already in the process of buying a different house! LOL! (It was a much smaller house with no yard and lousy location but it a an awesome kitchen. Newly redone, the appliances still had the stickers on them and it had a great island. ::sigh:: No pantry though.) We got out of that deal and bought our dream home. A hundred and twenty year old farm house with a couple of acres, surrounded by farmland and a big, old, red barn. The yard if full of really great trees; some as old as the house. There's a grape arbor out back and room for a big garden plus plenty of room for the kids and dogs to run and play. At some point during the 1970's, the owner's did some remodeling and added a big, open kitchen, a huge laundry room (with a huge chest freezer) and a large full bath off the back of the house. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me!) they were clueless about insulating the bathroom and the pipes kept freezing. Rather than fix that problem, they just ripped out the fixtures and turned the space into a pantry. :-)
It's great. Huge. We even joked about turning it into a bedroom for ds. Lots of shelves. I remember how empty it looked when we first moved in after living in small houses and apartments. Why is it that you always expand to fill the space, no matter how hard you try not to? I suppose that back when we moved in, we only had one child. Now we have four and two of those are teenage boys. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that we need lots of food! As a stay-at-home mom, I try to save money when I can. My pantry lets me stock up whenever I find a good deal. It also lets me keep plenty of staples on hand to throw together quick meals. Rachael Ray's Smoky Black Bean and Rice Stoup is a great pantry meal. Bean and Bacon Soup from from Cooking Light Magazine is another. Jambalaya Pasta is another family favorite that I can usually throw together on a moment's notice.
I have a problem. I know I have a problem but I can't seem to do anything about it. I'm helpless in the face of this addiction. I simply *have* to buy unusual and weird food items. I had once cashier at our local grocery store tell me she loved it when I came through her line because I always had stuff in my order that she'd never seen before. ;-) I try to pick up a new type of produce to try each week. I always have to pick up a different variety of pasta. Right now I have the usual: penne, spaghetti, macaroni. But I also have farfalle, ricetti, sconcigli, bucatini, pappardelle and a whole bunch of smaller pasta shapes that I use in soups. I "collect" things that sound like they'd make interesting dishes: sun-dried tomato pesto, basil garlic polenta, vindaloo paste, wasabi, pigeon peas and hominy. Show me an Asian market or a Mexican bodega and I'm happy for hours. I'm counting down the days till our local farmer's market starts back up. :-)Spending all that time dusting and scrubbing and re-organizing gave me way too much time to think. (Often dangerous!) And now I have a new plan. Each week I'm going to pull one unusual ingredient from my pantry or spice rack (another addiction I'll blog about later), find a way to use it and blog about the results: Pantry Parade.
What unusual, weird or unique things do you have in your pantry?