Monday, May 27, 2013

If My Pantry Could Talk: A Plea for More Adventurous Cooking

Psst…Hey Tam? 

Look down here.  
It’s me – your buddy -- the King Arthur white flour you picked up in Queens.

Yeah, well the other folks in The Pantry asked me to talk to you. They figure since we spend so much time together, maybe I would send up a word about their grievances. See, some of the members of the Cupboard Cabal, they’re kinda’ mad that you’ve been neglecting them. Given my royal status and my Familial role, they figure I might have some unique persuasion abilities.

My regular buds, the sugar and salt, they’re pretty content, ‘cause they see lots of action, what with the cookies and quiche doughs you’re always bangin’ out. But the other guys – the flax and the wheat germ that you picked up at the health food store when you went through that clean-eating-earth-mother phase? – Yeah, those guys aren’t too pleased about how long it’s been since they’ve come in contact with the flat end of a spatula. They’re callin’ in favors from the cumin and cayenne pepper, who are threatenin’ to stink bomb some of the milder folks down here just to get some attention.

But those health nuts aren’t the only ones complaining. Perhaps you forgot about that Sicilian pasta you brought back from your honeymoon 15 YEARS AGO? Those babies are hatching third and fourth generations of angry creatures by now, and you’d never know it. But down here, Tam, down here it’s different. We get to witness the revolution up close. I think you need to take a look for yourself.

Meanwhile, the barley and bulgur brothers are super-pissed that the MOTH’s got this new thing for kasha. Why’s he playing favorites all of sudden? What’s so great about kasha, anyway? Would it kill him to spread the love?

You don’t have to worry much about the passive resisters, like the dried mung beans and organic ginger root. They’re more patient. After all, they haven’t gotten heated up since you were off with that Indian professor discussing the global impact of Gandhi’s underwear three years ago. So those guys are just hangin’ out, biding their time.

I’m not saying fuggedabout ‘em completely, just that you got to get your more urgent mise en place, if you know what I mean.

So do me a favor, wouldja? Just show my guys a little love. Take the spaetzel out for a spin. Let the star anise have her day in the steamer with the jasmine rice. I know it takes extra effort to find an actual recipe, and even more effort to convince the kids that weird food is fun. 
But please, for the sake of peace in the Family, would you do it for me? It sure would get this pantry posse off my back.

So tell me, what ingredients are crying out for love in your pantry? Here’s a partial list of eternally neglected items in mine. If you know how to use any of these ingredients to actually build a meal, I’m all ears.
  • Bolivian Red Quinoa
  • Hawaiian Red Sea Salt
  • Ground vanilla bean/salt infusion from Washington
  • Jar of “homemade” Polish beetroots; label in Polish
  • Bateel date mustard from Dubai
  • Trahanas sweet Greek home made pasta (expiration date: 3/11)


  1. Soooooo clever and cute, laughed aloud while reading it!

    1. Thanks. You're not the beetroot source, are you? That would be embarrassing.

  2. First of all - congrats for making it into the Blog Her anthology/ collection. That's wonderful!

    Secondly, there are a sea of flours and spices in my pantry fighting for attention. If I shut the doors really quickly, I don't have to hear their cries.

    1. Thanks Cher. I'm so honored and thrilled to be included among some of my favorite bloggers in this book.

      Beware the flours and spices -- it's like the tell tale heart. Sooner or later their rumblings will drive you mad.

  3. Oh, all of my Indian spices are just begging to be used again!

    1. Yes, mine too, but I've lost my confidence. I really need to spend more time here:

      Let me know if you conquer some of Monica's dishes, and which ones you like best. Maybe we can inspire each other.


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