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January 25, 2008


Zmrzlina in Pittsburgh

Wow! I keep meaning to create a pantry list just like this, and never get around to it. Thank you!


I found myself wondering what the difference is between a pantry and a larder. My favourite Chambers Dictionary says that a pantry is a room or closet for provisions and table furnishings, where plates, knives etc are cleaned, from the Fr 'paneterie', a place where bread is distributed. Bread eh? And a larder is a place where meat etc is kept from O Fr 'lardier' - a bacon tub. I always thought of a pantry as being cool, but a larder as being cold, both with marble shelves and flagstones, but sometimes a larder is below ground. I once lived in a Georgian farmhouse and was fascinated to see the way these rooms were arranged on the north side of the house, away from the sun.


Love your blog site ! So wonderful and I will be trying the pistachio thumbprints. I am so happy to see fellow Pennsylvania-ian blogging with such talent and finesse ! Kudos. I'll be back.


You're right, a pantry that's been well-stocked over time is a major investment. All those little bottles of spices alone are a fortune.

Your list is very close to mine (which of course makes me think that yours is remarkably complete). In addition to fresh parsley and cilantro, I also usually have fresh thyme in the fridge. I also generally have jasmine rice as well as basmati rice in the cupboard. As much as I love basmati rice, it doesn't seem to work as well as jasmine rice in Asian leaning meals.

I also try to always keep frozen artichokes and frozen shrimp in the freezer, both of which, but the shrimp especially, are often part of last minute pasta meals.

And I like to keep cream in the fridge. And miso.

Lynn D.

I'm partial to unseasoned rice wine vinegar and use it all the time. (I also have ume plum and Chinese black rice vinegar in the pantry. I'm with Julie on the jasmine rice, parsley, cilantro and miso. Do you have a problem with expiration dates? I sometimes keep dried beans around too long and then they don't cook up well. I also find little unmarked bags of grains, etc. from the health food store and can't remember what they are. I don't bake very much and have found expired cans of baking powder and soda that I haven't even opened yet! I just bought some French sea salt at Trader Joe's and it has an expiration date of 12/09. Salt? Come on! I'm actually trying to downsize my pantry.


Thanks Zmrzlina- what part of Pgh do you live in?
June- I believe you have it straight on the pantry/larder development. Some people here still have a "root cellar" as well.
But "pantry" has just come to mean-I think- the unrefrigerated food storage area, at least here. And I don't know anyone who would say they have a "larder"-probably because what would have been in a larder, is in a fridge now.
Imagine- a Georgian farmhouse! I am deeply envious.
Julie- I just plain forgot the parsley and cilantro, which I always have too. I've got a pot of thyme on the porch that usually makes it through the winter.I also keep shrimp in the freezer, along with, usually some home-made stock, and I'd have the frozen artichoke bottoms- if I could find them!
Lynn- I keep the plain rice vinegar around, too, but not the miso- In fact, I'm not sure I've ever used it- clearly an oversight on my part- one of you should tell me what to do with it!
I'm sure I've got some spices that should be tossed- maybe we should date them when we buy them?


Most off all that, plus:
Asian stuff: toasted sesame oil, coconut milk, bamboo shoots, fresh ginger, peanut butter for peanut sauce, pickled ginger, Japanese plum paste
Morning mood enhancers: honey and half and half for tea (Taylors of Harrogate)
In the fridge: almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, olives, dried fruit, Better than Bouillon chicken base
In the freezer: U-pick blueberries, strawberries, Boysenberries, Marionberries, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, unsweetened coconut
Among other things...


Long time lurker here; I've been reading your blog quite regularly and love it. This list is invaluable to me; I am trying to build up a well-stocked pantry. I'm good at baking supplies, but not doing so well at the spices, extra-long-keeping-goodies, or even half of the fridge things! I am very happy to see from a previous poster that you can freeze kaffir lime leaves--do you just toss them in a ziplock?--and regarding miso, I think you could use it in place of your small boxed fish stock in many recipes. Also, I too used to have little plastic bags of unmarked bulk spices and/or flours and it drove me crazy. Now when I buy anything in bulk, I write on the twist-tie what it is and when I bought it. Helps enormously.

Farmgirl Susan

I'm loving your Basic Kitchen series, Lindy. I, too, enjoy these kinds of lists, though I can't believe how many of your items are not in my large pantry! One thing I immediately noticed was missing from your Basic Long Keeping section was brown sugar - preferably cane of course.

And getting back to you from ages ago re the clothesline dilemma. (Sorry for the delay.) I was wondering if maybe one of those retractable clotheslines might be an option? Then the neighbor girls wouldn't have to stare at that unsightly rope all the time! ; )


Thank you, aarwenn- good idea about the twist-ties.
ah, Susan, that's right, brown sugar. And that reminds me-I always have molasses, too. Re clotheslines: the problem with the retractible line idea is that there is really no place close enough to attach the hook-on end. One side could be on the house, but there's no back fence on the deck- just a grassy hill- no poles either!


I often think about something along these lines, perhaps coupled with your long-ago post on desert island staples. I posit a situation where I have to start absolutely from scratch and have a given amount each week to spend on food. What would I buy first (lentils, I reckon, would be the first item on the first week's list), and what would I add on each week, and how long would it take me to get to a reasonably stocked pantry. Naturally -- because the problem is so far removed from my actual circumstances -- I like to couple it with considerations of what I could grow or otherwise husband myself. I imagine that I could make a year's worth of regular and smoked paprika every summer, for example. The variations on this game are endless (what if, for example, I live by the sea?), and they're all fun.

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