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Skeletons in the Pantry

We have company coming so naturally I am spending my time wisely by… cleaning out our pantry.  Our pantry is one of the things I hate about our house, but didn’t realize I hated until after we got married and had children.  The house we rented in California had a kitchen so small that you literally had to step outside of the kitchen into the front hallway to open the oven door – there was no room for the door and a human being because the sink was directly opposite the oven.  So when we — then an engaged couple who worked all the time and mostly ate out –saw a normal-sized kitchen where we could practically perform our entire wedding dance in the middle of our kitchen, pantry space wasn’t really first and foremost in our minds.

Until all those All Clad pans from our registry started arriving, as well as those mortgage bills.  Then we started cooking at home more. And then we started having babies.  And a family of four takes up a lot of pantry space.  And this is a woefully inadequate little closet to try to maintain a well-stocked pantry for a family of four.

woefully inadequate pantry

woefully inadequate pantry

Every time family comes to visit, I decide it is time to reorganize the pantry because although I have a system to try to keep our tiny closet organized, despite explanations and labels, my logic seems to be completely foreign to my family, specifically to JavaDad.  I understand, it involves very complex concepts like putting cans of soups in a plastic bin labeled “SOUPS” and packages of rice in a bin that says “RICE.”  It also involve putting all the boxes of plastic Ziploc bags, tin foils, etc. in a single basket so we don’t keep re-buying it and purchase more than we could possibly use in a year and stuff some in each shelf of our small pantry, but, you know, it’s rocket science.

chocolate packet

mysterious chocolate packet

So I am spending some time today putting everything back in place, shuddering at some of the items that have worked their way into our pantry, wondering when I thought I was going to make all that risotto and how we can manage to have items two years past their expiration date, and then I ran across this.  A mysterious white packet simply labeled CHOCOLATE.  No date, no instructions, no further information.  It almost looks as if it were part of a multi-ingredient cake mix or something, but why would I just have this?  Would I have made something and left out the chocolate? Why?  I don’t recall making something and thinking, ‘Hmm, this just doesn’t taste right, almost as if it were missing SOME CHOCOLATE?”  Normally I would just toss this packet, but it is driving my Type A mind a bit nuts not to know what this went with. I don’t think it is hot chocolate b/c surely it would’ve had instructions printed on it right? I’d love your theories.

While my mind is spinning on that, I am also looking at what is in our pantry and thinking how someone would judge us based on it. We’ve slipped into far too many convenience foods. Between the many nighttime meetings I’ve had this year and the fact that I’ve been fatigued a lot (recently discovered I have mono!) I can see why we’ve slipped in this direction. Nothing like having family about to stay in your house to make you have a frank look at your pantry choices. Now some people might hide the fact they’ve become gastronomically lazy and go restock their pantry with better choices before family arrives but I just take photos and blog about it because that’s the kind of girl I am. Now about that grocery list…

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  1. I’m totally the same way and am glad to know that I’m not alone in the shame and then OCD that can come with a complete mess! You should donate your extra food if it’s still usable though!

  2. Love this post! It always surprises me when I clean out my cabinets and find canned food that has been expired for four years, because that means I must have had it for a looooong time.

    As for the chocolate, I think you’re right about it being part of a cake mix, but who in their right mind doesn’t use the packet of chocolate on their cake? That’s INSANE.