12. May 2024 · 4 comments · Categories: Domestic

It’s one of those things that came upon us in the last few years – what with periods of erratic employment, residence in Utah where the LDS practice is to keep a couple of years supply of foodstuffs on hand, the occasional natural disaster, the Covidiocy and the Great Texas Snowmagedden, and a certain primal fear that I don’t know where it came from – we have kept an insanely well-stocked pantry, and a full-to the brim freezer in the garage. For emergencies, you know. My daughter cannot turn down a tempting bargain on the ‘remainder’ shelves at the local grocery store, and I have memories of being overseas at the end of a very long resupply chain. I certainly didn’t grow up with this; Mom routinely finished out the day of Dad’s paycheck being deposited with a couple of cans of tuna and a half-empty bottle of Worcestershire Sauce in the pantry. Although the paternal grandparents did have several years’ worth of canned goods in their garage, and vivid memories of the Depression and WWII rationing… so maybe this impulse skipped a generation.

My daughter and I both dream mad dreams of a walk-in pantry, with floor to ceiling shelves, drawers and bins, all neatly organized, and all the foodstuffs in air-tight containers and neatly labeled, readily accessible. My daughter may yet achieve this dream, but at the moment, the pantry is a small square closet about the size of an old-fashioned telephone booth – that, and the front hall closet, which is about the same dimensions. Both are stacked to the brim with canned goods and shelf-stable things like canned tomatoes and tomato sauce, rice, dried beans, flour, sugar and pastas. One is fitted out with shelves (all densely packed), the other is stacked with tubs. So, today we tackled the closet with tubs. The tubs had been packed rather randomly; a lot of stuff jumbled together. Today, we repacked the tubs: all the rice in one, dried beans in another, assorted pastas in a third, flour, sugar and semolina in a fourth, and all the tomato and tomato sauce in one on top of the Tetris-style stack. We had kind of forgotten how many packages of spaghetti we had stashed away – much of it the really good, imported stuff. (Bought on sale, of course. What, do we look like we are related to the Rockefellers or the Gettys?) You see, an important element in keeping a full pantry is to rotate stuff, not stash it away for years and forget about it all. I’m pretty certain that the oldest stuff in the grandparent’s garage had to be thrown away, through being dangerously outdated. At least now, I can look at the tubs in the closet, and know what is there …

We really ought to start eating those Corsicana fruitcakes, though. Bought at half price, after last Christmas.

We LIKE fruitcake. Got a problem with that?


  1. Not at all. I like fruitcake, too.

    Pity that my wife doesn’t, and neither of my daughters will eat more than a small amount. If I bake, I need to give almost all away, and if I buy one, it better be the smallest available size since I’ll be the only one eating it.

    Keeping supplies at hand, in general, is an intersection of upbringing and available storage. I tend to lean towards “buy it if it’s on sale and will keep” school, but I grew up on a ranch lots of storage space and a freezer that could hold an entire butchered steer with plenty of room left over.

    My wife is a good value shopper, but she grew up in a Hong Kong apartment with no storage to speak of but shops just a few flights of stairs away. She’s been in the US most of her adult life so she’s adjusted to buying Costco sized quantities of things like paper towels and some dry goods, but her threshold of “enough” is a LOT lower than mine.

    To be fair, our day-to-day diet is skewed far more towards fresh fruits and veggies than what I grew up with, and you really can’t stockpile those.

    • True – about the space available and the distance from town – my parents eventually moved way out into the far country, and it was a once-a week, or once-a-fortnight trip into town to stock up at Costco and Meijor Market.

  2. I’m not a fruitcake fan. My grandmother had a white fruitcake recipe that was generally liked, but I was not fond of that one either. I have a recipe somewhere for fruitcake cookies made with crumbled leftover fruitcake added to a cookie batter base, if you should ever wish to try it.

    • Well, if you find it – post it here, and I’ll pass it around! It sounds interesting, at the very least.

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