So its a lovely summer day, and here I am at home alone. I mowed the grass, pruned some trees, threw in a few loads of wash. I walked the dogs and read for a while.
Its the third full week of summer. I’m running out of things to keep me busy. You know?
So I did what any self-respecting bored middle aged lady would do.
No, I didn’t eat a gallon of ice cream or indulge in a day time martini.
I cleaned out the kitchen cabinets. The ones where I keep my essential ingredients. You know the things that allow me to glance at the clock at 5 and put a delicious meal on the table at 6.
I guess I’m slightly neurotic or something, because I always have enough food on hand to survive a nuclear winter without leaving the house. I have a dozen boxes of various pastas, cans of peeled tomatoes and tomato paste, boxes of broth. I have jasmine rice, brown rice, risotto, couscous, soba noodles, buckwheat noodles, quinoa and bulgur wheat. Who doesn’t have those, right?
But I have some really strange stuff up on those top shelves, too. Like sugar cubes (what?). And oat bran and two cans of evaporated milk. I started to pull everything out so I could see what had been pushed to the back to make room for new stuff. And I found three boxes of jello! Jello?! Seriously? The last time I made jello was probably ten years ago. I grabbed the trash and started tossing. I tossed a lot, lemme tell you.
Some things made me smile. Like the half package of striped birthday candles and the dried up tube of red icing. Memories of the old days, when the kids were still here.
Some things made me grimace. Like the package of Cream of Wheat. Blech. It reminded me of the time we all had strep throat and that was our Christmas dinner.
But a whole bunch of things made me scratch my head and wonder, “Where the heck did this come from?” Like two bags of lentils, one green and one yellow. And the jar of green olive tapenade. And the can of coconut milk.
And then there is my spice cabinet. Yikes! I know that most cooks have sugar and cinnamon and probably some basil and oregano, right? But can other people reach into the cabinet and pull out black peppercorns, green peppercorns, crushed red peppers and ancho pepper flakes? Can other people easily get their hands on turmeric, garam masala, five spice powder, star anise, whole nutmegs, yellow curry, green curry, red curry, cumin, coriander, cilantro and lemongrass? How about red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar? Huh? Sesame oil, corn oil, extra virgin olive oil, peanut oil and red chili oil?
Is it normal to have cream of tartar, corn starch, arrowroot powder, vanilla beans, and four kinds of sugar? I mean, I don’t even bake very often!
Am I crazy for having a cupboard that holds celery seeds, fennel seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and caraway seeds?
I’m a little worried. And I’m left with a few intriguing thoughts about all of this.
First of all, I never knew a person could be a food hoarder, but its clear that I am. Second, I must crave international foods more than I realized. Third, I should be a much better cook than I am.