Pantry inventories


ďYes or no: Do you have Byrne Dairy chocolate milk in your fridge right now?Ē

A few months ago, I pulled up a recipe that Terry and I had been thinking about trying.


One of the ingredients was cardamom.

At the time, this got me started on a run of thoughts involving the things we never readily have on hand. Things like cardamomóbecause, sureóand also cream of tartar and so on. The idea being items we have all heard about, might pause for a moment because we think we do have it, but often donít readily find immediately on hand. Itís not like running out of juice or eggsóassorted staples of your kitchenóbut itís also not something completely out of the question that youíve never heard of previously.

The recent holidays had me visiting with my mother. As I think I may have shared before, her kitchen is a marvel. Itís just the two of them in that house, Mom and Dad, and yet somehow just in with the baking products you can find multiple types of chocolate chips, any kind of flour you might imagine, a wide variety of nuts, and so on. (And, itís probably obvious, youíll find cream of tartar. Seriously, does anyone else have a minimum of three types of flour regularly within armís reach?)

The general idea of confusion for me though was based on need. My guess is that most of us might have one recipe that uses cardamom or cream of tartar that we are familiar with and possibly even use on occasion. Maybe two. More likely though, none. And in turn, I wonder about kitchens where certain items would be readily available.

Have you ever moved? If so, when cleaning out the pantry, how many cans stunned you? Was it the can of sauerkraut? (Iíll bet it was. You donít even eat sauerkraut. How on earth did a can of it get into your kitchen?) Maybe you had a great reason for buying the jar of pimientos or can of asparagus, even though the cans you discovered in the corner of the cupboard had best buy dates that were passed more than two years ago.

Cardamom got me thinking. I never use Herbes de Provence, have no clue what it blends, but there it is. Came with the spice rack and containers, I think. Still, we have it, but no cream of tartar.

A couple of days ago though, I found a slight twist in the logic. I stopped in Byrne Dairy to pick up some chocolate milk. And instead of what items I donít have but would find strange I donít have, I began wondering about all of the items that we usually have that others might find strange.

Those of us familiar with the treat will patiently explain to you that there is absolutely nothing like Byrne Dairy chocolate milk. Weíll also go to great lengths to stress that the purchase of it in the glass bottle is simply beyond measure the way to go. Brilliant stuff. Heck, if weíre in the region where itís sold, if we donít have it, the thought will create a craving and weíll head out to buy some right then and there for all of us to enjoy.

And yet, some people have never even heard of this delicious offering. SureÖ sureÖ chocolate milk. You think you know. You donít. Until youíve had Byrne Dairy chocolate milk, you donít know.

Expand the thought. Many of us donít stock salsa as a condimentÖ never mind as an every day condimentÖ never mind having all of the fresh ingredients on hand to make it from scratch (and quickly produce something better than most of us will ever have the joy of tasting).

Heading home on that day with two half-gallon bottles of chocolate milk, the debate was on. Maybe it was a regional thingÖ maybe a family recipeÖ but there were definitely items that would seem normal and routine and even necessary in my kitchen that for others would be the rough equivalent of canned sauerkraut.

I asked the question to start this essay as a bit of setting the scene, but yes, I do have some Byrne Dairy chocolate milk in my fridge right now. It isnít there all the time, but more often than not, yes. We also have a can of brown bread on a shelf. (Iím pretty sure, and now that thought has me wondering about it, baked beans and some hot dogs later this week.). Thereís a jar of roasted red peppers in the fridge. And, there are at least five types of vinegar in a cupboard.

All that said, Iím pretty sure we only have two types of flour.

Whatís in your kitchen?


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