Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Hospitality Pantry and more about the Cold & Flu Pantry

Homemade chicken noodle soup

Both of these items are called "pantry" only because that is where I used to keep them. When I had a separate room that is. Each were in individual see-through Rubbermaid type containers.

The most important reason for keeping these in their own containers was... keeping them from hungry people instead of critters. :) Since I am in a much smaller house, I don't have them in the containers but I do still keep the items all together as much as possible.

The Hospitality Pantry

I didn't come up with this idea, it was actually from a book I read a long time ago. I did, however, make the decision to keep such a pantry after having people stop by my house when we lived "in town" and I had nothing to offer.

At the least, I always try to have a couple packages of cookies in the pantry. Not just any cookies but really good quality like Pepperidge Farm (purchased only when they are on sale, of course). There is a reason I like to keep these cookies in the Hospitality Pantry. Since they would be quite expensive for me to replace, I stay away from them. If calories and carbs can't keep me away, the thought of spending money definitely works.

I keep Country Time Lemonade mix in the pantry. I just purchased three containers when Kroger had them for 99 cents each (limit 3). I have never had a complaint even though it is a mix. One could keep frozen concentrate in the freezer, too.

Since I had written a Hospitality Pantry post long ago, I thought I'd just repeat the list I had back then, it is the same today. This list is offered only to encourage your creativity. I'm certain you can think of more items! I usually have in the Hospitality Pantry:

Coffee & Tea items
(the small packets sold at the grocery store and coffee shops are perfect for this. Be certain to have on hand at least one packet regular coffee, one decaf, and perhaps a flavored coffee). I keep these even though I normally have coffee on the shelf. Of course, you can store an unopened can of coffee or unopened bag of beans. If you only store one, make it decaf.

(I always have teas on the shelf but I like to keep one or two boxes of Bigelow teas in this pantry. One box of a black tea like Earl Grey and one box of an herbal tea. Bigelow is best for a pantry because they are individually wrapped in foil and last for a very long time.)

Other beverages as desired: hot chocolate mix (purchased or homemade), lemonade mix for hot weather (as mentioned above), etc. Remember, we are assuming "last minute" preparations.

Artificial sugar packets (I prefer Splenda) for those who cannot have regular sugar.

One or two cans of a good quality evaporated milk to use as cream for coffee. I like Milnot for this purpose. It tastes just as good as cream. This is where quality is important. I use store brands of evaporated milk for cooking but they don't make a good tasting "cream" for coffee.

Something to munch...

Packaged or frozen cookies (as mentioned above), muffins or other baked goods from the freezer.

Animal crackers or vanilla wafers for small children are nice to have on hand.

Various chips, salsa, cheeses, a bag of baby carrots... those things you may have on your pantry and refrigerator already that can be pulled together when someone stops by.

To "deepen" your Hospitality are a few extra ideas:

A jar of Devonshire cream (expensive so I don't keep this on hand... but good)
Very good quality jam
Scone mix (usually very easy and quick but can be rather expensive)
Fancy crackers
Can of good quality canned chicken, small jar of Mayo, small jar of relish
--instant chicken salad for the crackers
Other convenience items you may find along the way

The Cold & Flu Pantry

I mentioned this in another post but I thought I'd be more specific. I cannot tell you how many times having this particular "pantry" saved the day! Here are some of the items I still keep in that area of my pantry, you will most likely have your own preferences.

Organic chicken stock (one of the few times I still would buy organic)
Large cans of Campbell's chicken noodle soup (or your preferred brand)
Smaller cans of Progresso soups (for individual servings)

Various crackers... I like to keep a bag or two of the little oyster crackers for this purpose, less cracker mess... especially with kids... and teenagers... and husbands when they are sick.

Cheerios or similar cereal (most likely poured into a bowl but eaten dry)

A few cans of pears or other easy to digest fruit

I used to keep extra boxes of cough syrup with expectorant, cough drops, Tylenol, Excedrin, Traditional Medicinal Teas, etc. in the actual container. Have you ever had to make a middle of the night run for these items? Of course, there must be extra boxes of tissues whether located here or where you keep your "paper" items or someone will walk in the door and find a roll of TP on your coffee table. Do not ask me how I know.

Hopefully these suggestions will help those who asked. I hope they work as a jumping off point for your own creativity! :)


Marye said...

I just tagged you for a meme on baking delights... :)

~~Deby said...

oh these suggestions are so good...
thank you...I know the time these must take to post...
They and you are appreciated.

Crossroads Cottage said...

What great ideas. I especially like your hospitality pantry idea. I never seem to have food in the house when unexpectant visitors stop by. All I need now is a bigger house (and a 2nd Fridge) to store all of these items. :-)

Quinne said...

Hi Brenda :) What a neat idea! I love that both of these ideas have serving others at heart. Sending hugs today... Love, Q

Firefly Nights said...

The hospitality pantry is a wonderful idea. Kind of like the food version of the gift stash that I have for when I unexpectedly need to come up with a gift for someone.

Anonymous said...

Have you read this story its interesting.

nancyr said...

I'm reading this post in the fall, not exactly lemonade season, but I wanted to share my "recipe" for lemonade, when company arrives.
I keep a large bottle of ReaLemon, (purchased in a two-pack at a warehouse store) in the refrigerator. One-half cup of ReaLemon, sugar and water makes a pitcher of good lemonade, for little money. One bottle makes many, many pitchers of lemonade.