Saturday, December 01, 2012
Saturday Pantry Suggestions
When the government used to hand out civil defense pamphlets about preparing for emergencies, pre-Katrina they stated that every family should have three days worth of food and water stored. (No, really... three days is sufficient... or so they said.)
After Katrina I read an article where they suggested three weeks of food, water and essential supplies (and one government article went as far to say it would be a good idea to have three months worth put back). Experience seems to be the best teacher...
However, right now it is Christmas and rather chilly outside. It has been downright freezing so a mild chill is fine with me. Last night hubby was out back mending fences... literally... while I was fixing dinner. I was thinking how nice it would be to surprise him with something special when I remembered the extra Pillsbury pie crust left over from Thanksgiving (okay, so I cheat) and the apples in the cold garage. Hmmm... dutch apple pie!
It didn't take long at all to whip up the pie and place it in the oven when the potatoes were finished baking. He didn't know a pie was in the oven until he was watching Chicago Tribune Live and saw me take it out to the cold garage to chill quickly. :)
That's what I love about keeping a good pantry. Of course, I know how to make pie crust if I didn't have the Pillsbury handy but that certainly made it possible to prepare the pie in the time it took to peel and slice the apples.
The deeper the pantry, the more creative the cook can become. My essentials have changed through the years. For instance, I like to keep a bottle of Thai peanut sauce in the pantry... or the ingredients to make it when I think ahead... and I'd never heard of it as a young wife. Half a package of angel hair or thin pasta, some of the peanut sauce, and perhaps leftover chicken... yum.
But during the Holidays, I must admit the stars of the pantry are butter, flour, eggs, and sugars (white, light brown, dark brown, confectioners (icing) sugar, molasses, honey, corn syrup, Sugar in the Raw, and Splenda for my coffee)... all in the pantry along with spices, extracts, various chips and dried fruit. It's enough to raise my blood sugar just thinking of them.
I've decided to make candy as gifts this year so I will be perusing favorite recipes this week for necessary items to add to the pantry such as dipping chocolate and pecans. While I do own a candy thermometer, most of my favorite recipes don't require using it.
Can't you just imagine mother or grandmother in the kitchen this time of year baking and candy making for their loved ones? :)
What says love better than a sugar high? Well, a really lovely loaf of Challah perhaps, or honey walnut bread, or the ever popular (at least in my house) orange cranberry bread.
I don't know anyone who would not love a loaf of homemade bread during the Holidays and if it is accompanied by homemade soup... all the better. So few people make their own bread or soup so what may seem plebeian to me is downright gourmet comfort food to my friend. I make bread and soup and I LOVE it when my friend, Sheila, "shares her leftovers" with me.
While I'm thinking of Christmas, pantry items make wonderful gifts. One of our dear friends gave Stephanie a gift of various gourmet sauces (and oils?) as a wedding gift. She thoroughly enjoyed trying them.
I've had fun finding articles I think may interest you. Some are from survivalists and prepper sites, others from homesteaders, etc. All have good information for deepening the pantry or simply will get us thinking. :)
Backwoods Home magazine has been a favorite of mine for years (even though I don't stock ammo or such... it still has great information and writers for everyone). A really good article about barter items is... here.
He reminds us that stocking up on important items is a good preventative against hyperinflation, too... although I'd stock chocolate instead of bullets. My neighbors are all hunters. :)
I was really excited to read this article you will find... here, which is a survivalist site. Don't let that scare you away! The writer talks about the most common mistakes people do when they are (what I call) really, really deepening the pantry.
I've seen and heard of people making these very mistakes and I agree wholeheartedly. Some of what he talks about, I've already mentioned here but his expertise is far beyond mine.