Saturday, July 20, 2019
Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Preparing for a long term emergency, Part 3
When I have read websites about stocking up, most of the time they begin with the subject of baking supplies, especially bread making. Perhaps because bread used to be the staff of life and still is for most cultures. Most of the WWII generation women I knew served bread with every meal, even if it was just store bought sliced bread on a plate.
I think good bread is still an essential part of the diet even if I have many friends needing gluten free products these days. (My keto friends can skip this post.) Of course, it does not have to be in the form of a beautiful yeast bread loaf. Once again, we need to look at history and other cultures for ideas.
For instance, my Southern friends grew up with homemade biscuits at many meals. My mother worked full time so we had biscuits from the tin but that was fine, too. Cornbread has long been a staple for many cultures. It was considered poor people's bread at the time of the American Revolution but not anymore!
Personally, I love naan with any recipe originating in India and will always be grateful to generations of Mexican grandmothers for the gift of tortillas. I used to make Indian Fry Bread a lot, which I believe is the same or similar to Canadian bannock. All of the breads from biscuits to bannock are easy to make and master. Although I've never been able to make tortillas but they are inexpensive and great pantry additions since they have a long shelf life.
I say all of the above for the simple reason that one does not need to know how to make yeast breads to feed their family. I enjoy making yeast bread although these days I use the dough cycle of the bread machine and if you enjoy it, then like anything the more you make it, the better you become. But you can also whip together biscuits, cornbread, etc. quickly. Added: I forgot Irish soda bread and the scones of Great Britain.
Bread was not only nutritious but it filled hungry bellies, much like pasta and rice were served at most meals in other cultures. Bread can also be the vehicle for other food such as say... peanut butter and jelly. So consider me the advocate for bread as I appear before the judge and plead the case for keeping bread making products in the pantry.
I consider the ingredients for cakes, cookies, etc. important in the pantry for a few reasons. First, I found when we were going through serious trials that just getting into the kitchen and baking anything soothed my tension since I like to bake. Perhaps it is the concentration and precision needed for baking that does it? I'm not sure...
I saw Mary Berry on a repeat of a Masterclass episode recently and she told Paul that even today, if she has had a difficult day at work she enjoys baking something in her kitchen when she arrives home. Considering she is eighty-four years old, that is amazing... but I fully understand. Just not the baking after a long day part of it.
Second, when favorite baked goods are served I find it makes most people automatically happy. When we are going through a long term crisis, whether it is being out of work or something weather related, or God forbid wars and rumors of wars... being able to bring a smile to someone's face is a good thing.
Third, and kind of related to second... we want to be able to celebrate important events as usual when going through a crisis. Being able to make a birthday cake, Christmas cookies, etc. will bring a sense of normality to the lives of those you care for.
Fourth, I see baking quite often as a form of ministry. Whether taking a cake to a friend, a warm loaf of bread to a neighbor, or plates of cookies to a homeless shelter... the Bible tells us even giving a cup of cold water in Jesus' name will be rewarded. Never underestimate the ministry of cookies!
That's also why I still keep a drawer with pretty cupcake liners, toppers, birthday candles, Holiday pretties, festive paper plates, etc. to have on hand should the occasion arise. You know, those items that turn a simple cake into a party! I've bought a few items at Goodwill that were never opened but most of what I have was purchased after Holidays for as much as a 90% off discount. I will accept 50% off, though. ;)
So why did I go through a long essay before giving lists of food items I keep on hand in the pantry? Just to explain why I think it is important to do so, even if you no longer bake a lot. We just stock the pantry differently when there are a lot of people around compared to only one or two with the occasional guests.
So now I will give the lists of what I like in the pantry for baking purposes. I don't always have everything but I do have most items. I very if I have yellow cake mix or a really good brownie mix on hand. Otherwise, I try to keep the basics and add what I need to the grocery list before I run out of the minimum amount I keep.
One important thing I have learned over the years is to not only check expiration dates a couple times a year on items where that is very important but to also check them at the grocery store! Honestly, I have checked the expiration dates of baking powder tins at the store and found a difference of a year on the containers.
Oh... another important thought (while I'm still pondering baking and such). I have found that knowledge can be just as important as stocking up. I think it was Laine (Laine's Letters) who wrote about how glad she was that she had taken a cake decorating class. That one class and practicing the skill had saved her a lot of money over the years and provided a creative outlet as she baked and decorated her own cakes.
I know there are some of these items you can make yourself but I'm just making the assumption most people will purchase them. There are also other products but these are what I use off and on.
All Purpose Flour
Whole Wheat Flour (unless you grind your own wheat)
Non GMO Corn Meal
Other flours needed for your specific diet and recipes
Brown Sugar (light and dark if you use it)
Turbinado sugar like Sugar in the Raw
Sanding Sugar (the kind you sprinkle on for glitter)
Maple Sugar (maple syrup boiled down to sugar form)
Sorghum (I grew up eating it, Hubby hates it)
Karo Corn Syrup (not high fructose corn syrup!)
Maple Syrup (the real stuff)
Kosher Sea Salt or just Kosher Salt
Fine Sea Salt (for baking and the salt shaker)
Maldon Sea Salt (flaky, used as a finishing salt sprinkled on items)
Cocoa Powder (I use good old Hershey's)
Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate
German Chocolate (necessary for the cake by the same name)
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Milk Chocolate Chips (Ghiradelli if you can find it)
White Chocolate Chips (some recipes call for them)
Dark Chocolate Bars (to nibble when I need a small sweet)
I have also stocked cinnamon chips, mint chips, and other flavors.
Cream of Tartar
Nutmeg (I use whole nutmeg and grind it on the Microplane)
Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice
Cardamom (I use the ground kind)
Coriander (I have bought it ground and the whole seeds)
Yeast (I buy the jars these days and keep one in the frig after opening)
Buttermilk Powder (keep in frig after opening for long shelf life)
Powdered Milk (ditto if you don't use it fast)
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Canola Oil or Vegetable Oil
Crisco (I always buy the bars these days for convenience, a must have for a few recipes.)
Coconut Oil (Should that be your oil of choice.)
Pam or other nonstick cooking spray
Various dried fruit like dried cranberries, cherries, etc. (I don't like raisins so I do almost always substitute dried cranberries instead.)
Various nuts like pecans, walnuts, etc.
Applesauce (used in some baking recipes)
Cake Mix (especially yellow cake and angel food cake) Watch expiration dates!
Brownie Mix (my son likes a particular brand more than my homemade) Watch expiration dates!
Frig and Freezer
Butter (I slip a couple pounds in each Ziploc bag to protect it further for freezing. Freezes very well!)
Sour Cream and/or a good quality Greek yogurt (I like Chobani Whole Milk Plain Greek Yogurt)
Frozen blueberries and other frozen fruit
Cranberries (Purchased in Fall, and two or three bags slipped into each Zipoc bag for extra protection.)
I also keep on hand a variety of storage containers. Those shown in the photo are wide mouth half gallon canning jars with the CUTEST lids I recently found while searching for a different lid on Amazon. I plan to get another set of lids for Christmas food gifting, won't they look festive? They do not replace actual canning lids for processing, they are lids that screw on and off for storage.
Mentioned in this Blog Post
My favorite fry bread recipe... here.
Here are the links to those pretty red jar lids.
Kook wide mouth red metal canning jar lids (for storage, not canning)... here.
Kook regular red metal canning jar lids (for storage, not canning)... here.
Below are the white plastic lids I was actually looking for. I like to use them a lot of ways but especially on items when I don't use metal. For instance, I keep salt in a few pint or half pint jars and salt corrodes metal lids.
Ball white plastic wide mouth screw on canning jar lids for storage... here.
Ball white plastic regular mouth screw on canning jar lids for storage... here.
Disclaimer: Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.