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Bird's Blog

Poetry, musings, observations, commentary, rants, confessions...and who knows what else!

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Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Teacher, writer, poet, grandmother, lover, wine-drinker, chocolate eater, beach comber, hiker, traveler, Giants fan, San Franciscan. All work on this blog is copyrighted material.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cleaning Out The Pantry

The numbers on the digital clock read


and since I had been tossing and turning, first pulling the comforter up snuggly over my shoulders, then kicking it off to the side – in general – thrashing my bed - since the clock read


I decided to get up.

And tackle the pantry.

I use a tall, white, tower cabinet for a pantry and one shelf in the kitchen cupboard as a supplement. A partial inventory of the two locations netted (along with various containers of rice, beans, couscous, breakfast cereal grains, chicken and vegetable broth, nuts, dried fruits, capers, oils, vinegars, pastas, etc.) the following items:

Four containers of baking powder. One was unopened and had a “use by date” (henceforth to be known as UBD) of January 1999. The other three were opened and in varying degrees of fullness –but only one had a UBD that allowed the can to be placed in the packing box.

Three plastic, bear-shaped bottles of Grade A Clover Honey. One was half empty and the honey had crystallized and changed color. Another appeared to have perhaps a tablespoon or so left, and the third was unopened (with an acceptable UBD).

Assorted spices (turmeric, lemon grass, saffron, cardamom, celery salt, black pepper, table salt, oregano, whole nutmeg, whole cloves, three bottles of ground cinnamon, two of allspice, a full jar of cayenne pepper, half a jar of chili powder). All of these spices possessed UBDs ranging from 1999 to 2002. I tossed ‘em all, of course. The saffron was a loss – it’s very expensive and I had only used a bit of it.

But hiding in the pantry between a bag of flour and a box of confectioner’s sugar, I found a yellowed scrap of paper sporting several light brown stains in varying sizes. Scribbled across the paper in my mother’s hand is her mother’s pie crust recipe. I know the recipe by heart (as do all my mother’s children). My mother has been dead since November 2000 and I really can’t say how the recipe got lost in the pantry. This morning I tucked it into my 1972 edition of “The Joy of Cooking” that my mother gave me. That book is losing its binding, its front and back covers taped over. Inside the front cover scrawls my father’s sparerib marinade recipe, inside the back cover - my mother’s butter cream frosting recipe. I don’t use this cookbook much any more, but hidden within its torn and battered covers are food-stained and dog-eared pages, many with my margin comments revising recipes, doubling the ingredient quantities, noting different baking times depending on the over I used. Here and there are scribbled pictures and crayon markings from my children, who once sat on the kitchen counter, the book next to them, licking wooden spoons slick with cake or cookie batter and adding their notes to mine. Over 30 years of cooking rest between the covers of this one cookbook, given to me by mother when I turned 18 and left home.

The outdated baking powder, honey, and spices were tossed into a plastic garbage bag. The cookbook rests safely in a box marked “KITCHEN.”

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

of rockwell

* wistfulness *


August 10, 2007 9:33 AM  
Blogger Jack K. said...

Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

Sounds like you are putting your time to good use.

You do have an interesting clock, or method of reporting. giggle.

August 10, 2007 10:07 AM  
Blogger boneman said...

oops, too late.
any spice in California is probably good for three times the obd, because y'all have way less humidity there. Here, the date on most things can be cut in half.

As for the Joy of Cooking book.
Good thing to have, actually.
Specially if y'ever decide to cook up some possum. (It's in there, go ahead and look.)
Still, it sounds more like you'de have kept it even if you had a brand new Betty Crocker talking cookbook.
And, as a matter of fact, I'm battling the "messy" room again and falling victim to memories, also.

For example, I have a framed clam shell with a very small pearl (I doubt its real worth as being more than ten bucks) mounted with it, and a small scrap of paper explaining in minute detail what it is.
Ma put it together, and, despite its real worth, the value to me is priceless.

August 10, 2007 1:38 PM  
Blogger Little Lamb said...

Interesting things in the pantry.

August 11, 2007 6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh well, thunders!

I lost m'blog to m'temper and wanting my e-mail back...
I dumped the blog thinking it was connected to the e-mail problems I was having and then, it was something called "my configuration was wrong"

I don't even know what that means, but, right now, I'm wishin' I had looked at the bottom of this box, because over at /t's place, after crying on his non-existent shouklder (otherwise known as a comment box) I get down to the bottom and y'have t'be a blogger to comment.


(ok, oh boo hoo. Now I gotta start all over....dang.)

(and I really liked my name before, too.
Walking on alligators.)

(the ghost of boneman)

(until he starts a new blog, that is....)

August 12, 2007 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh no - boneman! say it ain't so! how coud you have lost it? that's distressing - and it worries me so - makes me want to download and print my blog - an awful lot of writing in this place!

update on the insomnia - i woke at 3AM this morning! i've had a full day of packing and moving small stuff and it's now almost 9PM and I am still wired. Geesh! If Idon't sleep through the night tonight until at least 6AM, I'll scream. Earlier in the week I saw my doc and got Ambien, but I did melatonin instead M-W. Should have done some Th - Sat. Yousa!

Back to Boneman - let us know when you have a blog again. Are you painting? Post some painting- was that yours - the candle illuminating the woman?


August 12, 2007 8:56 PM  
Blogger boneman said...

And, back from the blog-ghrave, got to keep the name, got to keep the humor, lost the Walking on Alligator moniker.
Ah well, as I've been mentioning around the place, sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns (beep beep)

About the sleep.
Screw the doctors and their witches brew...
wait. Hold on that. Don't screw the doctors. Lord knows, when y'get the bill, you'll find they've been screwing you.
Meanwhile, about the sleep?

Just relax knowing that everything's going fine, you're sleeping within your great lover, and the traffic noise will soon lull you to dreamland.

August 13, 2007 9:52 AM  
Blogger CJ said...

You should never be caught with dirty pantrys.

August 15, 2007 9:01 AM  
Blogger Infinitesimal said...

Damn fine post

and as agent Dale Cooper said in Twin Peaks:

Darn fine pie

....darn fine pie.

August 23, 2007 9:16 PM  

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