Keeping a Pantry

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Expensive Cheese Wheels

Keeping a pantry is old hat to me. Do you keep a pantry in your home? I asked one person that question and the rather startled response was that she thought a pantry was a room and how do you get rid of a room if you didn’t want to keep it?

The definition of pantry in Webster’s is “a small room or closet off the kitchen where food and dishes are stored”, so I guess she had a point. All my life, however, I’ve heard the term used to mean the groceries stored for cooking until, at least, the next payday.

I think a pantry is one of those things one keeps if one cooks meals rather than ordering them online or picking them up on the way home. For thirty-five years, I stayed home, home schooled the kiddos, and cooked the meals. I relied heavily on my pantry/food stores.

I absolutely detest having to go shopping for groceries. On the other hand, I don’t trust most other people to choose the foods I intend to eat and feed my family.

Further, while menu planning leads to lower grocery bills, my crew prefers to make last minute decisions regarding what is wanted for dinner. Keeping a small store of various ingredients means we have the ability to produce Chicken Alfredo with Tortellini or Moussaka or a lovely stir-fry with equal aplomb.

All of this means that I have always grocery shopped as seldom as possible while gathering enough ingredients to feed my group for as long as possible, considering the size of the grocery budget for that trip.

Passing on the Pantry Refill Job

Nowadays, my younger kiddo shows great promise as a cook and has found the joys of spending my money at the grocery store. While the total may be a few bucks higher, it’s worth the convenience to me!

I still endeavor to stay heavily involved in the selection of meals and the selection of ingredients purchased, however. Especially since my income is approximately one-third of what it once was.

The discussions between my shopper child and me tend to sound like an imaginary argument between a Martha Stewart/Gwyneth Paltrow mix (Shopper Child) and a coupon queen in a money-saving frenzy (me):

Child, with delight: “Oh, I need manchego cheese. I love that stuff!”

Me, firmly: “Parmesan tastes just as good at one-third of the price! Get Parmesan.”

Child, upon return from store: “Here’s your green box of yellow dust. And here’s my beloved fifteen dollar chunk of manchego! All for me!”

Me: “Gah!”

That’s a terrible exaggeration, of course, but it is a fun look at our personalities. I do suspect, though, that once Shopper Child has to pay for groceries, Parmesan will look much better!

What’s grocery procurement and storage like at your place?