Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Pantry Talk

My good friend Brenda, who blogs at Coffee, Tea, Books, and Me, has been writing Saturday Pantry posts for several years now.  She has experience from growing up with a mom who kept a deep pantry, and then she learned a lot back in the Y2K days.  They are always helpful and are not writing with a look to preparing for the end of the world.  You can read her latest post {here}.

When I was growing up my mom shopped once a week on my dad's payday.  I don't think we had a pantry, though we sometimes had extra canned goods if she had bought them and didn't use them that week.  At some point my parents invested in a freezer, that was out in the garage, and would buy a side of beef.

I don't remember any emergency preparations, liked stored water or foods that didn't require cooking, even though we lived in earthquake country.

During my missionary training, I learned to can meats and vegetables, and to cook from scratch but it wasn't until about 12 years ago, that we decided to build up a pantry and grow a garden.

I felt really strongly in those years that I needed to prepare my kids with skills to be able to grow food and how to preserve it.  So we had a large garden and got chickens.  These days, I buy from my local produce stand, supporting our neighbors, but I have seeds that I could use if I needed to grow vegetables. And we still have our chickens for eggs.

Living in Pennsylvania, winters can be tough, and having my pantry comes in handy when the roads are bad and I don't want to go out, or if the power goes out and the stores are closed.

My current basement pantry is set up mostly for canned foods, but I have extra cleaning products, zip top bags, tea, coffee pods.  I keep extra plastic forks and cups for when we have a crowd. (shhh, don't tell about the plastic!)

I've begun to build my pantry up a bit again, as I am concerned with geopolitical happenings.  Usually my pantry is built with a view to spontaneous hospitality, and what you find might be determined by the season. For example, in the fall and winter, you'll find more cans of Rotel type tomatoes that I use in my Chicken Tortilla soup.  If we have a large group over I make a big batch of soup and it warms and fills our bellies and goes a long way!

I learned from Brenda, that I should only store what my family will eat, so items on our shelves will look different from someone else's pantry shelves.  This has helped me so much, in building my pantry.

My upstairs pantry is just a smallish wooden cupboard.

I keep items related to my eating plan on the top shelf, oils and vinegars, flavorings and other items on the middle shelf, and snacks on the bottom shelf.

This works for us, right now.  In time, when we are empty nesters, our pantry may look completely different.  It depends on life circumstances, and we don't know what the future holds.

I organized the basement pantry the other day, Kyle was my helper for that.  He's taller than me, and that was helpful!  I organized my kitchen pantry yesterday.  It doesn't take long for things to get shoved in on a wrong shelf or to just put extra in this upstairs pantry space, before its a mess.

Do you keep a pantry?  Did you grow up in a family that did?


  1. I started a pantry a couple of years ago and I really appreciated that pantry this past winter There were a lot of weeks that my husband was gone traveling for work, school was closed and it just wasn't safe to go to town. I had plenty of staples to get us through. I'm slowly working on getting things organized and restocked. Although I'm finding that prices aren't as good as they have been in the past which can make it harder to stock up.

  2. I grew up with a Grandma who had a wonderful pantry full mostly of homemade jams, pickles etc. Those were the days, post war, when even eggs were stored, in waterglass.
    I have a small pantry cupboard, but for only two of us it isnt crammed full, just the necessities.

  3. Brenda has certainly taught me a lot about keeping a pantry. I really use her ideas for keeping a Hospitality Pantry when company arrives unplanned. My pantry has changed a lot. I don’t eat all the foods John enjoyed. Recently, I purchased a flat of protein shakes. I figure that they can help with at least one meal a day.

  4. Yes I'm a pantry person but my problem is making sure I reach to the back to get the old stuff. Often in a hurry with meal prep I'll go for the closest. I like to stock up on basics, both in freezer and in pantry as I cook mostly from scratch. I wish I had a real pantry but a closet under the stairs with old shelves and a bureau does well for us.

  5. I do keep a pamtry and have all my married life. At one time we were self employed - back when my children were in the house. We stocked up when we had money and lived on the pantry when we didn't. For the last 15 years I have been on a set income and budget. But my pantry remains stocked.

  6. I keep a pantry, a fairly deep one, probably from the years spent in Ecuador. My daughter-in-law tells people that in case of an earthquake, she's heading here because she knows there will be food for her and her family. We live in an active earthquake zone and have stored water, a battery powered radio and other recommended items. I only stock things we will eat, and no pre-packaged dehydrated food.


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