Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Taking stock

This past winter I came down with my annual cold. It was bad enough to keep me at home for a day or two, but not so deadly as to keep me in bed. This is the worst kind of illness, because instead of being able to pass the day in a state of unconsciousness, I soon found myself bored out of my mind.

That is - until I had a brilliant idea. I would take a kitchen inventory, so that once and for all I would know the exact contents of our fridge, pantry, and the mini-general store in the basement.

In order for you to fully understand the necessity of such an inventory, you would have to come to our home and see these three areas yourself. Everyone who has seen them so far have had the same reaction: "Wow. That's a lot of food for two people."

My roommate and I have one of those ideal relationships. She's quiet, and I'm happy to do the talking. She's neat as a pin, while I'm - well, I'm working on it. But when it comes to certain important things, we are exactly the same. For example, we would both rather shop for pretty dishes than for clothes. And we both enjoy good food.

So, when I moved in with her a couple of years ago, I brought a dowry of sorts: enough tableware and a batterie de cuisine to prepare dinner for a dozen people, if and when we were so inclined; and enough groceries to set up shop. Miraculously, she made space for it all in her already well-stocked kitchen. The overflow went into the basement storage.

However, after two years it was time to get organized. I hadn't taken the time to fully acquaint myself with what we already had, so I would buy things like cinnamon sticks or sesame seeds only to find some tucked away on one of the kitchen shelves. If I had a list of everything, I reasoned, I could keep a copy of the list on my Blackberry as a handy reference for those times I found myself at the market wondering what to make for dinner, and whether or not we already had any bay leaves, soba noodles, or dried mushrooms.

So I rolled up my sleeves and went to work. I have to say that this was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. And oh boy, was it a lot of fun. I got so many ideas for future meals just by taking stock of all the different ingredients we have on hand, ready to be used.

So if you're curious to know what Maria has in her kitchen, click here. 


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