When’s the Last Time You Checked Your Pantry?

Or, for that matter, the condiments and containers in your fridge.

If you’re anything like me, you check the crisper drawers and larger items for freshness the night before the garbage run. The pantry and the refrigerator door shelves (where the condiments live) tend to get checked less, but I thought we were doing a pretty good job of keeping up with everything.

Until, of course, I went to pack up the pantry and fridge goods to move from one house to another this past weekend. Between both of those, the sodas that had expired on the bar, and the older items from the chest-freezer that were passed their prime, we filled 2 kitchen bags to take out to the trash along with the numerous bags of still-usable items.

The sodas were easy to forget about–we hadn’t been doing as much entertaining and since I’m not making cocktails every week anymore that might use them as mixers, they lost their fizz without a peep. We have a free-standing pantry that is fairly compact, so there’s not a ‘far back’ for items to get pushed to, but we obviously need to do a better job of using our stores–I found several partial bags of rice and quinoa (thankfully not out of date) that will be getting used up this week!

The fridge-level condiments were the worst, though. A bottle of this or that, purchased for one recipe or another then forgotten, we had quite the collection! After throwing away quite a bit of it we still moved over several bottles to the new fridge: my mission is now to use them up (good thing chicken and tilapia are so versatile!) and to make a more concerted effort to replicate those sauces and condiments in small batches per recipe rather than buy a bottle of something we’re not likely to use. Sticking with staple ingredients will probably be the best bet for avoiding the problem in the future.

We also designated a “contraband” cabinet in the new kitchen: a place for the things that are too High-FODMAP to regularly use in dinner preparations but that Todd might want to have if I’m out for a night. It also includes flours or other items we might use when cooking for someone else. It’s not like I ban High-FODMAP foods from coming into our home–it’s hardly necessary and a little extreme considering Todd doesn’t need to adhere to the same restrictions as I do. But by placing staple ingredients that aren’t going to mesh well with my digestive system in a separate place makes it less likely we’ll use something by accident.

The kitchen is the last thing to be packed up and moved over, but as a stop-gap I tried to grab the basics in case it takes us a few nights to finish up:

  • a large frying pan
  • a large stock-pot
  • a medium-sized sauce pan
  • knives and cutting boards
  • cookie sheets
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • salt, pepper, and a few other spices
  • and the vase of spoons, spatulas, and so forth that sits next to the stove.

I think the should be enough, but I have a feeling I’m going to be grabbing for all sorts of things over the next few weeks that haven’t been brought over or unpacked yet!

More about the actual move later this week, but I’m certainly glad we don’t have to depend on take-out for the next few days!

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