Thursday, April 30, 2009


I've been thinking a lot about pantries lately. I know! Weird, huh?

We always used to tease my mom for having so much food in her pantry - especially when we were teenagers, since by that time, she had pretty much given up cooking. I guess it was a hold-over from the depression era, a security blanket of sorts. She used to tell us that the Mormons all kept about a year's worth of food in their pantries, so that if there was ever a disaster, they'd be the ones most likely to survive. I thought it was a bunch of hooey, until a friend of mine bought a house from a Mormon family, and I saw the size of her new pantry!

No one in my immediate family ever grew their own food, nor did any of my grandparents, so the idea of having pantry shelves lined with jewel-colored mason jars was very foreign and exotic to me. Over the years I have had several friends who gifted me with jars of their own preserves, but I could never bring myself to break the seal - I just loved gazing upon them way too much! I kept them out on the counter, or on a windowsill, where I could enjoy the stained-glass effect of sun shining through their rich colors, which of course, only hastened their demise.

Now, thanks to all of the blogs I read about dealing with peak oil and climate change, the subject of pantries is cropping up again. These people are not survivalists. They are not out there stockpiling weapons. They just have enough common sense to realize that it's better to be as self-sufficient as possible. We cannot rely on a system that ships food and other necessities from the far corners of the earth, because that system is not sustainable. We've already seen how easily a glitch in the system can occur, each time there is any kind of natural disaster. Lets talk about hurricanes, since I spent many years on the Gulf Coast, and have some familiarity with those. Oh, I know, if you are forced to evacuate your home, a fat lot of good it does you to have a well-stocked pantry. But what if you were amongst the thousands in the peripheral areas, who were without power for weeks, and all of the restaurants and grocery stores were locked up tight? If you didn't have anything left in your pantry, and your babies were crying, wouldn't you be tempted to break a few windows?

I am not a person who flies off the handle, or goes into a panic at the drop of a hat, but I did watch that TV series Jericho, and I saw what happened when the system broke down completely. The only thing that really mattered was being able to feed one's family and keep them safe. Now I am seeing what is happening with this swine flu scare, and it's got me thinking that there may come a time when it's better to just stay snug in my own little home for a while, and not be running into town every day, to mix and mingle with the masses. I'm thinking, maybe the time has come to have a well-stocked pantry. Like Mom's.

P.S. Don't forget to leave a comment, if you wish to be included in Sunday morning's give-away!

P.P.S. Many thanks to for the first image above, and to for the other two.


musingegret said...

What beautiful pics! I just love seeing mason jars packed with glistening, jewel-like fruits and veggies. Unfortunately I've not taken up canning yet but I get very secure feelings after a Sam's Club run and see my pantry stuffed with canned corn, beans, smoked oysters, chicken soup, bagel crisps, a bag of walnuts and a coupla' jugs of red wine. Batten down the hatches and let the days of solitude begin! ;-)

Hill Country Hippie said...

I came home with a carload of good stuff yesterday, and since the guys are coming to install the pad for our water tank tomorrow (supposedly) and I'll need to be here all day, I figure it's the perfect time to totally rework my little pantry!

Polly said...

The 2 things I've always dreamed about, whenever we get to build *The House* are a walk-in pantry and a walk-in in linen closet. My house was built in 1973 and I guess pantries, and kitchens too, were almost an afterthought then. The feminist movement was just really getting cranking so I guess builders thought that the *gals* were too busy burning their bras and crashing up against those glass ceilings to do something so mundane as put a meal on the table. And of course, no self-respecting male would be caught dead with a spatula in his hand. Except my dad, of course. Except for a tour and a half in Vietnam (USMC, doncha know) and a brief hospital stay, he cooked breakfast for us every morning of my childhood. But I totally digress. My dream pantry would be huge, with room for my upright freezer and an extra fridge. Lots of shelves, with those beautiful woven baskets full of potatoes, onions, apples, oranges. I have a friend who was able to work with the architect who designed her house. Her kitchen is fabulous but even I think she went just a tad overboard with her pantry. It is 8 ft wide and 20 feet long. Yep, 88 shelves. Boggles the mind.

Hill Country Hippie said...

That's a heck of a pantry! My friend who bought the Mormon family's home was a caterer, and the huge pantry was perfect for storing all of her serving pieces and supplies.

d.a. said...

Glad to have met you again through Redneck Mother's blog! Will add your writings to my list of regular visits. :-)

Joanna Jenkins said...

I haven't canned anything in a long time-- I will now. Thanks for the reminder! There's nothing better than homemade bread and butter pickles and apricot jam! LOVE THE PICTURE!

Hill Country Hippie said...

Yeah, I love them too. Too bad they were taken at someone else's house!