I’ve always been a bit of a food preserver, despite living all over the world and having enjoyed the limitations of many kitchens. Given half the chance I’m one of those people who rather than waste anything will pickle it, make jam out of it, or dry it for future use. My idea of heaven is a well stocked shelf groaning with jars of vegetables, pickled cucumbers, jams, marmalades and dried pulses, legumes and mushrooms. I’m at my happiest with a few months supply in the house, available in case of an emergency.
In all my years of cooking, I’ve never had a pantry, although it’s something I’ve always wanted. I’ve made do with shelves on an old pine bookcase, or a cupboard in the utility room. Somehow, although that’s perfectly ok and totally suitable as long term food storage, it doesn’t satisfy this strange, deeply seated craving for a pantry.
In my minds eye in our forever home I see a small, cool room with shelves either side of the door, and cupboards beneath a stone work service. The shelves are neatly stacked with jars of preserved produce, like many-coloured jewels. Crocks of flour, jars of dried beans and pulses and dried ingredients of every kind line the shelves, ready for the next power cut or the onset of the next zombie apocalypse.
I’m not sure where this came from. I know that modern houses don’t normally include these things within their open-plan design, and that this desire would mean sacrificing space for something else (not the boot room, obviously).
But I’m going to try and find a way….