Food Security

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Tonight I’m going through the cupboards and pantry.  Whew, I’m a terrible food pack rat.  If there’s an ingredient I might ever need at any time in the future I buy it the moment I see it.  Then, all too often, I forget I have it.  Why else would someone have two different packets of Bak Kut Teh soup seasoning?  Or worse, I forget why I got it.  What should I be doing with dried lily buds anyway?

In a stroke of brilliance I realize that tomorrow a bunch of serious food people are giving us a going away party.  We all met on the eGullet food board, and have been cooking and eating together ever since.  What better time to clean out my food supplies and bestow all my odds and ends on my unsuspecting friends?  Let’s see, who would like those lily buds, the dried Chinese chestnuts, the spekulaas kruiden, the date syrup, the jasmine essence, the candlenuts, and for that matter, the remnants of a special candle you burn inside a bowl of Thai cookies in order to perfume them lightly?

I lay out my goodies and begin to pile them up next to little stickers bearing my friends’ names.  There’s so much stuff I scarcely know how to start.  What would you think if I told you that the array above was only 20% of what I sifted through?  I’d be lying, of course, it’s only 10%.  Maybe less.

But see, here’s how I am.  I’m already calculating what will be just as good when we come back as it is today.  The Muscovado sugar will be rock hard, the vialone nano will go rancid, the Rancho Gordo beans I should take to my friends in Europe who can’t get them.  But the oak honey, the mulberry syrup, the quince preserves, the treacle and sorghum, they’ll all stand the sugary test of time.  The ochazukenori, sure, it’s sealed up tight.  And so on.  I just can’t give it all away.  My culinary security blanket turns out not to be my knives or my pots and pans, but my larder, so lovingly built, so hard to leave behind.

Actually, I am taking my knives with me, but I know you understand that.

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Explore posts in the same categories: The Road To France

8 Comments on “Food Security”


  1. Abra, and all this time I thought food security was about eliminating melamine in the food supply, and cutting down on food-miles. Yes, the pantry is a source of security not to be ignored. I look forward to reading about your journey, Bon Voyage!

  2. Jan Says:

    Wow, Abra! I’ve finally taken the time to read through this and it’s great!
    I’m looking forward to reading more about you two and your French adventures.

    Hmmm, I could find something to do with those lily buds……

  3. Abra Says:

    Ok Jan, you’re getting them!

  4. Shaya Says:

    Abra your writing is beautiful, captivating, and wrought with emotion. Lovely.

    Bon Voyage.

    Shaya

  5. Flyfish Says:

    Ooohh, speculaas kruiden! Heel goed!

  6. Carrie Says:

    Abra, you’re a wonderful and beautiful and creative genius 🙂 Your world is a world that all hope to know but few can enter. I concur with all of the above comments. Thank you.

  7. Lauren Says:

    Abra, I had such a good time going through my goody bag! What a great idea. Any ideas on what to do with canned quail eggs?!

    I love your blog and I’m glad we’ll be able to peek into your life in France. When you get back – dinner at my place for sure!

  8. Wendy Says:

    LOVE my goody bag, thank you so much!! and dayne is in heaven with those cherries!!!


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