A Flush Pantry

When I was in college, my roommate would pack her part of the kitchen cabinets full whenever she returned from the supermarket. She once told me that when the larder is full, she can relax–she’s covered. This statement made a big impact on me in terms of my respect for the power of a flush pantry, brimming with good ingredients. And since those days, I have remained unapologetic about how relaxed I am emotionally after stocking my kitchen with foodstuffs.

I was emailing a friend earlier tonight about what we might cook when she visits late next week, and I realized my pantry (and the chest freezer, which is just a different type of pantry) holds both utilitarian and aspirational ingredients. Here are some of the latter items, off the top of my head:

I have a bottle of 16-year balsamic vinegar that I haven’t cracked yet.
A jarred hazelnut puree.
About a cup of chocolate Italian buttercream, a single-layer banana cake, and a vanilla-bean pound cake.
A small tin of foie gras from our trip to France which I’ve never brought myself to open.
Sugar cane vinegar.
Homemade sour cherry jam.
All-butter puff pastry.
I always have real grits and (the very same) country ham in the freezer and buttermilk in the fridge as emblems of my Southern heritage.

What’s the cool random stuff in your fridge and freezer?

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