Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lists, Menus, & Pantries

It is much easier to cook in an organized kitchen. How frustrating is it to hunt for a lid, wash some spoons because you can't find one to stir the sauce, or after dinner is eaten you find that spice bottle which would have made your main dish perfect? This is another it's-easy-if-you-stay-on-top-of-it thing.

I am amazed by the number of people who think planning a menu is difficult. Did you start thinking about dinner before you left work? Did you decide chicken would be good? Guess what? That's a menu. Now go a step further and think about more than one meal. If planning a week's worth scares you, think two meals ahead. Maybe plan supper then decide the next day's breakfast. That's two meals, there's only one more left.

Maybe you're saying you draw a blank when deciding what to eat. No problem. You grocery list tells you what you will cook. Every time you run out of an item, write it down. Now that you know what you use in a week, you know what to cook.

Still complicated? Easiest solution yet- write down what you eat. Write down what you had for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, for snacks. Write down whether you dinned at home, had take-out, went to a party, made hamburgers, nuked a tv dinner, ate leftovers, or your mother cooked for you. After a couple of days, you have a menu. This also tells you were your diet is deficient or where to cut back on the grocery bill. If you write down every thing you eat for a month, it will be a very long time before you have to plan anything.

Study that list again. What do you eat most often? Frozen foods? Canned soups? Sandwiches? Do you always eat breakfast but tend to skip lunch? If you need coffee to wake up, buy coffee in bulk. This is the beginning of your pantry.

A pantry doesn't have to be large. It is simply a place to store extras so you don't run to store every few days. The pantry doesn't even have to be all food items. You can stock up on paper towels, party decorations, washing powder, or batteries. The purpose is to have what you need when you need it. My pantry has chips, drinks, trash bags, cookies, toilet paper, and baking powder. These are all the things I use often and that I tend to run out of. I also store dried herbs from my garden and bottled spells. Sometimes I store candles for magick and seeds for my garden.

My pantry is the storage room. I keep food items in tins so I won't have to worry about mice. Tins can usually be purchased fairly cheap in thrift and craft stores. I also use plastic storage bins. I don't try to make things match, I try to find the right size container to store all my food. When a tin is empty, I set it upside down and place the lid on top. This lets me know at a glance what I am out of. I tend to group like with like on the shelves.

Not everybody has a whole room for storage. But I say if you really want to keep something, you'll find the space for it.
Pantry made from bookcase and shutters. This could be placed in the kitchen or the dinning room or anywhere else close by.
Entertainment center turned into pantry. They just added spice racks and baskets.
Here, a corner of the kitchen was walled off to make a walk-in pantry. Great idea if you have a huge room you are not fully using. This could also work for a closet in a spare room.
Small bookcase and pretty jars. Remember, everything does not have to match. If you don't think your storage is pretty enough you could easily hang a curtain across the bookcase and cover it up.
This pantry is just a well-organized cabinet with chalkboards on the doors.
Still lost? Think about you favorite kitchen. What did you love most? How much of that can you reproduce in your house?

No comments: