Other People's Pantries #2
From Nupur (One Hot Stove), in St. Louis:
Here is my main pantry: a cupboard with glass doors that is built into a niche in the kitchen. The little labels in the picture show the main groupings of my pantry basics, although the organization is far from perfect. You can tell I eat a lot of oatmeal and yogurt because of all the reused containers (with the label scrawled on using a sharpie)! My mother was not happy to see all these old yogurt jars squatting around in my pantry and pleaded with me to go and buy some glass jars that would look "more decent". But I'm not ashamed about reusing things -- and they do stack perfectly.
This is my spice box: a round stainless steel container with 7 cups. A container like this one sits near the stove in almost every Indian kitchen I have peeked into. It is filled with the most common spices that the cook uses- and these might be different for different cooks. Mine has red chilli powder, turmeric, a mixture of two lentils, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and a couple of spice mixtures that I commonly use. Most of these are the spices used for "tempering"- a common first step for many Indian dishes, where spices and seeds are tossed into hot oil where they work their magic and flavor the whole dish. It is very convenient to open one box and have all these spices at hand; you have only a few seconds to do the tempering before the spices start burning. I got my spice box during my last trip to India . My grandmother overheard that I was going out to shop for one, and told me she had one stashed away somewhere. It turns out that she received two spice boxes as gifts in her own wedding (well over six decades ago) and had saved one! She gave it to me. It is a wonderful box- and its sturdy construction reflects the way things were made in those days. So here I am, the proud owner of a spice box that was given to my grandmother as a wedding gift! It is the most treasured portion of my pantry.
On Saturdays, we peek into Other People's Pantries.
Come on -- show us yours. Here's how.