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December 6, 2008

Other People's Pantries #45

From Dr. Biggles (Meathenge), in Richmond, California:

Why am I here? I don’t know and had truly planned to not participate. Not so much for my standard aloofness that I love so dearly, but because my pantry sucks. Hmm, maybe sucks is too strong a word, let’s just be kind to me and call it sparse or lame.

BigglesLarder001 

I spent some time last night pondering the sparseness of my pantry. It wasn’t always this way. As near as I can tell, inspiration, fads, interests, passion all come in cycles. It seems as though my pantry cycle has been about every 3 to 5 years. Ingredients come and they go, and sometimes they just plain don’t return or restock themselves.

Admittedly, I did clean things up a bit last night, went through and tossed items that were more than 6 months old (read here 6 years +) or knew I would never use. There are a few items to take note of in the spice and herb section though, most of which would be a few fancy salts left over from a period of a few years ago.

The Danish Viking-smoked salt is the most amazing salt I have. It’s a very coarse sea salt and smells like you’re adding a bonfire to whatever you apply it to. As it is, one can add it to food for roasting and it holds up perfectly. Or, grind it down a bit and use as a finishing salt. Over grilled vegetables it’s absolutely wonderful and on starches it’s divine. There’s Australian Murray River Salt Flakes, tender and light, and a few others. 

As far as peppercorns go, I cannot live without the Sarawak Creamy White Peppercorns. This is my standard grind for pretty much anything I do, they’re fricken amazing. Springy, clean pepper taste that actually does have a creamy texture to it that finishes cleanly with a hint of citrus. Crazy, huh? I also picked up a box of the Balinese Long Peppercorns. They’re little guys that have a shape like a long pine cone, maybe 1 inch long. Grinding these beasts down isn’t easy, they're tough and sparky to the tooth. The taste and aroma are subtle peppery goodness that moves in to a floral finish. Most excellent on fish!

BigglesLarder002

Um, here’s the pantry of foodstuffs. I’d show you the two upper shelves, but they’re completely empty except for half a dozen bags of homemade smoked chile peppers. Yeah, I know that’s really cool and it is. But the lower shelves are embarrassing. Making meals for my two boys usually requires making a stop at the local Latin market for fresh goodies, not much is needed from the pantry. There is another shelf that has some vinegar and corn oil, but you can probably figure out what that looks like on your own. Ya know? Vinegar and corn oil, just like that.

BigglesLarder003 

Since I forced you to endure that last image, I thought I’d share half of my kitchen knife collection. To the left are some really cool steels to keep the edges well honed. Most are old French rigs except for the elderly Lamson & Goodnow with the lighter boxwood handle. Two blades below is a handmade knife that’s cut from a Swiss lumber mill saw blade. It was a gift from Chilebrown of Mad Meat Genius a few holidays ago.

That pretty much wraps up Dr. Biggles’ Pantry entry for today. Any questions?

On Saturdays, we peek into Other People's Pantries.

Come on -- show us your pantry.

*Other People's Pantries will be ending in early 2009 to make way for a new Saturday feature. If you'd like to share your pantry photos, please send them as soon as possible!

Here's how.

Comments

Your knife collection is most impressive! Thanks for sharing.

the Danish Viking-smoked salt sounds amazing - I'm going to look for it

LOL! Does NOT suck at all. I like your pantry very much and the decorations around it.

Paz

Hi,

Thank you on the knives, I love those things. Unfortunately that's only about half. I installed a new exhaust fan for the stove and lost a few racks.

I found the salts at salttraders.com. Rob and his wife started that, after they'd started The Cooking School of Aspen. He put a lot of time and effort in to it. They sold the school and recently sold salt traders. The new owner seems to be doing well and has added a lot of high quality items. They even go out of there way to make sure it's packaged nicely too.

Biggles

Ha ha. Sparse and lame. Except for the mac 'n' cheese; that's the best part.

xoxo

You are so organized, I am busting at the seems over here.

Even if he does have a somewhat sparse pantry, I will always be deeply indebted to Dr. Biggles for helping me adjust my stove burners!

(It's a good thing I haven't shared my pantry. You might possibly have a heart attack seeing the overabundance of stuff I have! And no kids to feed either.)

Like your style, Biggles!

I too have Mac & Cheese in my cupboard. It is right next to the Chef Boyardee Spaggetios.

That knife and steel collection tells me you aren't as lame as you'd like us to believe...

Hay,

Thank you, everyone!

Susan,
Yeah, you're right. I'm really not quite that lame, but I am quite handsome! See, I've been perusing other people's pantries here for quite a few months. Many, it seems stop by the entire world on their way home and pick up a few things. Then? I walk in to my pantry and stare for a while.

Biggles

Dear God what a nice knife collection!
I just love it! If I ever get hold of a collection of knives like that I will be happier than happy (and king of the kitchen!)

How long have you had that pink can of cinnamon? I haven't seen that brand since I was a kid - we always had it in our kitchen.

That really takes me back.

Hey Caput,

It's actually pretty easy to find those things. Thrift stores, garage sales and ebay are my ways. I ask friends, family and whomever if they have those bad ol' kitchen knives that rust. They're happy to get rid of them!

Jane,

I haven't had it that long, maybe just a year. My brother inlaw gave me a gaggle of them, if you look on that shelf, you'll see more. They're really cool and enjoy having them around. If you look on the second shelf from the top, in the center, there's a little red tin. That's from 1961, curry powder and it was unused when I got it a handful of years ago. I made a dry rub with it, pretty mild. Har. Even did a post on meathenge with it!

Biggles

Umm, how can I get one of those orange felt sunshiny sex wall hangings?

Hey Beckie,

Funny that, it's steel! Probably about 30 to 40 years old. Pretty cool, eh? My sister found it for me and knew I had to have it.

Biggles

That gives me knife envy! My husband replaced a lost paring knife (don't ask me how that happens, but with 3 kids it's a pretty good chance it got tossed in the garbage). And I have a chef's knife and a huge cleaver. I manage to somehow get by with them without want. I keep them super sharp. But I still would like more knives and a collection of steak knives!

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