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.
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!
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.
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?
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