About The Perfect Pantry, and how to use it
My name is Lydia Walshin. I live in Rhode Island most of the time, in a small log house with a great kitchen where I teach cooking classes and love to gather groups of friends to cook together. (Sometimes I live in Boston, too.)
For the past 25 years I've been a food writer, and I've been a writer, mostly for nonprofit organizations, for my entire career. I've been writing The Perfect Pantry since June 2006. You can go back to the beginning and read every post, starting here.
I'm the founder and director of an organization called Drop In & Decorate. I hope you'll go to the site and read more about how we decorate cookies for donation to food pantries, family shelters, domestic violence shelters, and other local agencies serving neighbors in need all around the world. It's a wonderful program, and you can be part of it.
About The Perfect Pantry®
The Perfect Pantry features more than 250 pantry ingredients used in everyday cooking -- common ingredients like salt, pepper, butter, flour -- and ingredients fundamental to a wide range of ethnic cuisines.
When I started this blog, I planned to write one post featuring each of the ingredients in my pantry, and to finish within one year. Would this be the blueprint for a book? At the time I thought it might be, and I knew that having a deadline would help me get it done. However, after a few months, I realized the blog had taken on its own life. I no longer wished to write a book, and I wanted to learn more about blogging. I also wanted to keep exploring ingredients, both familiar and new, and to share more recipes for how to use the ingredients.
I write about and photograph the actual things I keep in my pantry -- the brands and sources I prefer and purchase over and over again -- and each post includes a recipe using ingredients from the pantry, combined with fresh ingredients like vegetables, meat and fish. Many of the recipes are my own; others come from or are inspired by cookbooks, web sites, chefs, friends and tradition.
How to use this site
- If you have a spice or grain or other ingredient in your pantry and don't know what to do with it, use the search box at top right to find several recipes for any of the more than 250 pantry ingredients I keep on hand.
- More recent recipes include a list called From the pantry, you'll need. Follow the links to learn more fascinating and fun facts about each pantry ingredient that particular recipe will use.
- If you're looking for a specific recipe or recipe ideas, use the index (recipes by main ingredient, by type, or by cuisine) in the left column.
- For a list of everything in my pantry today, click The Ingredients at the top of the page.
- To save your recipes to a recipe box, or make a shopping list, click the blue "Save Recipe" button at the top of each recipe post.
Questions about ingredients
One of the ways I learn is by trying to answer your questions. When I don't know the answer, I'll read and ask and find the answer for you, or refer you to a more qualified source.
The best way to ask questions is to leave a comment on the relevant post. However, if your question is off the topic of a specific post, please post your question on our Facebook page or email to me at lydia AT ninecooks DOT com.
Comments and replies
Do you like something I've written about an ingredient? Does the recipe appeal to you? Do you have your own recipe for the ingredient, or a twist on the standard? Did I make a mistake in a recipe? Do you know more about the ingredient, to add to our knowledge? Please share your feedback in the comments. Not only does it let me know that you're enjoying and finding good information in the post; it also opens the conversation to other readers.
If you leave a substantive comment or ask a question about the post or the recipe, I'll always respond publicly, in the comments. I respond to some comments by email, too. Please know that I appreciate, more than you can imagine, the time you take to write and share your thoughts and enthusiasm and feedback.
While I welcome comments that might not agree with something I've written, I request that comments be polite and considerate of others. Comments that contain profanity or nastiness or are rude to others will be deleted. Comments the sole purpose of which is to promote your web site or other commercial venture will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be blocked. My blog, my rules.
Comments are moderated, which means I have to approve them before publication. I'm sorry to have to do this, but the blog gets a huge number of spam comments every day, and I don't think you should have to read them.
Thank you so much for visiting The Perfect Pantry.