« The Perfect Pantry's top 10 asparagus recipes | Main | Salsa (Recipe: chicken, black bean, avocado and cheese quesadillas) »

Other People's Pantries #119

From Liana (Pie and Beer), in Carlton, Georgia:

I love your blog and have been checking in for quite some time, but I'm a little slow on the uptake and only now that we're about to move from our old farmhouse in rural Georgia and I've been giving away the contents left and right have I thought to send some pictures of my pantry.


Obviously I did a lot of canning this past year, most of it in the course of developing recipes for my book on canning and preserving which will be published this summer. I haven't been able to estimate how many jars of stuff -- jams, jellies, fruit butters, sauces, pickles, tomatoes -- I put up over the summer, but it was probably two or three times what you can see here -- I gave some to friends, and donated a lot. I wasn't able to source many decent tomatoes last summer, perhaps due to the various diseases going around and not enough rain in the area, and I neglected my garden as I was busy with writing the book, so there aren't as many tomato products as I would've liked, at least not relative to things like pickled okra, which I love but not enough to justify the quantities I put them up in! 


I've always had a difficult time maintaining a truly useful pantry, simply because my tastes in food run so far afield: I cannot focus on one kind of cooking for very long before I'm seduced by another -- and all the intriguing ingredients it requires -- so my staples are all over the place. I've had that jar of Filipino coconut vinegar for ages; it's so crazy-tasting I'm sure it'll only work with the kind of food it was designed to be used in, and it's not like I'm whipping up Filipino meals that often. Tahini and rice flour? Beet pasta and Shaoxing? Glory collard greens (a guilty pleasure, but it brings more of the pleasure than the guilt!) and red palm oil? Mexican chocolate and Indian hot lime pickle? The mind reels. And that's not always what a person wants her mind to be doing when she has to just get something on the table for supper.


One day, maybe when I'm very, very old, I'll just settle down with a little cupboard of a couple olive oils, a few vinegars, some nice pasta, perhaps some Arborio rice, and a basket of garlic and root vegetables ... and maybe, just maybe, I'll allow myself a few mini cans of coconut milk, and bamboo shoots, and a bag of dried lotus buds.


Besides this pantry's luxurious size and the brilliant shallow shelves my dad put up for me, and the dedicated spice cupboard he built too (now full to bursting, of course), the thing that most truly spoils me is the small chest freezer, which I got about a year and a half ago and immediately filled with strawberries and peaches, ready-to-steam vegetables, blanched broccoli rabe, homemade dumplings, individual squares of leftover macaroni and cheese, cubes of tamarind paste and Thai green curry paste, mochi, a big bag of tiny smelts (so fun!), packages of whole squid, a few random quails leftover from a recipe-testing gig, and a bunch of meat I got at the now-defunct good butcher shop in Athens. I'll miss the freezer when we move on into town, though being able to easily shop in town, cook, and eat all on the same day will be a nice change of pace from the nearly survivalist mode we've been in for the last four years in the hinterlands. I'll still keep a weird and overflowing pantry, though, wherever it has to be -- over the washing machine, in the linen closet, in the kid's bedroom...

Anyway, thank you for keeping up your blog and for inspiring this little remembrance.

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

Come on -- show us your pantry.

Here's how.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Pity there isnt a ready icon for speechless/surprise. Yikes!!!!!! will have to suffice.

OH my gosh! I wish Liana and I were neighbors so that I could be the recipient of her delish pantry contents!

Liana - I completely understand you.....because I'm the same with respect my taste and interest in food it is so all over the place and varied that it is not easy for me to maintain a "truly useful" pantry like you said, but I love it because any other way would be too boring for me, so I love your pantry and I can't way for your book on canning and preserving, I just bought my first Blue Book guide to preserving from Ball, I have done some preserving but nothing too serious yet, mostly freezer jams : ) but this summer I'm starting with tomatoes and other vegetables, after seeing your pantry and all those jars I'm all exited! thanks for sharing : )

Now that is a very impressive pantry! I love how you can see everything even though the shelves are packed.

What a phenomenal pantry!

Now that's the perfect pantry! It'll be tough to downsize.

Lydia, I think it's about a year now that you've been saying when people stop sending pantry photos you have a new project queued up. I've been anxious to hear about it - perhaps you should consider it for another day of the week b/c this doesn't show any signs of ending. :)

More than I have EVER seen in a pantry! Wow, you have been busy.

OMG--I am ready to move, help taste, proof read, baby sit, pack,fix moving lunches, suvervish moving lunches, clean up (eat the )the breakages, any thing you might need. WOW!! WOW! Good luck on your move . And How you do that with children. Bless you.

What an absolutely perfect pantry!!! I'm jealous.

This was very impressive. I truly wish that I had that much space for my pantry. It inspires me to try canning more again this summer.

Thanks so much for all the sweet comments. I wish you all were neighbors! As it turns out, the pantry I have now is a good-sized closet, and being right in town the local markets have sort of become an extension of it and my refrigerator freezer. At least that's how I choose to think about it.

Pat: I have only one kid; she's four now, and is actually a huge help with the canning projects. I couldn't—and wouldn't—have done all of that without her. (And those blessed mornings she was at preschool.)

I thought the pantries that you display were converging into sameness -- but this one is totally unusual, and the text is also fascinating. Do we get to know the name of the canning textbook that caused this abundance or pickled okra?

Mae, if you follow the link to Liana's blog, you'll learn all about her new book!

Fantastic well written and dear to my own heart as I share your schizophrenic multicultural taste in food and eclectic ingredient supply. You are an inspiration.

Mae: It's called "Canning for a New Generation" and will be available in July or August on Amazon.com.

I'm envious of all your pickled/preserved goodies! It's an impressive collection!

And Lydia, I'd like to second Joan Nova's comment. I'm ready to see what's next :)

Is there a MOMENT during the year when there is NOT something on your stove bubbling away in your canner??? Gorgeous pantry and of course, you could survive the next nuclear holocaust well past nuclear winter.

Ooooh! I COVET all your homemade goodies!!!

Louise: Heh. During the last couple years, um, no. There was not a moment when there was nothing on the stove. Wait, maybe Christmas Day? This season, though, I'm taking a little break! Just did some strawberry and whole-lemon preserves in the new kitchen, and that may be it for a while. (Of course I SAY that . . .)

:-) I only wish I had another pantry to show you. I'd best get a case of beer in my pantry as I'm going to need some to cry in when the last one goes up.

I loved this one!!

This could be a food pantry for a community. Wow! Impressive. Please do send us a photo of your new pantry as well. I'd be interested in seeing how you down-size.
I love other people's pantries and I'm also ready to know what the new feature is. Quit teasing us Lydia - give up the goods!

Amazing -- all those labels, now who packs and moves all those jars when you move? You've inspired me -- and the freezer, I don't think it ever occurred to me to blanch and freeze broccoli rabe but will do so today, wonder, can you do that with watercress.

now THAT is a pantry!

I'm with "can-can" - would love to see the new pantry as well!

Holy Ball Jars, Batman,
Look at that pantry!

Wow. I'm in awe! I wish I lived closer!

Having been the recipient of some of those very jars, I can only say that Liana is a canning QUEEN!

this is wonderful i have just started to make preserves, but nothing on this scale, how long must it have taken to get all of these goodies together

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.