My Pantry is Shameful
I decided to tidy up my appartment a bit. Something like a Spring clean for the Autumn. There were lots of things (unopened letters, a pile of clothes, unsorted papers) that *needed* to be tidied so instead I procrastinated and decided to start in the pantry. Unlike the rest of my chores, organising my pantry is something I actually enjoy. I even managed to draw the task out and make it last almost the entire weekend. It was an education.
Longtime readers of my blog will know I have shared my pantry cleaning exploits before. So this time I had to try and better myself. I decided to make a spread sheet for it. Not only that - I made the spreadsheet using google docs (which are genius, btw). Not only can I share them with you, look here, I can also share them with myself - meaning I will be able to check up on the stock levels in my pantry whilst I am actually out shopping, using my iPhone. Like I said, genius.
So I have been under the clearly misguided impression that I am a pretty savvy local eater. Most of my meals are, on average, at least 75% local, maybe more. I heard a story about someone who was worried about Alice Waters looking in their fridge. I could show Alice my fridge with confidence. All the fresh produce passes the Eat Local Challenge with flying colours.
HOWEVER, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY ALICE IS EVER GOING TO PUT HER PAWS INSIDE MY PANTRY.
My pantry should be ashamed of itself. I knew there was non local stuff in there but I didn't realise quite how much. For shame, Samantha, for shame. Because I probably only use one or two pantry items per meal (three or four if you count salt and pepper), it doesn't have much impact on my local eating on a day to day basis. But put my pantry up to the Eat Local Challenge on its own two legs and it fails spectacularly and miserably.
I colour coded the spreadsheet:
Green means local ingredients (except in the liquor category where it just means produced locally)
Yellow means ingredients from the USA.
Orange means from the specified country of origin.
Light Violet Blue means origin unknown.
Red means warning this item nearly out of stock, buy more.
Dark Purple means contains corn, watch out!
Torquoise means organic, hurrah!
Because of King Corn I read every single label to see if corn was present. Thankfully, my pantry is pretty corn free, but there were a few surprises:
- SAN-J Soy Sauce: "we only add enough corn based alcohol to prevent the growth of yeast or mold"
- Rumford's Baking Powder contains cornstarch, but it is from a non GMO source we are told.
- Party Decoratives - little red balls for cookie/cake decoration contain both corn syrup and starch. Needless to say they are now attending birthday parties in the sky.
- food colourings, containing lots of crap which may or may not include corn products, so they have gone to join the Party Decoratives in corn heaven.
- Powdered sugar from C&H contains cornstarch. Is this true of all powdered sugar? Something I need to research.
- Rose's Grenadine contains high fructose corn syrup. Ugh! They are licenced by Rose's which is an old British company. I'll hedge my bets that the British version uses a different sweetener to the US version. (Any Brits who can help me out here?)
(I also made note of some surprising soy bean appearances, because I sure soy beans are due to be grilled after corn has had its moment in the spotlight.)
Whilst I could work out the source of most everything in the oils & vinegars and preserves categories, not surprisingly the pastas, grains nuts and seeds and mainly the herbs & spices categories contained lots of products of unknown origin. In the future I plan to check out fair trade and organic sources for replacing these products instead of continuing to mindlesly picking up what is most convenient at Rainbow Grocery or Wholefoods. I buy a lot of these things from bulk bins which is why I don't always have info about the origin easily to hand. I will keep better notes in future. You bet.
Am I the only person with Locavore tendencies to have these terrible
If you want to confess, I admit I'd be happy for for some more members in my newly-formed failed locavore gang...
Last night's dinner was LOCAL Marin Sun Farm pasture raised chicken, roasted with LOCAL thyme, LOCAL chervil, LOCAL parsley, LOCAL garlic, LOCAL butter, LOCAL wine and served with LOCALLY baked bread (made from non-local wheat?), with LOCAL frisee, dressed with LOCAL oil and non-local mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. See why my pantry has been getting away with it for so long? The bad stuff is keeping a very low profile.