I've been having a pleasant time cleaning and restocking our family pantry this week. The online course I've been taking at Whole Food Kitchen has me thinking of ways to improve the way I cook and the importance of having healthy food options on hand ... well-stocked pantries are a step in this direction for sure!
We were lucky this year to have had a great tomato year in our vegetable garden and I tried to can as many quarts of tomatoes as I could. I just knew how much we would appreciate having our own garden tomatoes through the coming months!
I guess it's kind of a family tradition, canning the summer bounty, and I grew up hearing stories about the wonders of my grandmother's pantry and how she would can enough for a whole year's provision. This industriousness must have come from home-pride as well as necessity during the hard years of the Depression, when she was a young wife.
When I was growing up I remember seeing my own mother 'putting up' tomatoes, pickles, salted soup herbs and root beer. When autumn came Mom would buy bushels of local apples and have us kids wrap each one in newspaper to be stored in a wooden barrel in our low - ceilinged root-cellar . Each time we wanted an apple, which was often, we'd go down to that little room in the cellar and rifle through the newspapers to find one. They kept well down there!
I think it was always recognized by everyone in our family that fresh vegetables from our own garden, or locally-grown, were the best to be had.
My Mom still likes to get her hand in on canning day at my sister's house. Many hands make light work!
| *photo by Cecile|
|*photo by Cecile|
After thinking about pantries this week I've come to the conclusion that keeping a pantry is more than just bringing in a supply of food. It becomes a holding place for blending the traditions of the past, present and future, creating memory links from those who have passed to those who are just coming along in life. I will always feel grateful to have known the women who showed me a few things about life and living well. Here's to good eating on the way!
|These ladies were four sisters who kept beautiful pantries in their time. They were my great aunts and my Memere, (grandmother) third from the left.|