my own personal food security: the beautiful pantry

the cool thing about moving back into an apartment that used to be my home at an earlier point in time is that it’s easier to know what needs to change.

usually, i’m the kind of person who takes months to get a place feeling like it’s lived in.  last time i moved into this apartment, it was july of 2008, and i still had full boxes and empty walls in december.  the only reason the artwork finally got hung is that oats did it for me as part of helping me set up for my solstice party.  (this is also amusing because a freak snow storm hit that afternoon and of the forty or so invited guests, the only people who showed were oats, my upstairs neighbours, my bff, and my landscaper friends whose truck has 4-wheel drive.  but hey, the apartment looked awesome!)

the point being, this time around i’m a lot more prepared.  it’s a bit tricky since we’re now working with oats’ furniture instead of just mine, but for the most part i’ve got a handle on where things should go.  there’s glasses in the cupboard next to the fridge, and we’re hanging old windows from the bedroom ceiling to create a defined office/sewing area in the corner near the door.  guests and house-sitters will be annoyed that i’m again choosing the large drawer around by the window to hold cutlery, instead of the more obvious one next to the sink, but i’m sticking to my guns on that one.  everything else is up for debate!

i used to cram dry goods into the same crowded cupboards where my dishes lived, which became an unsustainable activity and would be impossible with this household.  oats and i cook even more than i did on my own, and also prefer to store a larger variety and much larger quantities of foods.  with that in mind, the other night i tackled a tall shallow closet  on the far side of our eat-in kitchen.

the last time i lived here, i had my computer printer and scanner on one of the shelves (oddly yet luckily, there is an electrical outlet in the ceiling of the closet!), plus different sorts of paper for printing.  there was a vacuum cleaner in the bottom area, some boxes of fasteners, my toolbox, a bundle of kites (4 or 5?), and a couple big stereo speakers that came from a free pile (and went back to a free pile when i moved out).  i think my canning was on the top shelf.  i don’t know what else filled all the space.  trash, garbage, and treasures that are hopefully making someone else happy cuz fuck knows i didn’t need them.

you know what i do need, however?

you know what would make me happy?

a pantry.  a storage area that is full of dry/sealed food, where it is accessible yet safe.  the kind of closet that i can open at the end of a rough day, and feel relief simply by seeing the possibilities it presents.  even if school is frustrating, people are mean, and money is tight, i can bake muffins or sprout beans or roast some spiced veggies or otherwise make something from not much of anything.

it’s a practical tool for securing my belief in myself.

with some random boards that were kicking around (part of a wooden leaf support for an extending table, ballou’s former sky bridge to the skylight in oats’ old apartment, a rail from a futon frame that i gave away years ago, scraps from my subletter’s handmade kayak paddle), i added shelves between the existing ones, and tucked away all the bagged goods into labeled jars.  the canning is spread throughout the back rows of all the shelves because there’s more of it this year and it’s heavy enough to bow the wood on its own.  i’ve got one lower shelf devoted to kitchen appliances, and though the floor will soon become the puppy-safe shoe stash, for now it’s occupied by a 50 lb bag of onions.


i’m so pleased.  in the past, right about now is when i’d feel a desperate need to dance around the kitchen while singing along with jawbreaker in order to regain punk points lost by my unrepentent love for organized food storage, but i’m over that.  really, my punk rock ideology is all about do-it-yourself, and a good fucking pantry is allowing me to do-it-myself more than ever.  i’m going to go bake some bread now, and maybe can some peach chutney.


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