Secrets In Your Pantry?

Craig Ruggless of Winnetka Farms asked me a great question this past weekend, “If people could see your kitchen pantry what would you be most embarrassed about?”

The first thing that came to mind is the occasional package of scary, deep fried, orange dusted cornmeal snacks. The truth is that we don’t often have them on hand more than a couple times a year (largely because I would go through them like a crack addict). But we do have plenty of other dodgy convenience foods picked up at Trader Joes and consumed on those evenings we’re too tired to cook.

While the image of the urban homesteader is one who dines on nothing but wholesome veggies, backyard eggs and artisinal canning projects, the truth is that we’re all human and live in a world where Cheez Doodles* practically grow on trees. In fact I’m tempted to back-engineer the Cheez Doodle in the same way as the artist who built a toaster from scratch a few years ago. And I’m sure that a hipster Brooklynite will soon open an artisinal Cheez Doodle shop.

So what are you embarrassed to admit is in the pantry? Or maybe you’ve found a way to banish all the wonders of our industrial food system. Comments!

*Interesting fact: I don’t think you can even buy the Cheese Doodle brand here in CA (we’ve never seen a real Doodle!) but we use the name.

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  1. I usually have a bag of good-quality little chocolate somethings squirreled away somewhere in the house. Years ago, I would get a desperate feeling if there was absolutely no chocolate around, but not so much anymore. At Easter, I’ll buy a few bags of the Reese’s mini peanut butter eggs, which make for a better snack than the full-sized pb cups, although it takes months to work through my stash.

    It would be nice to be able to say we’re such purists about food, but really, having a little taste of evil food now and again is kind of fun. The one thing we don’t keep around is soda, though.

    Oh, and bacon now and then.

  2. Me again.
    In regards to back-engineering Cheese (or Cheez) Doodles: years ago, perhaps as long ago as the early 80’s, I read a short article about someone who had made his own Fritos-like corn chips at home and someone else who had made corn flakes cereal. Might have been in Mother Earth News or some publication from Rodale. I’ll bet there are more people out there doing this sort of thing than you’d imagine. Of course, if it’s just a salt or fat hit you’re looking for, buying a bag is still easier.

  3. The ramen noodle packs form the Asian store.Morning Star Veggie Corn dogs too,we have two teen boys who have let go of a million other foods their friends eat but ramen and those corn dogs had to stay.

    • Ramen noodle (IMO) is not ‘bad’ per se, as long as you don’t use the ‘flavor’ packets. freeze broth from your steamed veggies & use this instead 🙂

  4. have ya’ll read the book “make the bread buy the butter”? I think to some degree it touches on this topic.

  5. I let my kids pick out which chips they wanted this trip to the store…BBQ Pork Rinds was my 5 year old’s choice…ugh…that’s a low moment as an urban homesteading parent! 😉

  6. Going a year without buying food at grocery stores, convenience stores, box stores or restaurants did wonders for our pantry. We still have an errant can of pineapple that we should probably just toss, but really no junk food at all.

  7. A sectioned plastic shaker full of various types of powdered popcorn flavoring, including garlic, cheddar cheese, BBQ and butter. I think it came as part of a gift pack of popcorn. It’s nasty, but the kids love it, of course.

  8. i have to admit, we do occasionally have a package of cheetos or corn chips. when im sick, the only thing hat tastes good is ramen.

  9. I’m just getting into cheesemaking, so I’ve still got lots of store-bought cheese in the fridge and freezer. And sausage-making’s going to be on hold until I can afford more equipment for it, so I’ve got some store-bought kielbasa, pepperoni, and bacon. Most of the convenience foods in our house are my boyfriend’s, though: Goldfish crackers, ramen, soda, Marmite, Pop Chips. He got the word from his doctor on Monday, however, that he’s borderline diabetic and has high cholesterol, so we’re working on improving his diet. I suspect this visit to the doctor is going to be quite the blessing in disguise.

  10. @rois @jennifer: I’m a ramen fan, too. Erik not so much. So I tend to eat it as a solitary treat. Though sometimes I make it healthy by using my own broth and lots of veggies, I secretly like the mystery flavor/msg packs. Lately I’ve discovered the wonder of dried wakame (seaweed) in ramen. It almost makes me think I’m eating well.

  11. flamin’ hot cheetos…. i am ashamed to admit, but they are my favorite non-food edible substance and occasionally work their way into my pantry. also gummy bears from trader joe’s…

  12. I usually have a box of red jello in the pantry and although I don’t make it often I love it, especially in the summer with a dollop of whipped cream which as often as not is canned because it keeps better than the cartons of heavy whipping cream that spoil long before we can finish them.

  13. Ramen! We make it with homemade stock, seaweed, fresh eggs, and bean sprouts most of the time, but sometimes when I’m alone I just want to knit and watch cheesy television and eat Cup Noodles.

    Also, those “fruit snacks” that are shaped like dinosaurs and cartoon characters and have nothing whatsoever to do with fruit.

  14. Macaroni and cheese embarasss me to admit it. I have a quart jar full of chocolate chips. Anything who says anything about my chocolate chips is just a nosy meddler. I can be easily shamed about the Mac and cheese.

    I will eat a few chocolate chips along with my home-dehydrated bananas and locally sourced pecans for a healthy snack. Otherwise, I just buy a whole Hershey bar!

    Oh, the one I forgot about is the worst–Treet. I love that stuff and have a can about twice a year. We never ate Spam when I was a child, just Treet. Treet was not dinner, just fried for a sandwich at lunch. Honestly, I had not had any in over 20 years until I got a craving one day. I read about Preppers stocking up on Spam and wonder “WHY?” No, I would not suggest Treet for stocking up, either.

  15. BIG bag of Italian Seasoned Crutons from Costco. Especially embarrassing because they are so simple to make from stale bread.

  16. Betty Crocker boxed potatoes in multiple flavors – loaded baked potato, garlic mashed, au gratin, cheesy scalloped…. I bought them on sale as kind of a food storage thing but now I just want them out of the house. I can’t bare to throw them out so I have to eat them up.

  17. I have a 10 oz bag of pure MSG that I bought at an asian grocery store. I think that wins for most pure, distilled awful/awesome.

  18. Cheerios for baby snack and the occasional bag of Reese’s pieces or holiday M&M’s for Mommy snacks. Oh and right now we have half a bag of jet puffed marshmallows from our last camping trip.

  19. Ohhhh man, so embarassing but mac & cheese and cheap frozen pizzas (but sometimes we load them up with fresh veggies…that’s healthy right?).

  20. Only things that really go out of date so I have to throw them away. I have some naughty things but mainly for hiking trips and things to be lightweight and quick.

  21. We occasionally buy Doritos. I find it so unbelievable comforting when I need them. But gross other times. My relationship with them is very troubling.
    Phew! Glad I got that off my chest!

  22. Getting “BACK TO BASICS.”




    Thanking, ALL, in advance…
    Bridgeville, Delaware

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