Bourdain Fixer, Spy in the House of Bulli, Diary of a Foodie Diarist, Our Woman in Paris, Louisa Chu asked me yesterday what was in the pantry. That is surely a question to prompt a post. Of course, before I get into the pantry, I have to position a few caveats. For one thing, the pantry is where you will find it hardest to stock local (as you will see below). For another thing, like most of my breed, my pantry far exceeds my pantry. From containers of chocolate in the basement to bags of grains in the attic, we have no shortage of food in the Bungalow. I would finally add, that in the same vein, the pantry is an ever evolving enterprise. We cannot resist new products or new versions.
The list below could be huge, so I’m gonna try to keep it to the basics. If I missed a pantry item that you are curious about, ask away.
DAIRY AND EGGS: Milk, Except when it’s not, it’s IA’s Farmer’s All Natural Creamery or WI’s Blue Marble…Cream is often from MI’s Country Dairy (available at Whole Foods)…the Sour Cream and Buttermilk from Farmer’s All Natural are outstanding…Yogurt is almost always WI’s Sugar River or IN’s Trader’s Point Creamery…Trader’s Point supplies us with Cottage Cheese too…Kefir and related can be dueling IL L companies, Ludwig or Lifeway…Eggs mostly come from IL’s Genesis Growers…I can’t list all the cheeses we buy but Grating Cheese often American Grana…Butter is something from WI unless it’s Amish like the stuff from Calma Optimal or the soft Clarendon Hills; see also.
SWEETENERS: We invariably pick up Maple Syrups, Sorgum, Jams and Jellies at various farmer’s markets around the Midwest; I could not point you to one favorite…Likewise, there are many a-Honey to be found around here, including a few made in Chicago…Sugar, to our delight, my wife recently discovered MI Beet Sugar at Costco (MI Sugar Co.).
SPICES/CONDIMENTS: We got them all from around the world. We are fortunate to have a Penzey’s in Oak Park. We do dry our own Hot Peppers and Herbs though…So many condiments, it’s possible to find several WI produced Mustards here…as with sweeteners, we are constantly picking up Relishes, Chutneys, Salsas, etc. in our travels and market shopping.
VINEGAR AND OIL: A farmer at the Fed Plaza market sells Apple Cider Vinegar in season; Jim the Vinegar Guy makes us a special bottle of Red Wine Vinegar; we also buy other varieties from him…We mostly cook with Olive Oil, right now Academia Barilla, but we are partial to Sicilian ones.
What am I missing?