12 Apr 5 Things I Never Thought I’d Have in My Pantry
Can you keep a secret? After going on and on about Homemade This and From-Scratch That, I’ve come to realize there is a spot for convenience foods in my life and in my cupboard. While I prefer fresh to tinned, homemade to reconstituted, the food snob in me has learned to make concessions. I just don’t usually broadcast them for fear that fessing up will get me banned from the culinary section of the Internet — or at least pelted with organic heirloom tomatoes.
While the following items are to food what K-Mart is to fashion, they do the trick — under specific circumstances. So here is my culinary confession. My pantry contains the following non-artisan, non-organic, far-from-fresh items. And I’m not about to give them up.
1. Instant coffee
2. Instant Tapioca
What I use it for: Best Raspberry Pie Ever. Capital letters earned.
Why: Raspberry Pie isn’t answer enough? Okay, it helps set the filling without using so much sugar you can’t taste the raspberries or so much flour it gets pasty.
What I don’t use it for: Pudding. Fish eyes. Ick.
What I use it for: The odd rolled cookie recipe and fool-proof pastry (although I am now a hardcore, butter-only pate sucree fan).
Why: It’s a vegan/non-dairy substitute for butter or lard for pastry. It also makes cookies crisp, which now and again is the goal.
What I don’t use it for: Cakes or frying.
4. Corn Syrup:
What I use it for: Caramel corn and pecan pie.
Why: Don’t panic. This isn’t the same as the scary high-fructose stuff that manufacturers use. I’m talking the old-fashioned grocery store kind. It’s less sweet than sugar and when cooked, helps produce a smooth texture.
What I don’t use it for: Pancake or waffles topping. That’s what maple syrup is for.
5. Red food colouring:
What I use it for: Pink Angels Squares and other iced goodies for special occasions. But just a few drops.
Why: Sometimes you just have to be whimsical.
What I don’t use it for: Red Velvet cake. No one needs to consume a whole bottle of this stuff.
Okay, so now that I’ve aired my dirty culinary laundry, what items in your pantry do you consider hiding when food snobs come to visit? Tell me what you use it for and why. It’s okay. You’re among friends.
Photo © jinterwas. Published under a Creative Commons License.