Thursday, August 14, 2008

Five weirdest things in my pantry

I went food shopping with my husband the other day and - even at this advanced stage of our relationship - he found out something new about me. I love Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids. I know. What the hell is it? And why doesn't it have another, less goofy name?

Can't answer those questions. A friend turned me on to this stuff (and I keep calling it that because I don't know what else to call it...sauce, dressing?) a few years back and I love it. Kind of a cross between soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, but it's really the name that I love. I feel as if I'm doing something good for my body when I drizzle it over my veggies or salads. Like an elite athlete. I bet Dara Torres knows about Bragg's It's got amino acids. Do I need more amino acids? I don't care, I'm loving them.

What other strange things are in my pantry? Marmite - the salty brown stuff the Brits eat. Dragees (dra-zhees)..those little silver balls you put on cakes and candies. Spelt. God knows what I was thing here. I'm sure it's supposed to be "good" for you, but since I've never made it I have no idea. And beignet mix. And I always have beignet mix and chicory coffee. Souvenirs, of course. But why do I keep buying them year after year? I made the beignets once, but how many of those babies can you eat? One a year? Two?
And as for the chicory coffee - if you're not at Cafe du Monde it's just brown water. Don't bother.


  1. I hate to say that the amino acid stuff sounds kind of good. And worthwhile.

    Weird stuff in my pantry? Hmm. Are huge jars of capers weird? Lemongrass infused oil?
    Hot pepper oil?
    Year-old but unopened matzo because how can it get staler than it is when it starts?
    A million plastic forks and spoons in little cellophane packages from carry-out places because how can you throw them away?
    A million soy sauce packets from carry-out places because what if you run out of soy sauce?

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  3. Ro-
    The weirdest thing in my pantry right now is the Softassilk flour that I bought because of Roberta's birthday cake blog. I won't rest until I see if there's a real difference between that and King Arthur's flour (test cake is Monday, I'll let you know.)

    Ro, that amino acid stuff sounds a litte scary, like, if you chase it with a little Gatorade, you could turn into a bionic woman.

  4. My grandmother used to take some kind of amino acid--a powder she mixed in tomato juice. She lived to be 94, so maybe you're on the right track.

    In the pantry: quinoa. Achiote powder. Packages of dried chiles (research, you know). Coffee syrup. Six kinds of sugar (including Demerara, who knows why). And, yes, Soft-as-Silk flour, which has been there for a while. My daughter likes to bake cakes (she can afford it--she's a size 4).

  5. This caught me at a weird time because we recently remodeled the kitchen and I got rid of all the interesting science project stuff. Right now the oddest thing is two ounces of Gulf Wax left in a pound box. It's probably four or five years old, but I use a bit to make Buckeyes at Christmas. I don't think wax goes bad.

    I have a painter friend who keeps whole dead birds and rabbits in his freezer for still lifes. Really still.

    I love that the Bragg's people have promo photos available!

  6. I'll see your Bragg's Liquid Aminos and raise you one Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Far less healthy (it's mostly salt and sugar--YES!)

    The stuff was "invented" at Lawry's Prime Rib Restaurant which I think is still in LA, maybe even Beverly Hills. I never cook prime rib, but it's the secret to my roast chicken skin, makes those cheap shoulder lamb chops delectable, and indispensible in oil and vinegar/blue cheese dressing. I also love it because it's orange.

  7. Sweet / hot soft ginger chews (a candy) from Whole Foods.

    Man, they will make you sit up and say 'Yowza', and if you have a sweet tooth, a single ginger chew pretty much kills any yen for a sugary dessert. I will sit and chew one and weep. Where else can you get universal catharsis, individually wrapped?

    Good for the entire digestive system, too. And for colds. Some folks dissolve these babies in a mug of hot water and then *drink* that fire.

  8. Well Sheila and I could be roomates. I have all that stuff too. And I'm going to try the amino with tomato juice like grandma did.
    Susannah - I had a serious addiction to those ginger chews...yummy! And the packaging is really nice, colorful paper carefully folded origami-like into perfect little rectangles.

  9. Headed out for the ginger chews. They sound wonderful.

    Laura--what's Gulf Wax? What're Buckeyes?

    And Hallie, I LOVE Lawry's. I remember it when we were kids. (Remember Ac'cent? Was that just pure MSG?)

    Do you also love Jane's Crazy Salt??
    Fabulous on tomatoes. Bagel, cream cheese, capers, tomato, crazy salt.
    Yum yum yum.

  10. i love love love buckeyes, but i certainly never knew they contained wax! Jan, we are all coming over for the cake. Don't you dare use regular flour...

    Note to self: Clean out pantry:

    1. quart jar of Szechuan peppercorns, circa 1984
    2. whole tapioca beads from food coop days, seven years old
    3. Quart whole cloves. ditto
    4. jar of green, vile-looking liquid jalapeno
    5. one can Betty crocker vanilla frosting (I never use the stuff!)

    And ps, I'm a Jane's crazy salt addict. Get the shakes if the container drops under 1/2 full.

  11. we interuppt the food channel discussion to offer this: please watch!! (I'm still laughing..)

    _ com/watch? v=WQ_-TOJhXXk_
    ( com/watch? v=WQ_-TOJhXXk)

  12. Wait--wasn't everyone's writing/publishing experience just like the video?! Thanks for the link, Hank. She has a really cute series.

    Buckeyes are peanut butter and powdered sugar rolled up into balls and dipped in melted semi-sweet chocolate. A little bit of wax helps the chocolate keep its shape and gives the balls a nice, glossy sheen. One uses very little for the whole batch, so I don't fret. I expect there's more in my lipstick!

  13. Like Hank, I have all the little soy sauce packets and the wholesale club jar of capers. I also have packets of kosher salt that came with the soft pretzels I used to buy when my kids were little. They're all six-feet tall now.

    The single strangest thing in my pantry is a big jar labeled "Petit Baba-au-Rhum." It's filled with little cake balls (like plain donut holes) in an alcohol liquid. I got them in a Christmas swap 20 years ago when I was pregnant (so no rum for me) and rediscover them every now and then. I have no intention of ever eating them, but can't seem to throw them away. My sons' scout troop has a jumbo can of mixed vegetables they take on all their camping trips as a mascot. I guess this is mine for the kitchen.

  14. I'm getting a kick out of all of these comments. My version of Mo's can of mixed vegetables is the envelope of dehydrated scrambled eggs that I bought for a camping trip and never used. And the Costco sized jar of capers? Mine are artichoke hearts. Enough for an army.

  15. I prefer Stephanie’s Seasoned Salt, it is all natural and all purpose. It has no fillers, caking agents, sugar or MSG. It is available in Kosher Salt, Sea Salt, Lite (low sodium) Salt and Salt Substitute (no salt). And it tastes great on everything! Here is the website-
    Have a great day!

  16. Left-over ketchup and salt packs from fast food restaurants can be stored so you can use them later on.