The Postal Service held its regular food drive a couple of weekends ago. The idea is to leave a bag of contributions for the carrier to pick up. So off to my pantry to see what I had. I remember a set of instructions I once had— don't just give away "basic" foods because the hungry will appreciate a luxury item now and then and remember that often the needy will not have access to a stove. As I sorted out my food items, I was pretty sure that some of the items I once bought for a long forgotten recipe would not be welcome. So the fava beans, chopped pimientos and chipotle peppers in adobe sauce went back on the shelf. Now if only I could remember why I bought them. The biggest sacrifice in this house is the Wilkins Tawny Marmalade, but that too was omitted.
At last I had to confront my elephant in the room when it comes to canned goods. Each year my kids recognize that the part of Thanksgiving dinner I am least likely to burn/omit ingredients from/overcook is pumpkin pie. I suspect that if they were in charge they would go out, pick pumpkins, scrape out flesh and make a tasty pâte brisée. Alas, those days are over—if they ever existed. So for me cans it is. Libby's pumpkin, Pet evaporated milk. However, I am always afraid I have not made enough. If you had seen the size and appetite of my teenagers you would understand why. So I always buy extra and leave them sitting in my pantry. And who eats pumpkin pie in May? Maybe we should. A few of them I had bought when I was in my rather smart if anal period of sticking on labels to make rotating cans easier. I could see some of them were several years old. But when I looked at their expiration date, there was still a long time to go. That stuff lasts for ever.
Memorial Day is coming up. Pumpkin pie anyone?