It's useful to occasionally clean out closets and refrigerators and sock drawers and, yes, pantries. In so doing we discover the most interesting things about our possessions and ourselves.
For the past several days we here in LaLaLand have been rained in. What a great time to organize the pantry, thought I. And so I opened the doors to untold riches and to also a certain amount of confusion. The untold riches speaks to the fact that we have a whole lot of food on hand. The confusion speaks to the astonishing assortment and number of bottles of vinegar.
We have apple cider, red wine, white wine, brown rice, white distilled, plain old rice, and Balsamic. One would imagine that to balance this plethora of acidic liquid processed from the fermentation of ethanol in a process yielding as its key ingredient acetic (ethanoic) acid we might have a corresponding amount and variety of oils. Not so in our pantry. Here's what we have for oil: Olive.
Up until that throw water in my face and wake up to vinegar pantry organizing day I never even thought much about the stuff. So why, you might reasonably ask then, did I keep buying those bottles of, you know, fermented liquid the name of which comes from the old French vin aigre meaning 'sour wine'. I'm not sure I want to delve that deeply into my psyche right now. The explanation is doubtless rooted in some childhood trauma which I can't for the life of me remember.
Here, though, is the bottom line on all of this. There is a whole lot of vinegar in my pantry that needs to be used on account of all the people in the world deprived for whatever reason of their fair share of vinegar. So I did what we all do these days. I googled 'what the hell do I do with all this vinegar' and came up with fourteen million three hundred thousand suggestions.
The site 131 Uses for Vinegar (which clearly only touches on the issue) has several categories including garden, bugs, cars, tools, health, beauty and laundry. Apparently vinegar can kill bugs and send ants looking for greener pastures. The Vinegar Institute tells me that I can soften paint brushes with vinegar.
I visited a number of those millions of sites before I finally realized that I'm not the only person who cleaned the pantry to discover an embarrassment of vinegar.
I guess Thomas Gainsborough (the eighteenth century painter) sums it up best in his letter to Edward Stratford excusing himself for not finishing the portrait of Stratford and his wife when he said: "I wish you would recollect that Painting and punctuality mix like Oil and Vinegar, and that Genius and Regularity are utter Enemies and must be to the end of time."
Here's to procrastination, then!
It will be a rainy day in January before I even think about organizing the pantry again.