Pantry Essentials, remember the list I gave you a while back? If you didn’t get it, then you can get it here again. This list of pantry essentials, can make pretty much all basic kinds of baking, pasta, and some really yummy stuff! Pretty much a treasure trove of things you can make on your own, if you have essentials on hand. You know, I wish I had more recipes like these 25 years ago. I feel a story coming on……….
32There was a time in our lives, where we were so incredibly broke, and all we had were a very few basics of the pantry essentials. There just simply was no other food. We could pay our bills – barely – and we made do. Our children were little and thank goodness they didn’t know any different. Today we laugh about it, because yes, I would deep fry soaked wheat kernels and send them to school in my kids lunch, because it was the only snack I could think of with wheat. My kids thought they were great, and all of their friends did too, but deep inside, I was crying because I didn’t have anything else to send. I made Indian Fry Bread for dinner quite regularly, sometimes deep fried and sometimes just fried in margarine, and we dipped in what we call fake gravy, made with bouillon. The kids again, loved it. My husband to this day can’t eat it.
We ate lazy daisy cupcakes. I also grew up eating these, so it was second nature to make them. These are so easy to make with basic pantry essentials. I made them every day, as long as I had eggs. Now I have a good supply of powdered eggs, so as to never be without. My kids ate a ton of these made into cupcakes. Only once in awhile did I actually make the icing to go with it, because we rarely had the coconut. I did learn to substitute rolled a I had the recipe memorized and used it as often as I could. It was a staple in our home. To this day, it is a favorite of my kids. Again, they never knew how hard done by we were. We never told them, and we always tried to make fun with what we had.
I remember one time we were doing our Halloween night dinner, and instead of making fry
bread, I chose to make scones. We had options with scones. Scones for us, were just bread dough that we made thin and deep fried. Now you can buy these at the fair for like $8 or some ridiculous thing. They call them elephant ears where I am. They literally cost like pennies to make. We could slather them with honey, dip them in gravy, or dip them in some tomato sauce I had home made from a jar of bottled tomatoes I had canned. I think we may have even had powdered sugar. We were really going all out. They thought it was so much fun, and my husband and I held back the grimace as we had fun and made those memories. It actually became a tradition for awhile that on Halloween we would have deep fried scones with a variety of options, until one time Logan said, please no more! He had enough, it wasn’t a pleasant memory for him like it was for the kids.
I learned to get really creative with what little food we had. We ate biscuits a lot. I remember one night, we had biscuits for supper again, (we often rotated between biscuits and fry bread), and at bed time, one of my little guys cried and told me he wanted a bed night snack because he was hungry. This was probably the ultimate low in our lives, we literally had nothing in our home. My heart broke and I gave him my last biscuit, that I was actually hoping to save for breakfast. I don’t remember what I did for breakfast, or if I sent them to school without. That is probably more likely. I didn’t know where the meals were going to come from the next day, but I just prayed, and cried a lot! I knew they would walk home from school for lunch and I had nothing to feed them. I made a promise to God that night, that never again, would I ever let our food storage be in such a poor situation that I couldn’t feed a little child something. Well sure enough the next day a miracle happened, a dear friend gave me money for groceries. She was a miracle to me, and an amazing example. I told her I didn’t know when or if I could ever pay her back, and all she said to me was, “I don’t want you to pay me back. Some day when someone comes to you hungry, I want you to help them.” I cried some more. Those were some really tough financial and trying times in our lives, yet they were some of the best times as well.
Why do I tell you this story? For a couple of reasons. One, if you have a pantry full of the essentials, you will be able to make so much more than just fry bread or biscuits and gravy. Stock your pantry, and always keep it that way.
Two, I learned valuable lessons in our trials, and ever since that time, I have always been more than willing to share my food storage with anyone I find in need. I have done it more times than I could count. I have also kept my promise that I will always have storage, never, ever, do I want to have to tell a little child that there is no food in my house. That has got to be one of the worst feelings I have ever felt.
Three, it is so vital that you learn to cook a variety of things with basics. Have recipes handy. Know how to use the wheat, the beans, the various other things that food storage offers.
I have gathered multiple recipes from any source I can get them from. I have them in my own binders and folders. I have my favorite ones that I use all of the time, always accessible, handy for a quick meal.