Recap: back in January 2016, I photographed every item in my pantry (excluding spices, teas, and staples). I blogged about the dishes I made with these items. I wrote up a mid-year summary of my progress wherein I concluded that there were 28 items I still had not used.

The remaining 28 items

So, what happened with those 28 items? I’m glad you asked!

Things I actually used

When my mom visited, I made a Thai sticky rice meal, which used the holy basil seasoning paste, nam prik ong paste, and pork rinds. Shockingly, I’ve never blogged about making a Thai sticky rice meal even though I have served it several times. The meal consists of a variety of meat dipping sauces served hot (similar to chili or ragu), spicy cold salads such as mango or green bean (not pictured below), raw and steamed cut vegetables, fresh herbs, roasted sweet potatoes, pork rinds and sticky rice.

I really enjoy making and having this style of meal. I am currently researching a vegetarian version: the standard version is laced with minced meats and fish sauce, but I am sure a satisfying vegetarian version is possible.

An overheard shot of a large wooden table with a variety of dipping sauces, fresh and steamed cut vegetables, pork rinds and sticky rice.
The sticky rice meal spread we had when my mom was visiting. Look at those cute zig-zag cut Thai eggplants, and the long beans tied in knots!

I used the Tom Ka paste to make soup for Fronx and I one time.

Tom ka goong with tasty plump shrimp
Tom ka goong with tasty plump shrimp

In truth, I threw out and replaced the tamarind, since it had lost its flavour and turned a mushy texture with an off taste. I have since learned about tamarind concentrate, which has a mouthwatering intensity. I used the tamarind concentrate to make Pad Mee Korat, a dish which is similar to Pad Thai.

I also used the soybean paste in the Pad Mee Korat! The paste takes a similar role as fish sauce would, but is vegetarian. I’ll be keeping this item stocked so I can make other yummy Northern Thai dishes for vegetarian friends.

Pad Mee Korat and crunchy sauerkraut
Pad Mee Korat! The white stuff on the side was thinly sliced cabbage that I briefly brined with a bit of rice vinegar and salt.

I did finally open the Thai pickled limes. But our fridge became overrun with various open jars of salt-pickled fruits. They all got a bit tinny tasting from rings of rust that formed under the lids. The time finally came to reset my salt-pickled fruit collection with a big purge. Bye bye pickled apricots. Bye bye preserved lemon brine. Hello middle shelf of the fridge.

Fronx ate the sardines in white wine. We have rotated through a number of kinds of tinned fish and presently have four tins of fish and fish pastes to work through. Yum.

I have eaten some of the mixed hot pickle as an accompaniment to grilled cheese sandwiches.

I finally tried the pumpkin butter that Kristin and Sebastian gave us as a gift. It tasted like pie filling! I ate it on crackers.

I replaced the expired pectin with pectin sugar, which we used to make habanero jam.

Things I cling to even though I did not use them in at least a year

Maybe I should give the Chinese dried chilis to Morgan and Daniel. They seem to use dried chilis by the bucketful at their place.

As for the red sticky rice: I did not do a good job of preparing it in the past (it was at once mushy and undercooked) which might explain my avoidance. Mostly, it involves quite a bit of planning ahead, which I am bad at. There seems no harm in keeping it around, though.

It kind of blows my mind knowing that if I did not use the laab seasoning mix, then that means I have not made laab in over a year. I think the reason we never used the Thai chicken curry sauce is because it’s too generic sounding to catch our attention. They actually both expired last month, so I might still end up trashing them.

The panch phoron might be have lost some of its flavour, but is likely still good for a while. I’ll also cling to the ancho chiles and wild rice for longer.

Things I threw away

I am tossing out the flattened rice, which I purchased in the spring of 2015, and the cinchona bark which I bought in the summer of 2015. The rest had all expired, allowing me to just give up on them. Well, not the golden syrup, but I can’t imagine what I would use it for, since as I have used it only once in my whole life and that was to make pecan pie for Christmas of 2015.

Final Tally

Items catalogued: 113 = 105 + 8 added along the way
Items used: 93 = 62 blogged about + 20 others + 11 outlined above
Items never used but I am still keeping: 7
Items never used and I threw away: 13


This project definitely pushed me to use items I had bought on a whim. Had I not been made fully conscious of everything I had squirrelled away, I would not have made many of the meals I ended up making.

I’m also glad to let go of some of the items. I do have to wonder why I still can’t bring myself to get rid of those 7 items I never used. I also wonder, without this project to push me, what will become of all things I have used but not used up.

Next project idea: preparing at least one recipe from each of the cookbooks in my library?

3 thoughts on “Pantry Inventory: The Conclusion

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