Stocking an Urban Pantry

As a Martha-wanna-be I'm always interested to see the newest and greatest info that comes about about modern and urban homemaking. While I'm infatuated with the idea of moving to an island somewhere and having a little farm, the truth is that it may be many years before that happens, if ever. For now I'm living the twenty's life - renting and making do with a less-than-ideal kitchen, a shortage on storage space, and (on the plus side) an urban location with access to all kinds of goods.

That's why I'm so excited for The Urban Pantry to come out! This book by Seattle author and foodie Amy Pennington (also known as the "Go Go Green Gardener") is destined to be loved and cherished by many urbanites who want "tips and recipes for a thrifty, sustainable and seasonal kitchen." Heck, she could have just put my name on the cover with a big "BUY ME" sticker.

I got to take a sneak peek at the books contents (it will be in stores in April) and immediately added it to my Amazon wishlist. Pennington stresses the use of local and seasonal ingredients for the best meals, but it was her practical use of those pantry-lurkers that really brought me in. You know, the weird grain you bought for a 1/4 cup for a random recipe and the rest of it has been lurking on a shelf since then because, dang it, it cost like $10 and you can't just THROW IT AWAY. Well Pennington likely has a recipe that uses it up. Along with some of those random spices that you accumulated. And she shares her tips for making sure you're stocking your pantry with items you'll actually use.

Sure, there were a few items I raised my eyebrows at (four kinds of flour, NOT including all-purpose?) but she follows up with great explanations of what each pantry-essential is used for and why. Do you know what kind of sugar is best for melting? Pennington does. And she has a recipe that will use it.

But this isn't just a big shopping list (although she does have great time-saving tips like keeping a pound of bacon in the freezer for when you just need a bit for flavor, or keeping smoked fish on hand for when you are too busy to cook something BEFORE adding it to your pasta salad). She has a whole chapter on "kitchen economy" - using up the bits and pieces of every ingredient you buy. She also has great advice on how to properly store things like fresh herbs that might otherwise go to waste. And my favorite, a chapter on canning and preserving food, so the fresh strawberries you pick up this summer at the farmer's market can still be enjoyed next December.

I can't wait to get this book and read it front to back (even including the recipes and the gorgeous photography by Della Chen). This will really come in handy when we start harvesting from our little garden too! Interested? You can pre-order the book, or just wait for it to hit shelves this April.

Note: I did not receive any payment for this post or for links. I didn't even get a free book. But if I do, I'll be sure to get an extra one and definitely do a giveaway!