Today, I had a long list of things to organise, each of which required a telephone call and then making an appointment of some kind. My heart sank and I realised I would actually prefer to clear out kitchen cupboards as part of my ongoing decluttering, tidying and cleaning mania. It turned out to be not so much tidying as throwing out. All those dead spices (‘use by 20.11.08’)! The baking ingredients part used and now useless (yellowing desiccated coconut, glacé cherries hopelessly glued together)! When recycling day comes around, I shall have trouble carrying out the bottle box. I now have spaces where before there was danger of a landslip of tins and packets every time I opened the cupboard door, but some restocking will be necessary. How lucky for Waitrose.
I was reminded of the famous comment by Mr Colman* (of mustard fame) that he made his fortune out of ‘what people leave on the side of the plate’. Perhaps the fortunes of Schwartz, Whitworth’s and other retailers of cooking ingredients are based on the good intentions of people who actually intend to cook with the things they pluck off the supermarket shelf because ‘you always need them’. Do you think Nigella actually uses every single item in those amazing store cupboards of hers, containing every ingredient necessary to make every possible dish?
*I found three tins of Colman’s mustard powder, all out of date. Moral: if you kept your cupboards tidier, you wouldn’t buy something you already had. Help, I haven't even started on the fridge.