Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - 8

MILL CREEK STORIES

Holiday Pantry
Plus a brief foray into freezer frenzies.
By MOLLY DUGGER BRENNAN | Illustration by JOSEPH MACKERETH

E

ven though I grew up in a real family of eaters,
our houses always had miniscule pantries. They
were jam-packed with stuff, piled on top of
each other, until you had to move five things to
get to one. That also meant you'd forget what
was in the pantry, so you bought more. When
my mother passed away, we found five tiny jars
of pimentos in the pantry. The odd thing is, I do not
recall her ever using pimentos in any recipe. What were
they for?
Every time we went to the grocery store, we got home
bumping right up against dinner time so the new stuff
was just slammed into the pantry as quickly as possible
to get dinner on the table. And every time we did that,
Mama would say that we were going to organize it as
soon as we finished the meal, but we never did.
I am sorry that my mother passed away before the
grocery store rotisserie chicken craze really took off. She
would have thought that was a humdinger of an idea.
I'm also sure that grocery store rotisserie chicken would
have become our main source of protein, since it would
have made her life easier. That would have been fine

8

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

with me, since my Mama's baked chicken was always
desert dry, though you can rest assured it never had a
lick of salmonella.
Mama also thought that you were not a functioning
adult unless you had a chest freezer somewhere in your
house that was completely full. She was a child of the
Great Depression, riding it out in a little log cabin with
two older brothers and her parents, and if you had a pantry and a freezer full of food, you were rich. Your bedtime
prayers did not center around food. You were living large.
My opinion? Freezers are wonderful things until
they're not. I grew up in an area that had power outages
every winter, sometimes five days or more. Oh, how my
mother fretted then. One year, she had the bright idea to
bring snow inside and pack that into the freezer to keep
our goodies cold. That worked fine until the power came
back on and everything froze together into a giant threefoot by five-foot ice cube.
Can I just tell you that I am a big fan of labeling your
freezer contents, because I am. You will not remember
five months from now what that tin foil triangle contains. It could be cake, pie, pizza, or an odd-shaped piece


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Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020

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Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - Cover1
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Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - 3
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Blue Ridge Country November/December 2020 - Cover3
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