Somehow in winter I feel a bit less evolved, just slightly more instinctual. I become a mouse tucked into my home of twigs and leaves, a she-bear asleep in my cave. There is no logical reason that I should start nesting. But I do. I find myself stocking up a bit. During these dark, wet days of winter, there is a deep, primal satisfaction in knowing that the freezer is full of meat, the crisper is rolling with potatoes and onions, and the cupboards are stocked with beans, grains, and pasta. Instead of one chocolate bar, I have a stack of four. It comforts me to know they are there.
Perhaps it is also the nesting instinct that motivates my annual post-Christmas organizing spree. Maybe the winter solstice signals that it is time to reorder my nest. I like to take a couple of days to putter around and weed out my old clothes for charity, go through my files, sort out the closets, organize the kitchen cupboards, and start the year fresh. It does my orderly soul good to see the extraneous removed, and everything in its place.
While I was still in the midst of this ritual, I happened to read a blog post entitled Create an Organized Spice Rack: Check. Is there anything more satisfying than a perfectly organized spice rack? The little containers, the labels, the (mildly obsessive) linear beauty. It got me thinking. I’ve got a label maker, and I love an opportunity to use it.
My spices are in good enough shape for now. But I was inspired to tackle my flour collection…pile…um…situation. What with one thing and another, I’ve got quite a few different sorts of flour. I make various kinds of whole grain bread in the bread machine, for one thing. So I’ve got the big glass containers of white and whole wheat flour on the counter. And plastic containters of ground flax and gluten in the freezer. And bags filled with smaller and larger quantities of assorted flour from the co-op. I knew that I should be storing these better, but you know how it goes—a little rye here, a little buckwheat there…
My solution was to pull all of those bags out of the cupboard, get some mason jars out of their boxes in the garage, and when I needed a few more, like a crow venturing busily out seeking leaves to line my nest, I made a trip to the Goodwill, where mason jars go for twenty cents apiece. I ran all the jars through the dishwasher. Then I had the supreme satisfaction of dumping all of those little bags into jars, screwing on the lids, and labeling them to my heart’s content. Rice flour, millet flour, spelt, cornmeal.
There were a few mystery bags, too. What was the beige flour labeled only with item number 3366? On my next trip to the co-op I discovered that 3366 is whole wheat pastry flour.
It is so gorgeous, that row of sparkly jars with their clearly visible contents. Some went in the cupboard, the more perishable in the freezer, and it makes me happy just to walk by and peek in. Now I’m thinking about a similar solution for the bags of legumes.