Yard Sales

Yard sale kittyNo, Tasha the White Cat won’t get sold along with the rest of the stuff slated for our upcoming yard sale, but sometimes I’m tempted. She can be the most annoying, whiny, aggravating little thing — and then she curls up right beside you and tucks her head under and goes to sleep and looks so sweet that you forgive her for the 3 a.m. wakeup calls. Even my husband John Pitts overlooks her irritating determination to get on the other side of any — every? — door, no matter what time of day or night and her overwhelming jump-in-your-lap need to have some of whatever anybody else is eating. Too bad she doesn’t have thumbs and can’t help with yard-sale pricing. We usually donate stuff we accumulate and don’t want to a local church-run thrift store, but somehow we still had tons of stuff taking up prime space. We pretty much have an empty nest now with Older Daughter off and married and Younger Daughter off at college — I always tell them that I don’t mind keeping/storing their stuff, as long as it’s stuff they know they want to keep/store. If not, let’s let it be somebody else’s junk. We haven’t had a yard sale for years and years, and I sweetened the deal by offering each of the daughters half of the proceeds if they’d help declutter. You can see the response here — and this is just part of what we’ve got to sell. Except for the kitty. She stays. I guess.

Organizing the Kitchen

spices-2-0023new-spice2I cleaned out my spice drawer this week! I’m so proud of myself!!! Isn’t the newly organized and easily accessible drawer a a work of art now? I mean, I know it’s not alphabetized or arranged in descending order of expiration dates, but you have to admit it’s about 40 times better. Remember what it looked like before? Yuck — the sorry result of unbridled optimism that this might be the night I actually will make Nigella Lawson’s Honeyed Almond and Orange Cake with Figs … if only Survivor and Ugly Betty weren’t on. I have my priorities, after all, right? But after writing about it in my TimesDaily column today, I realized how pathetic it is to hold on to chili powder from 1983 and that it all had to go: http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20081120/ARTICLES/811200346

How Old Are Your Spices?

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Are you like me when it comes to spices? Digging through the jumble of your spice drawer is an archaeological dig of your culinary life: Oh, there’s that bottle of tumeric you needed when a Middle Eastern recipe called for 1/8 teaspoon — and you haven’t used it since. There’s the dip mix you bought at a friend’s home-selling party and the remains of your prolific sesame-seed bread-baking period. (Who knew you could get tired of sesame seeds?) There’s the souvenir pink Hawaiian sea salt you never opened. And what the heck is ground coriander seed anyway? Perhaps you need to do some spice cleaning. Or, you may have your spices neatly labled and constantly updated. If so, would you please come do that for me? I’ll even bake you some bread with sesame seeds on top! In the meantime, if you have McCormick spices of unknown age but you vaguely remember wearing shoulder pads when you bought them, go to the McCormick Web site — http://www.mccormick.com/Spices101/HowOldSpices.aspx — and type in the code on the bottom of the jars. Just be prepared. Apparently I still have a bottle of McCormick Chili Powder I bought when I had only the one child — and my second child is 22. Ouch. I do not want to find out what 23-year-old chili powder tastes like. I see spice-drawer cleaning in my very near future.