Saturday, 6 December 2008

Big Pantry, Small Oven

I'm in the midst of writing a post on my tendency to become over-invested in certain political outcomes. As an antidote to such things, I have once again tried to focus on the small and the basic: food and the storage and cooking thereof.

A few weeks ago I picked up what I thought would be a nifty way to use our woodstove to bake on - this little campstove oven. The salesperson at the camping store thought it might not get hot enough on top of a woodstove, but when I explained that it was our household woodstove, not a camping woodstove, he and I figured it would be worth a try.

Well, it works about as well as my home-made solar oven, getting up to a maximum of 250 F. I am still roasting some veggies in there right now -- they've been in for about 5 1/2 hours so far and the potatoes still aren't soft. So unfortunately, this neat little stove will have less utility than I though it would. The good part is that we did pick up a used Coleman campstove at a garage sale this summer, and that's what the oven is designed for. So it is not a total loss.

Also, this weekend we have finally gotten our basement pantry shelves assembled and securely fastened to the wall. We looked around a few places for some used shelving, and also tried to cobble something together out of some wood we already had, but in the end decided to go with two very reasonably priced wooden shelving units from Rona. Both Gord and I are very happy with them - they turned out well and are quite sturdy.

I've been ramping up my food storage over the past six months or so, and I put what I had stored so far on our wobbly ping-pong table onto these sturdy shelves. It's a good start, but I can see that I have a ways to go towards my goal of having 3 months worth of food stored.

These shelves, combined with our small freezer and the pantry upstairs should give us enough storage room for that goal though, and now I can easily see how much of each type of foodstuff we have. I think we're good for peanut butter for a while! And pasta and rice. But I could do with some more canned fruit and soup, and my two little cans of pickled beans look pretty lonely. But it feels good to see food on the shelves, and know that I can cook and bake without electricity, even if it is a little slow!

6 comments:

artbystrongheart said...

Very impressive. Extra room for storage (and a tornado shelter) are two reasons I really wish I had a basement. I love the space you have available for storage. I have room in my garage, but am afraid of what the change in weather would do to my food stuffs.

Theresa said...

Thanks Artby. The basement does come in handy. It's set up as our emergency retreat area, because we do get tornadoes here on occasion. We've got the woodstove down there, stored water and some stored food - I really need to put a manual can opener down there too, come to think of it. We've got some old furniture and blankets/pillows/sleeping bags down there as well. It's not perfect, but it does make me feel a bit more prepared for emergencies, be they of the short or long type.

Is your garage insulated? Ours isn't, and the temps vary widely in there. I am considering getting an old freezer or at least some coolers to use in the winter to keep some of my stored veggies from freezing if I keep them in there. With the woodstove going in the basement, it's now too warm to store the veggies down there.....

Hausfrau said...

Thanks for the pics. What kind of woodstove do you have?

Theresa said...

Hausfrau - it is a "Regency"

Desiree said...

Wow, what a great opportunity for storage you have! I would love to have some extra room for that sort of thing. I have an enclosed porch, but like artbystrongheart, it's more like garage temperatures and wouldn't be all that great. I even thought of a small freezer to put out there, but alas, there is no electricity out there. So I do with what I can for storage.

I just remind myself that I'm still only 23 yet, and living in an apartment that I don't own will not of course have the options I want. Atleast I'll have all these thoughts when I move on to my own place in a few years. :)

Theresa said...

Thanks Desiree, it is serving it's purpose very well! You're right that you'll be able to keep such things in mind for your next place, and it can be quite amazing what you can store in a small space if you get creative. It was amazing what I used to store under my bed when I lived in apartments ore basement suites. And the beauty of a smaller space is just having less stuff overall - there's a lot to be said for that!