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Do you remember your granny’s kitchen with a attached store room adjoining the main cooking area? A room stocked with enough pulses, rice, spices to last a 10+ member joint family for over a year.

Every summer, when we would visit my grandparents’ on vacation, grandmother would have over 500 coconuts plucked from the trees, followed by a rigorous routine of dehusking, breaking the coconuts, separating the water and distributing it to everyone. There have been days when we’ve skipped lunch, thanks to a bucket full of coconut water followed by trips  to you know where :) Later, the coconuts would be left  to dry  in the hot summer sun for a week. Once it turned into kopra, she would get them processed in the neighborhood machine for extracting coconut oil. The oil would then be filtered and stored in tins – enough to last the family until next summer.

Various kinds of Mango pickles in huge earthen jars, rice obtained from the village fields stored in gunny bags, sun-dried pulses, and turmeric processed into powder after drying and grinding are among a few things which were done once annually. It was very economical to run a huge family this way though it meant a lot of hard work. But with so many ladies and helping kids around, it didn’t seem like a daunting task, something that I can’t even imagine doing/getting done today.

The biggest factor to accomplish this today as I see is space, with restrictions on time and effort aside. We are the processed food and tetra-pack generation. As much as I would love to shop for groceries just once a month, there isn’t enough space in my pigeon-hole metro apartment (alrighty 1,400 sq.ft is not small, but it pales in comparison to those huge bungalows of my grandparents) for a store room. Maybe a cupboard for stocking groceries might help. For now, I buy groceries as and when required which, in turn, means multiple trips to Reliance Fresh/More  through the month. Due to a lack of space for keeping the 10-Kg containers that I have for storing rice or atta, I make do with smaller 5-Kg containers; its another thing that lining up 10-Kg containers will make the kitchen look like a kirana shop.

The plastic containers for spices is also relatively smaller – 100 gms. Many times, I don’t find smaller packs so I end up buying the 250 gms, which means there are scores of half-filled grocery packs lying around.  Instead of just dumping them in the cabinets, I seal the plastic by showing it in the flame once, and then neatly fold it and store it in a air-tight container.

Half-filled Grocery Bags in an Air Tight Container
Half-filled Grocery Bags in an Air Tight Container

What are your tricks? How do you efficiently stock groceries? I’m looking for ideas, go ahead and let your secret out!

3 Comments

  1. Oh, i have loads of tricks although the kitchen is my M-In-Law’s domain.
    – We have tall containers rather than large. Smaller footprint. That way, vertical space in shelves is used up. Each of the containers for dals and attas can easily store about a kilo at a time.
    – Less is best. We have a limit on utensils and glasses. If we have guests exceeding 6, we use disposable plates and cups. I’ve been using styrofoam, but I much prefer the leaf plates and cups (donnai/dron).
    – In a space where you can easily put in a shelf across, I buy these cheap plastic stackable shelves (ugly ones, I know), and put them in.
    -We also use these shelves to store glasses and coffee mugs on the counter. It airs them and they can be kept there soon after washing as they drip on the counter itself.
    – We have the same problem with packets, so I have these air-tight clips – easily available – and keep all of the packets in a bigger box.
    – In the kitchen, round containers are not necessarily better. I prefer rectangular or square ones that can be stacked one on top of each.

  2. laksh

    Thanks, Saritha. That was a lot of practical advice that I’m sure everyone would appreciate.

  3. I have a vintage rosewood cabinet just outside the kitchen. Its a box like cabinet that can be opened from the front through 2 sliding doors. The top of the cabinet doubles up for a bench and the inside holds all my extra grocery.

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