In our new(ish) home, I am fortunate to have a cold storage room in the basement where I can keep my canning overflow. This is such a big change from my last place, where canning was stored wherever I could fit it: out of reach in high closets and cupboards, in boxes shoved underneath the couch and the bed. Over the years I became very adept at finding places to stuff jars of food. Of course, these were less than ideal conditions for storing canning long-term as the temperatures were a bit too warm, and it was extremely difficult keeping track of stock.
Now where are the pickles again? Underneath the bed, or at the back of my closet behind the socks?
The new storage room is fabulous, but it is in a difficult to access part of the basement. I have to climb over a hazardous mountain of bikes and bike parts to reach it, and since there is no light, I must also fumble in the dark in a spooky, cobwebbed room with a flashlight or make sure that I only traverse down there before night fall. I’m pretty sure this is where the former occupants kept their pet monster.
Since moving in, I’ve been keeping some of my most popular canning stock in the kitchen so as to avoid THAT ROOM. So when we finally got around to setting up our dining room properly a few months back, I decided that it would be nice to dedicate some space to house a larger quantity of food in jars. The convenience was required, but I have to admit that vanity was also a major factor. Canning is handiwork that I take a lot of pride in and I wanted to be able to see and enjoy those beautiful jars of apocalyptic snack foods regularly, rather than keep it hidden down in a dark and dingy, nightmare-inspiring, cell-sized food prison.
My out-of-control cookbook collection is also kept in the kitchen. It seemed the most likely place to keep cookbooks at first, but to be honest, I tend to use cookbooks for the experience and pleasurable enjoyment of food culture than for the recipes. I think of them more as photobooks and prefer to pursue the pages at my leisure when I need inspiration or am suffering a bought of wanderlust. For that reason, they are better kept close to a comfy sitting spot than a busy kitchen. Furthermore, our new kitchen is awkward and does not have much cupboard space. My cookbook collection was quickly outgrowing its place, and I thought that the shelf space it was using up could be best put for storing pots and pans and the like. So it was in a moment of inspiration that we hauled our old, buckling from the weight of too many books, red (I think this colour is discontinued) mid90s Ikea Billy bookshelf down into the dining room as a place to display and enjoy both my canning and my cookbooks.
I love this new system. The dining room is just the right spot for both collections. Unfortunately, as you can see, the cookbooks are already outgrowing their new home.
The above photo was originally taken with my cellphone and uploaded to my Instagram account (@yougrowgirl).