I can hardly contain myself…

Good storage containers

This morning, before I had begun the normal business of my day, I had gathered together a handful of empty, disposable containers. Shaving cream aerosol, milk container, egg box, kitchen roll, firelighter box and deodorant were part of the early morning catch. The more I looked about the house the more I realised that the preponderance of objects in the house were containers which, apart from the Ming vases that I wish I had, would all reach their moment of being empty, unwanted and de trop. “Not wanted on voyage” is an annotation from another age but it seemed apposite this morning. It seems that we have more in common with squirrels than monkeys  apart from the opposable thumb. The more I look the clearer it becomes that storage is our main occupation. Remove all the forms of storage from your dwelling and little remains. Which neatly segues into the little remains that we find from ancient civilisations. We could build another set of pyramids with the amphora, bottles and boxes that we unearth daily and we, in our turn, will have assured a plentiful supply of buried, non biodegradable plastic enabling archaeologists of the future to ponder the replacement of charmless practicality over artisan craft by the generations of the 20th and 21st centuries. The dual interests of cooking and photography produce the need  for containers at a similar rate to the egg production of battery chickens on piece work, yet the containers they produce are non pareil in their brilliance and conception (sic). Standing in the kitchen, I’m scanning the shelves, worktops and cupboards in and on which are displayed numerous and varied containers in a range of materials that includes glass, straw, wickerwork, plastic, bakelite,  resin, cast iron, copper, tin, steel, rubber,aluminium, earthenware, china, porcelain, alabaster, paper, cardboard, linen, polystyrene, crystal, pine, olive wood, mahogany and probably many others, the names of which I do not know. If I remove the containers from the room I’m left with the worktops, hob, extractor, knives, cutlery, seats and wall art which gets us pretty much back to the cave ( for hob read fire and for extractor read the hole leading into the cave) where mankind lived before mankind checked out the squirrels. Squirrels are smart enough to store what they need and, when they’ve eaten it, go to sleep until such a time as more will be available. I’ve tried this system which has probably led to my current penury so avoid total squirreldom. On the other hand, do I need the store cupboard mentality which is the reason for most of the containers. It’s only when moving house, which we have done often, that the true sadness of half full jars of spices and aromatics that are bereft of their spiciness or their aromas becomes evident. And yet I can hardly contain myself as I await the arrival by post of two packets of Panko. Tufty the squirrel is alive and well in the Vendee. Here is an example of a simplified larder.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Art photography, Cooking, Excess, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, French countryside, Herbs and Spices, Humour, Kitchens, lifestyle, Panko, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Uncategorized, Vendee, Wine, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to I can hardly contain myself…

  1. Mad Dog says:

    I love the larder 🙂
    It’s quite amazing to believe that 100 years ago most people could fit all their belongings into a small suitcase!

  2. Love the picture but the larder is crying out for shelves 🙂

  3. MTM and I are in a downsizing mode, and it never fails to astonish me how much stuff we’ve accumulated in a decade. I love the larder picture, Roger, but the wine, now there you have your priorities in order. 🙂

    At our old house, we investigated turning the old cistern into a wine cellar. Unfortunately, we are too close to sea level in Charleston. We dug about four feet and hit water, not an environment conducive to storing wine.

  4. I so agree with you – even in our temporary home we have accumulated packets a plenty! Panko bought this morning – hopefully it will be winging it´s way to you tomorrow 🙂

  5. Beautiful photo of the grenier, but it must be a bit inconvenient to climb up there every time you want some potatoes!

  6. Food writing/blogging has brought out the squirrel in me.. I’m afraid new and exciting ingredients leave behind half containers, etc. My favorite store where we go in the summer is completely organic bulk foods. New recipe.. no problem! I can spoon 1 cup of a specialty flour into a bag and pay and use only what I need. I wanted to start one of those here, but it sounds like the shop owner has family here, so they’ll be doing so.. soon I hope, I have visions of everything falling on my head.. or being on the Hoarders television show.. xx

  7. Eha says:

    Roger, there are days when you write well, and days when you as a scribe act as an artist and those one cannot surpass: as today . . . ‘Not wanted on voyage’ brings forth the real meaning of POSH and the Raj and the East India Coy: how absolutely delightful in rememebering and reaching for those books . . . Oh, in spite of all logic, I am a hoarder and a keeper and the owner of all kinds of ‘containers’ of such little use in the morrows . . .

  8. I love Panko! and i cannot handle storage with doors as I always forget what rests behind them. Open air shelving is the way to go these days 🙂

  9. ChgoJohn says:

    This post could not be more timely. Just 2 days ago, i opened the closet in this room to find it packed with containers of stuff. I grabbed a box and started carting it to the trash bins. One closet down and a half-dozen more to go. “Not wanted on voyage” will be my new motto.

  10. Tandy says:

    We actively recycle here and I’m amazed each week how much more recyclable waste is disposed of compared to actual rubbish!

  11. The only thing good about moving is getting rid of all the junk you’ll never need or use. But it’s painful, so painful.

  12. That is a very simple larder indeed, Roger.

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