Pantry? You fancy rich people and your pantries! Back in the ol' glory days of high school my brother, his friend and I were at my Gramma's chillin' (mind you - we weren't chillaxin' - that hadn't been invented yet.) My brother's friend gets thirsty and heads to the kitchen to get a drink. He loudly proclaims that, "there are not any glasses!" We holler back that there is - he insists there is not. We yell back that they - are - right - there - in - the - cupboard. To which, he replies, "You fancy rich people and your fancy cupboards with doors!" That sure cracked us up! I still find it pretty hilarious to this day. We were pretty far from actually being rich, but gosh darn it, we did have doors on our cupboards (something he was unaccustomed to) so I guess it is all about perspective, eh?
What was the point of that story again? Oh right, I never really had a "pantry" growing up. I'm not sure why I'm putting "pantry" in quotes - I suppose in my mind it's still one of "those fancy rich things" we just didn't have. Intellectually, I know that is just silly & clearly not the point of this prompt... so please... stick with me as I continue.
How have my eating habits changed over the years? First, I'll need to take you back to my childhood home in a small town in rural Michigan. So, what's for dinner? Well... like any other self respecting working class midwestern family we ate; meat, potatoes, veggie, with bread & butter (or yummy biscuits hot out of the oven.) We ate this ALL the time! Meat, potatoes, veggie, repeat! Meat, potatoes, veggie, repeat! We did have a few regular exceptions to the meat, potato, veggie rule. These included tacos (before soft shell were cool), chili, spaghetti, potato & ham soup, and mom's homemade pizza (okay - she made it from a Chef Boyardee box - but, she added to it and boy was it yummy!)
ate rice. My dad seemed to develop some type of aversion to the stuff after he "won" "the lottery" at 18 and got that all expenses paid trip abroad. My parents never forced us to eat yucky things like liver or brussels sprouts, and I was always grateful for that.
So, what has changed? Well, I suppose a lot, but things have been changing for a while... long before I moved abroad. At 18, I moved away from home to go to college. There I was exposed to exotic things like hummus & fajitas. My roommate laughed at me the first time I saw a pomegranate and said, "that's a funny looking apple." I tried strange cuisines like Chinese & Indian. I studied abroad in Scotland and lived with Europeans who taught me how to cook pasta sauce from scratch & exposed me to fancy cheeses.
I moved to Chicago and ate at Thai, Peruvian, & Ethiopian restaurants. I became a big city girl with big city tastes. I bravely ate things my parents wouldn't have wanted to try. I liked trying new things - tasting new cultures.
I moved to Sydney & it was much of the same, "the world is my oyster." A diverse metropolitan area I've dined out at Lebanese, Spanish, Turkish, Polish, Czech, Malaysian, Japanese, & even Uyghur
I've loved it - I really have - but, ya know what? I'd still be happy eating potatoes everyday. There is just something about the comfort of what you grew up eating that just makes you happy. Plus, potatoes are awesome & you can cook them so many different ways! The Tall Aussie with a Slavic Name that Sounds full of Dread would disagree about the wonders of eating potatoes each and everyday. He's always pressing me to look past the ol' meat, potato, veggie mentality at the grocery store to buy new & exciting things to cook. So somewhere between the, "look babe, just because we watch Masterchef doesn't mean we are gourmet chefs!" & "okay, let's try to make something new" my life has struck a balance of new and old... and I, for one, can certainly live with that.