Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pretty Pantry Project, or An Ode to Tupperware

I should point out that this is not the current state of my pantry, this was taken back in April when I completely cleaned and organized our tiny little kitchen and took this photo as proof that it was, at least at one point in time, beautiful.

I love Tupperware. I love the product, the idea, and the whole story of how a scientist with an idea and an outgoing divorcee with a penchant for parties came together to create an empire, and then when that divorcee started getting too much of the limelight, the scientist fired her and a significant section of the magic disappeared. The 1950's were a decade of wonder and automation and relative ease. All of the worst foods we cling to today were created in the 50's - sugar cereals, TV dinners, M&Ms, chex mix - if it was highly processed, it came from the 50's. Mmmmmm.

Suffice it to say I am enamored with Tupperware, a trait likely gained from my mother whose pantry I should also steal a pic of - she could be in Tupperware advertisements. While most teens fight with their parents about curfews and allowance, my mother and I were locked in an epic battle of "you'd better return this Tupperware!" and "This better not end up in your locker!"

But now I have my own Tupperware. And it is wonderful.

A small 1940's kitchen provides a few challenges as far as storage space, and Tupperware was my answer. We have two sets of cupboards, one full of dishes, and this one which must store all of our non-refrigerated food. The top shelves are fairly inaccessible except with a chair, so we needed most of our daily things on the first few levels. There is a reasonable depth available, so I started with the "Super Oval Pantry Set." These are the perfect depth, and stack so that various containers end up the same heights, perfect for a cupboard. They are partially transparent so you can tell what is in each one, and the Tupperware seal means they are air tight and everything stays fresh.

We also had picked up several "cereal storers" along the way, so I have a collection of the original clear, black, and red seals, but they all do the same thing - they store a whole box (or most of a giant costco bag) of cereal with an air-tight seal, so much better than a cardboard box. These are all lined up on the 3rd shelf with the pancake mix & other breakfast goodies.

On the high shelf I decided to store my baking staples - flour, sugars, chopped nuts, etc. Since I needed to hold a bigger volume but didn't have as much height on the top shelves I went with the "Modular Mates Rectangles" set. These are great because I don't use them very often, but know that the Tupperware seal keeps it all fresh in between.

Tupperware isn't cheap, so it was a little hard to make such an investment initially - but it lasts virtually forever. If your Tupperware breaks down or has a defect, the company will replace it for you - even years later, and believe me, my family has taken advantage of that policy and they really come through. Having everything in my pantry organized and accessible was well worth a few hundred dollars up front, now everything has its place and I'm not losing food to bad containers, forgetting it's mashed behind something else, or wasting time searching for stuff that's hard to find. It makes baking a lot more fun too.

Need to order some Tupperware? My current "Tupperware Lady" is Elda Hanson, I met her through some vendor fairs in the burbs and she's great - always makes it worthwhile to order through her, she never pressures me to have a party, and she sends out good deals every once in a while, which is how I bought my initial pantry set. elda@my2.tupperware.com

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