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What is in your Pantry that was not in your Mom`s?

Recently a post was the reverse and it got me thinking about the items in my pantry that were not in my Mom's. I'm sure we have much more in our pantry and as well much more imported goods. So what is in your pantry that was not in your Mom's? Panko breadcrumbs were definitely not in my Mom's but they are in mine.

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  1. Hmm; I actually have many similar items. I suppose that all the Goya goods that I have (tuna stuffed olives, Adobo, sliced jalapenos) would be absent in Mom's. I also keep on hand heavy cream and unsweetened coconut, which Mom never had (not pantry, but still).

    1. Far more spices and herbs. Fresh herbs. Brown eggs. Greek yogurt. Pre packaged breadcrumbs of any type. Pumpkin butter. Irish butter. A Kitchenaid. A lemongrass plant. Wine and liquor. Coffee BEANS. Just to name a few :)

      26 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        Came to me while using it yesterday .......pomegranate molasses.

        1. re: HillJ

          I have seen this at a grocery store but hesitated on buying it. What do you use this for?

          1. re: Ruthie789

            Yesterday I marinated a pork loin in the molasses for about an hour and then grilled it. Sliced and served with a vinegar slaw. Really tasty. From one bottle I can get 6 marinades. Next time I'm going to blend the molasses with a bit of red wine and see how I like it as a dressing for turkey legs.

            1. re: HillJ

              Thank you will go back and make that purchase I have been hesitating about.

              1. re: Ruthie789

                I'll be curious what you pay for a bottle, Ruthie. U.S./on the eastcoast I've seen the molasses for as much as $11.00 for 8 oz. and on the westcoast I've paid $4.00 for 16 oz.

                1. re: HillJ

                  I will let you know. I go to a grocery store specializing in Middle Eastern foods, the prices are usually good as well as the quality. As I recall it was expensive for molasses which may have been one of the reasons for hesitating on the purchase.

                  1. re: Ruthie789

                    On the eastcoast I go to an Indian shop actually and on the westcoast an Armenian deli.

                    1. re: cathodetube

                      True, plenty of choices on Amazon. But unless I have a few reasons to buy from them, I'd rather go local.

              2. re: Ruthie789

                Ruthie - it's great in marinades; it's superb drizzled on pan-seared duck breast, it can be used in salad dressings, etc. Some previous threads:


                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Thank you Linda, am going to give it a try. I go to a Middle Eastern market, so many spices, and products I have never heard of. I sometimes want to try but I restrain myself....

                  1. re: Ruthie789

                    I'd bet if you asked the storekeeper of a small market, they'd be pleased to let you know how to use unfamiliar-to-you ingredients.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Well I did make the suggestion sometime ago. It was not really well received.

                      1. re: Ruthie789

                        The storekeeper wasn't helpful in suggesting uses, Ruthie?

                2. re: Ruthie789

                  A non-cooking application: I pour a bit into a glass then fill with soda water. Pomegranate soda!

                  1. re: coney with everything

                    Really, you use the pomm molasses not pomm juice?

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Yes,I way prefer just drops of pomegranate molasses or cranberry syrup with soda water over diluted juice.
                      I like fruit,fruit flavours,but not straight fruit juice.Just too sweet for me.

                      1. re: lcool

                        I'm going to try it, lcool. I don't care for too sweet either but I never considered fresh juiced pomm or cranberry sweet on their own.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          I don't like sweet drinks either. Try lime cordial in soda water and ice. Pretty sure you can get that over in the US. It's usually Roses. It's also good added to a beer. Called lager and lime over here. Wouldn't use the malt liquor type though.

                          Also try ginger beer (non-alcoholic) with a big squeeze of lime.

                          1. re: cathodetube

                            Right up my alley, cathod. Thank you. I love these types of drinks.

                            The ginger beer is actually a big ingredient for me in baking recipes. Whenever a recipe calls for liquid and I think a kick of ginger beer would enhance, I add it.

                            I get teased for the amount of standard citrus I keep stocked at home. Lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit, mandarin, etc.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              Wonder what pulled pork would be like with ginger beer in a crock pot? Or even chicken cooked in ginger beer, also in a crock pot?

                              Can you get Old Jamaica ginger beer there?

                              1. re: cathodetube

                                Sounds mighty tasty to me. No, I can't say that I've seen Old Jamaica GB anywhere that I've shopped. Most of the brands I buy are found at health food stores or Whole Foods, occasionally a specialty deli. What's special about Old J?

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  It is one of the original ones sold here. Lots of supermarkets now do their own versions which are cheaper. You can also buy ginger cordial here and dilute. Another thing to do is take lemonade - like seven up, and add to beer as a very refreshing drink. It's called a shandy. In English pubs it was/is usually a woman and even child's drink. Kinda like how the French dilute their wine for kids at the dinner table.

                                2. re: cathodetube

                                  Md,DC suburb,I have good luck finding Old Jamaica.Better yet some of the newer,small batch,cane sugar soda pop and brewers are offering up stellar ginger and birch beer.Goose Island for my personal favorite ginger beer.For some reason the SAFEWAY closest to me,Olney,Md is stocking Mexican Coke,Pepsi and Fanta as well and several brands of cane sugar sodas.

                                  1. re: lcool

                                    My thanks to you both! I'll keep my eyes open and I'm taking notes!

                                  2. re: cathodetube

                                    Ummm, I made a pulled pork using ginger beer back on Memorial Day weekend for my dinner. It was VERY good and will be the only way I make it from now on. Here's my write-up on the What's For Dinner thread, with a link to the recipe I used (I subbed ginger beer for the ginger ale called for):


                3. Re pantry - do fridge items count? Irish butter - do you mean Kerrygold? is very common here but I must say I do love French butter now, esp. the salted ones - sel de guerande preferable. I can't even remember her having butter on a regular basis; it was always margarine......yuck. Think she only bought butter for dinner parties or if we had someone to stay who baked, like my grandmother, or if my mother was going to bake something special, which she hardly ever did.

                  Plain yogurt, which includes greek yogurt. Far more cheese than she ever had.

                  Brown eggs in the UK are the norm. White ones are goose or duck eggs. You can even get blue ones now. I don't refrigerate my eggs, unlike my mother.

                  More nuts other than macadamia. She always had those. I don't because they are really expensive here. I have pecans, almonds, hazelnuts and pine nuts. I use mine for baking and salads; hers were for snacks with drinks.

                  Farro, risotto rice, japanese sticky rice, basmati rice.

                  Bizzarely my mother often had fresh basil in the summer anyway, and used to put it in green salads, esp. the purple kind.

                  Chutney, and various chili sauces.

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: cathodetube

                    I have a cold chest in my pantry that's why I included butter and yogurt. My Mom thought that brown eggs were odd so she never bought them. She did have a backyard garden but kept to very safe selections. The biggest diff btwn my pantry and one my Mom kept can be summed up in a word: safe vs. curious. HillJ being the more adventurous one.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      I think a lot of North Americans think brown eggs are odd, like they are dirty or something! I grew up with white eggs over there but there isn't the choice here, so I know regard white ones as peculiar. My kitchen is extremely cool and I can leave vegetables out in the winter for a few days and they don't spoil.

                      1. re: cathodetube

                        I actually think most Americans regard brown eggs as an egg that is both more healthy and somehow more organic than regular white eggs. Obviously, there is no difference in the eggs, just the breed of chickens. Any egg differences other than the color of the eggshell are because of the feed the hen eats.

                        1. re: John E.

                          My Mom never could explain what she had against buying or using brown eyes, it was just her quirk. I love all eggs.

                          1. re: HillJ

                            Apparently the only reason for white eggs in the U.S. is that the white leghorn chicken is slightly smaller and more feed efficient than the Rhode Island Red which lays brown eggs. I have a cousin with a henhouse and she sometimes brings over eggs that are white, brown, pale green, and pale blue.

                          2. re: John E.

                            My DH is very suspicious of brown eggs. I have no idea why. We usually only get them when were in St Lucia - where the egg carton contains an interesting variety of sizes and colors of eggs. They are so much more delicsious that what I get here at home. :)

                        2. re: HillJ

                          What is a cold chest? A lot of old English houses were built with a pantry on the north wall. They had marble shelves and tiled floors. Have stayed in many houses like that.

                          1. re: cathodetube

                            It looks like a wine cabinet except the shelving is set up differently. The exterior is stainless steel and the interior is stainless steel and fiberglass. I can adjust the shelves, the temp and move it around on casters. Items go in there that need to come to room temp quicker for me or just do better in cool but not cold space. My home is full sun, lots of windows and I have a sun room off the kitchen area so I have a difficult time keeping some items out for a prolonged period of time.

                          2. re: HillJ

                            Am I the only one who remembers the jingle? "Brown eggs are local eggs--and local eggs are fresh!"

                            My mom doesn't lack for much in the pantry, but she doesn't have:
                            Liquid Smoke
                            Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

                            But thanks to her, I do have Italian baking powder in mine! Oh, and powdered buttermilk, but that goes in the fridge. Thanks, ma!

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              "Brown eggs are local eggs--and local eggs are fresh!"

                              Only because of my best friends had a summer home in Cape Cod and we ate alot of eggs on our merger gal pal summer budget.

                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                Italian baking powder, what is the brand, would like to look for it here.

                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                  Ah, you're in Montreal. You may be able to find it in an Italian market or ask them to stock it (that's what my mom did in our local shop). If not, try here:

                                  It's for sweets and has vanilla in it, so remember to use your regular BP for savory purposes. :)

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Thank you. We have many Italian markets so I will now look out for that. I like to bake so baking powder with vanilla is interesting to me. Thank you.

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      Hi Kattyeyes, I was able to purchase the baking powder with vanilla. I now need to know how to use it as instructions are all in Italian. It seems that the package is good for 500 gms of flour. How much of it replaces 1 teaspoon of regular baking powder or how do you use it? As well the store also had sachets of vanilla essence only without the leavener. I will definitely be baking this weekend!

                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                        Hi, Ruthie--that's excellent! :) I use it one for one (so 1 tsp. = 1 tsp.) in ALL my sweets--brownies, cookies, cakes! Buon appetito!

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

                                          Thank you will be doing some baking this weekend!

                                  2. re: kattyeyes

                                    One more: bitter almond--a must for all almond lovers as it amplifies almond flavor with intensity. I only discovered it this year, but it's on my mind as I used it this morning in my gelato custard. REMEMBER: DO NOT, NOT, NOT lick the spoon afterwards. Talk about burn, baby, burn!

                                    More info on bitter almond here:

                              2. Dried beans, brown rice, whole spices, whole dried chiles, bread flour, vinegars other than white and cider, chipotles in adobo, many different hot sauces.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: AmyH

                                  I should have added many bottles and jars of Asian ingredients like kecap manis, black vinegar, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, kochujang, etc. Coconut milk, frozen banana leaves, aji amarillo, aji rojo picante, korean pepper, chuno, dried Asian mushrooms, various flours (rye, chickpea, etc).

                                  1. re: AmyH

                                    +1. Soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha.

                                2. Since my Mom didn't do a LOT of experimenting with cooking, I'd say 3/4 of what's in my pantry was not in my parents' pantry. Then again, Dad always had sake in the house, and I don't. Then again, I have cognac, they didn't. :-) Things in my pantry that wasn't in my parents' kitchen cabinets:

                                  Spices/herbs - I easily have 4x the amount Mom did - dried lavender and Aleppo pepper are two that weren't available when I was growing up - nor would Mom have used them.

                                  Condiments - Sriracha sauce, white wine Worcestershire sauce, a large assortment of whole grain/imported mustards (just Gulden's brown when I was growing up, and maybe Dijon when I was a bit older), champagne vinegar, olive oil (I think we used only vegetable or canola oil growing up).

                                  Dry goods - Israeli couscous, orzo, basmati & jasmine rices, coffee beans (as HillJ said above). The Panko crumbs that the OP mentioned - although my Mom now like Panko for topping mac & cheese, thanks to me. :-)

                                  I'm sure there are more, but those are what come to top of mind as I sit here at work. :-)

                                  1. Replying to my own self, crystalized ginger, better quality chocolate for baking. And for all of course it includes the items that were not in your Mom`s fridge.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                      My mom got ME into crystallized ginger! :)

                                      My vegetable crisper is a dedicated beer drawer (lemons and limes can live there if there's room, same for random vegetable purchases). Opposite drawer is my baking drawer: I don't think my mom has almond flour or corn flour, but nuts and coconut and all that happiness for sure.

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        You are blessed to have your Mom still with you.

                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                          Ruthie, this is very true! And I am grateful that, at age 77, she's still strong, healthy and always ready/willing to run around with me or try something new. ♥

                                    2. Sun-dried tomatoes, capers, orzo and De Cecco Angel Hair nests.

                                      1. Sushi rice and nori, rice noodles, almond and cashew butters, curry leaves, coconut milk, tofu, sriracha, jamaican hot sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, balsamic (actually I have about 5 different vinegars, my Mum thinks Malt is the only type), chickpeas, lentils, sea salt flakes, dried mushrooms, vanilla pods, wild rice, barley, various gluten free stir fry noodles and pastas (I'm not GF but I like to test different brands before I serve them to guests), olives.

                                        1. Molasses - I can't say growing up in England that I really remember seeing molasses in the stores. It is an ingredient I came to love when I moved to Canada.
                                          I'd say I easily have a larger selection of spices.
                                          Chicken stock - my mum is vegetarian, so there were zero animal stocks.
                                          There's likely more that I'm forgetting.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Musie

                                            Did you use dark treacle in England which is comparable to molasses if I understand correctly?

                                          2. So many things I don't know where to begin
                                            oolong tea,watercress,limes,wine,canned beans,lentils,quinoa,risotto,jasmine rice,panko bread crumbs,dried tomatoes,okra,thai hot sauce,fish sauce,malt vinegar cornmeal,pickling salt,pickling lime,different types of peppers, dried chiles, jalapeno pepper,olive oil,liquid smoke,kimchee,goat cheese,yougert, etc this list can go on

                                            1. Banh Trang Spring Roll wrappers.

                                              1. chili powders or really anything spicy
                                                asian ingredients other than soy sauce and that chow mein in a can (EEUW)

                                                that's all I've got at the moment.

                                                1. Partial list:

                                                  Rotel tomatoes
                                                  Bamboo shoots/water chestnuts
                                                  Fresh garlic
                                                  Pinto beans
                                                  Mole sauce
                                                  Dried chiles
                                                  Flour tortillas
                                                  Garam masala
                                                  Fig preserves

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: coney with everything

                                                    That's a great list, coney. And, it makes me ponder...if my Mom or Aunt (who is a superior cook) had had some of these items back when I was a young child/teen, would they have bought them. I know my Aunt (who is 87) has changed her pantry with the decades. And when she & I go shopping together it's such a marvel for her, sometimes even a personal challenge to buy some item she has never had and work it into a dish.

                                                    Pantries are time capsules.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      AMEN to the time capsule

                                                      I doubt there is anything in my pantry my parents would not have included.French mother,Scottish father and multinational friends were reflected in our pantry,frig and at the table,US&Europe.
                                                      In the 1950's it was French olive oil,many cheeses,dried mushrooms,many varieties of peppers,two kinds of butter etc.Flash forward to the 90's and both are now 90,with us for the next 5&6 years.Without a blink all of our pantry was very routine.Mom the dairy lover was thrilled with almost limitless selections.Dad was great coffee and all fruits and vegetables.Both saddened to see the decline in fish,shellfish quality as easy cheaper quantity came to be.International condiments and spices were natural additions.

                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        HillJ, I know my mom would never had bought them--she was a "food as fuel" type who didn't care much for cooking. But she made sure we always had food and plenty of it, as she had grown up very poor during the Depression.

                                                        In her last years, she had discovered the senior citizen Taco Bell meal--regular hard shell taco and a pop--and contentedly ate that most days for lunch.

                                                    2. Basmati rice
                                                      Tinned coconut milk
                                                      Tinned green curry paste
                                                      Jarred coriander paste
                                                      Sriacha sauce and chili paste

                                                      I'm not sure my mother ever kept whole cardamom or nutmeg. She had the powders though.

                                                      Ditto on the panko.

                                                      1. Dark soy sauce, doubanjiang, seaweeds and Shaoxing. Indian microwave dinners. Homemade preserves. Real butter. Cooking wine I'd drink. Chicken stock that doesn't come in cube form.

                                                        Panko crumbs were in my mother's pantry, though I probably use them a lot more than she did in the lipophobic 90s.

                                                        1. Oh God, where to start? Neither of my parents were particularly great or adventurous cooks. That said, they also had full-time jobs, three kids and managed to give us three meals a day, so I'm not knocking them for it: But yeah, our kitchens are pretty different;

                                                          Couscous (regular and Israeli)
                                                          Basamati rice
                                                          Any canned bean that isn't a can of bakes beans
                                                          Smoked sardines
                                                          Smoked paprika
                                                          Sea salt, kosher salt and pink salt
                                                          Pepper corns (as opposed to already-ground)
                                                          almond or cashew butter
                                                          Raw nuts
                                                          dried chilis
                                                          chili paste
                                                          curry paste
                                                          mustard other than Yellow or Brown
                                                          various Asian-type condiments
                                                          any vinegar other than white

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                            Good point on the peppercorns. Dad had a peppermill, but it was only filled with the black peppercorns, whereas I go with a blend of pink, white, green, black and Jamaica (allspice) that Crate and Barrel sells (or I make myself).

                                                          2. Olive oil,green tea, coffee beans, big sweet onions, garlic, commercial chicken broth, whole peppercorns, canned chickpeas, all natural peanut butter. I grew up in the fifties and early sixties. Most of what was in mom's "pantry" were cans of vegetables and packets of biscuit mix.

                                                            1. Food stuffs that are not past their expiration date.

                                                              1. Almost everything! (Except it was Pop who did the cooking, not Mom.) I'm talking more than half a century ago, and while many of the national brands persist in the supermarkets, from breakfast cereals to ice cream, I've moved on to other suppliers such as Trader Joe's that didn't exist back in the '40s and '50s.

                                                                1. My mother was fairly strict about having only healthy and whole foods around, with only a few processed items in the pantry (staples like dried pasta would be store-bought -- she wasn't a super-skilled cook, nor did she have time to fuss regularly with things like home-made pasta -- so something like that would be about as processed as we'd have around). I generally adhere to that upbringing, but I'm more lenient about what's in the house. Unlike mom, I don't have children around, just a SO who has the occasional munchie for Garden of Eatin' chips or (gasp!) his addiction to late-night Hostess cherry fruit pies about twice a week. Seriously, he's sort of hippie-ish and def on the organic/local/ whole foods train, but he's the one in our house who needs a 12-step program to get off the fruit pies. Of course, he's also naturally lean and fit; if I had the fruit pie addiction he does, I'd weigh 10000 lbs. Anyway, you could say the occasional junk food is what's in my pantry that wasn't in my mom's.

                                                                  Otherwise, mom was pretty adventurous in terms of ingredients in the pantry and I'm grateful I was raised that way. In the 1970s we lived in small towns and I know she had to do some extra searching to get things like jars of grape leaves or even soy sauce, but we always had them around. Thinking more about that, I guess something else I have that she didn't is access to more choices. Like the soy sauce example: where she was lucky to find La Choy soy sauce in the one big chain grocer near us, I can go to any chain grocer or any number of local Asian grocery stores and have my choice of many soy sauces. Where she could only find "Parmesan cheese" in the green can at a grocery store, in my city I can go into an artisan cheese store or Italian grocer or any Whole Foods/New Seasons or (probably) most chain grocers and find a wedge of actual cheese that's much more Parmesan, or even find imported Parmesan if I can pony up the cash. I probably tend to have more "authentic" (?) pantry items, whether it's soy sauce or fish sauce or chestnut flour imported from Italy or or good Parmesan cheese or whatever. I feel lucky I have access to the variety of staples she did not.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: team_cake

                                                                    Loved your story, team_c. I feel lucky about the abundance of ingredients avail. today too.