When we got home, we investigated.
How did we end up with two sizable containers of black rice? We recently discovered this delicious grain, but as we're still in the early stages of figuring out how to use it, two containers seem a bit excessive. Over the weekend we made a batch of black rice pudding, and we'll work the rest into Asian and Italian dishes (reports to follow—and if anybody has a good black-rice recipe, please share).
Meanwhile, we own many, many jars of dried beans and lentils; an impressive collection of rice varieties; stockpiled bags of dried peppers and spices; and a daunting range of never-cracked oddball items picked up at ethnic and specialty markets. There are things that we bought but ended up not being crazy about—pressed barley, anyone?—and things that we simply forgot about. At the same time, we can't find things that we know we bought, including a big sack of French lentils.
The freezer has its own problems: in addition to necessary items like frozen stock, Parmesan rinds, fruit, and vegetables, we've packed the shelves with mysterious leftovers. (Why, oh why, didn't we mark all of them? Did we really think that a frozen brown square would be immediately recognizable six months later?)
Over the next few weeks, we'll be working to draw down our supplies, and will keep you posted on our discoveries. And if anyone has good tips for using up old pantry and freezer items, please let us know . . .