The Pantry Club

“You aren’t going to blog about this are you?!?!?”

While my brother-in-law was playfully enquiring about my future posts, my mom was carefully pouring alcohol into shot glasses, trying to create a layered effect. shots

As a send-off at the end of my Christmas break, my family did a round of shots.

Lest anyone worry, my mom described them as “wussy shots” –something with an embarrassing name and an alcohol that doesn’t burn.

And my pregnant sister abstained.

We toasted to another semester, to family and “To The Pantry Club!” and swallowed the creamy drink.

In my childhood home, the pantry is a 15 x 8 foot hallway, flanked by floor-to-ceiling shelves. It has some creepy corners where a flashlight would be useful if one was to explore. The spare keys hang on the flat side of an outer shelf and on another, the board is marked with short lines and dates, designating our heights at different ages.

The pantry holds Christmas decorations, a fruit dehydrator, catering apparatus, and a respectable collection of glass jars. There is a supply of water, a deep freezer, the pet food, and a complicated trash system to accommodate recycling.  My cousin once spent 45 sweaty minutes in one of those empty trash cans during an epic game of Hide-and-Seek-in-the-Dark.

It has party supplies, canning supplies, baking supplies, and emergency supplies. A few shelves are dedicated to spices and dry goods and canned food. And in the corner, the stash of alcohol hides.

adventure raceAs a Labor Day tradition, my parents have for many years hosted an annual Adventure Extravaganza Weekend. The weekend might involve all sorts of activities: a bike ride, shooting, a poker tournament, backyard parties, a yard games contest, and outings into town. People camp in the yard or find a couch to claim; everyone takes turns prepping meals. The centerpiece of the weekend is a team event called the “Adventure Race” which is a series of competitive activities that are limited only by my parents creativity and my moms fear of people getting hurt.

As “the regulars” have gotten older, the weekend has included more babies and less beer. But, in its early years, there were no babies. It was in that time that “The Pantry Club” was born. The red curtain separating the pantry from the kitchen would be drawn and toasts and cheers would heard from the small gathering hiding in a certain corner of the pantry.

Thus, for me as well as many of those whom I love, the pantry speaks of the Peterson house.

It speaks of the hospitality of my parents and the adventures that many associate with the house.

It speaks of my mom, her presence palpable in so many of the treasures hidden on the top shelves that she insists on keeping.

It speaks of my childhood, noted in the red and blue lines on the marked board and captured in the memories veiled in the stuff.

It speaks of friends and food and fun.

It speaks of home.

And so, join me in a toast: To The Pantry Club!