Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Not surprisingly, my kitchen pantry is an odd mix of Turkish kekik and pul biber, Iranian saffron, New Orleans' spices, Spanish condensed milk and American ranch dressing.

During some recent internet surfing, I stumbled upon a blog called The Perfect Pantry. This blog, written by Lydia in rural Rhode Island, features many recipes and special sections such as Other People's Pantries.

I missed the deadline to submit my pantry photos to the site, but the idea prompted me to write this blog post instead. My kitchen pantry is full of Turkish spices and dry goods, missed items from the U.S. and special foods/spices from our travels. Since I do a ton of cooking in my kitchen, I thought I'd share with you what my pantry looks like.

My spice rack is perfectly placed just to right of my stovetop. This way when I'm cooking all my spices are within an arm length's away.
I also have a bit of OCD because I've relabeled all my spices in Turkish to help me memorize them better. So for those rare weekends when my husband cooks dinner, he has to ask me when he's looking for thyme or oregano.
Small jelly jars and glass containers from Pasabahce make new homes for spices.
Every time I buy my bulk spices from  Ucuzcular Baharat in the Mısır Çarşısı, I put them in individual glass jars or containers once I get home.

My main kitchen pantry contains 7 shelves. I'll go down the list.
These clear storage containers help keep my pantry organized, and I can see what staples I have or need.
Top shelf: ice cream maker from London, various baking pans and a kilo of American pecans

2nd and 3rd shelves: baking supplies such as candied ginger, dried fruits, dark, milk and white chocolate, powdered sugar, flours, granulated sugar, condensed milk, marshmallows, corn syrup, golden syrup, dried coconut, pan spray, yeast, etc. Specialty pastry items such as vanilla beans and decorating sprinkles/candies are kept in plastic tubs in our storage closet.
A better view of the baking shelves
4th shelf: cereals and dry goods such as rice, beans, bulgur, canned tomatoes and tuna

5th shelf: various foreign condiments such as rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, Tabasco, tahini, fish sauce, coconut milk, liquid smoke, etc.; boxed pasta, risotto and packaged soups.

6th shelf: honey, jams, peanut butter, crackers, snacks and beverages. This one tends to get a little messy.
7th shelf: teas, coffee, hot cocoa and our American toaster

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed peaking inside my kitchen pantry here in Istanbul

What unique items do you have in your pantry?

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17 comments:

Cuisine de Provence said...

Awesome! I just wish my pantry would be this well organized and labelled.

Joy said...

@Barbara, well I try my best to keep it organized! I think it also helps that we don't have a lot of space so I can't buy a lot either.

Duke Dillard said...

Joy,
You are definitely a chef- very impressive pantry and spices- good job on the Turkish.
Now, please don't take this the wrong way, but enjoy this pantry organization while you still don't have kids. Of all the joys kids will bring to your life, organized pantries are not one of them!

Anonymous said...

Love the labels in Turkish, what a great idea! What items can you not find in istanbul that need to be brought from the US? I will be moving there soon and would love to know what to stock up on.

I think I remember from past visits pecans were hard to find even at the special nut stores, so that explains your big bag of those :) And i have read vanilla extract Is a good one to bring from home. Any others I should add to my list?

Kyra said...

Mine is filled with nut butters and coconut oil from home, and all kinds of dried fruits and spices from the markets here :) to anonymous above, bring your own nut butter if you eat it because they are very difficult to find here without all kinds of sugars/etc. I also haven't found spelt flour or quinoa anywhere yet, and would recommend bringing your own chocolate chips and maybe shredded coconut (I bought some, threw it in a granola recipe without tasting it, and the whole batch came out curry-flavored on accident)
If anyone has a recommendation of where to find plain (no sugar/additives) nut butters in Istanbul I'd love to hear where!

Joy said...

@Duke, I appreciate your candid comments! I understand b/c I helped rearrange my brother and sister-in-law's pantry for them when I was home for Christmas. My niece and nephew get in out of the pantry and need to have access to their snacks at their eye level. =)

Joy said...

@Anonymous, some things to bring are vanilla extract, pecans (cost 60+ tl/kilo here), large shredded coconut (though I buy the smaller hindistan cevisi all the time and have no issues), double acting baking powder (the stuff here isn't quite the same) and maybe any Asian ingredients you like.

I am currently making my own vanilla extract out of vodka and vanilla beans so we'll see how that goes.

@Kyra, I've never found all-natural nut butters either. Surely, it's somewhere here??? However, I do get quinoa from Saffran (a kuruyemis/natural store) in Nisantasi.

Chocolate chips I buy in bulk in Eminonu near the Spice Bazaar. You can get mini strawberry, white or bitter chocolate chips.

Also, coconut oil you can get at Eco Life near Akmerkez.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

okay...i am not showing you my spice cabinet! though i am proud that it now contains sumac. most often when i open the cabinet, they shoot out like projectiles. it is a scary place. i think i would rather post a pic of myself in my underwear!

Kim, Living to Seas the Moment said...

I love how organized your pantry is but I have to agree...once you have kids, that completely changes! I have been blessed with a closet sized pantry here in my NC house and just love how easy it is to find everything! The few items I have in my NC pantry that are not local are Griffins Syrup, Head Country BBQ sauce, and Mac's BBQ sauce. These are all made in Oklahoma products that my family just can't seem to live without. Thankfully, our family/friends in OK have pity on us and either mail them to us or bring them when they come to the beach. The most unusual? Pup Corn...yes, it is a doggie treat that looks much like popcorn. Little Lulu just loves them as her treat. Thanks for sharing your pics!

Joy said...

@jaz, you really had me laughing! We're all different. =) Guess it's the German-ness in me that really comes out in my organization!

@Kim, Yum! Those OKLA. products, minus the dog treats, sound delicious! We don't have any visitors lined up this year, but if we do I would definitely ask for some bacon to be brought back for me.

Alan said...

I've just had a wander back through some of your posts - and for some one who hates cooking it is going to be a bit of a boon and a relationship enhancer. My partner J is a fairly forthright Yorkshire lady and she gets seriously hacked off when I slip my turns at turning something out. You've given me some ideas - thanks! Don't promise to like cooking though!

Joy said...

@Alan, I at least encourage people to give cooking a shot...esp. in my baking classes. It's always good to have a few ideas in your repertoire. Good luck! =)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the pantry advice about what to bring with me from the US. I was also wondering whether baking supplies (cupcake pans both regular and mini, decorating supplies, cupcake liners) are very expensive or hard to find there. I have very little luggage space and would rather not fill it up with items I can easily get there. Thank you so much!

Joy said...

@Anonymous, I have bought normal/cupcake pans here. A little more expensive than US - it's a German brand called Zenker - 25 or 30 TL/per pan. Many stores, esp. in the Eminonu area, sell mini and normal cupcake liners. Sometimes you can find holiday ones, but normally the liners are plain colors. I buy a box of 1000 for 10 TL that has 4 colors.

However, oddly, I don't recall seeing mini cupcake pans. But the stores sell the liners so surely one of my shops sell them. =)

For decorating supplies, bring your own pastry tips, couplers and special sanding sugars. You can buy an assortment of sprinkles, nonpareils, and pearls here in Eminonu. I buy a pack of disposable pastry bags - 100 for 12 tl.

Mrs Ergül said...

I too was late in submitting my entry to The Perfect Pantry. Nonetheless, I have also bared my kitchen recently (on my blog).

I totally recognized those Paşabahçe small glass jars because I brought four back myself while we went back last year.

Mrs Ergül said...

Allow me to pitch in here about the nut butter. There is a specialty shop near our family's house in Kocaeli that has hazelnut paste which is really very much like peanut butter. The one is the photo is with sugar but they might possible have no sugar added ones if you look around. You can see the photo here:

http://blog.mrsergul.com/travel/turkiye-winter-2011/img_9783-edited/

Joy said...

@Mrs. Ergul, You have quite the organized kitchen as well! Please take a look at hers in Japan:
Mrs Ergul Kitchen Pantry in Japan

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