Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Pantry Book

. 9 min read
A warm welcome Project365(3) Day 10

Welcome to another edition of the Real Food Kitchen Tour. This week we’re featuring Nicole Handfield, Esq., author of the The Pantry Book blog.

What’s a Real Foodie?

A “real foodie” is someone who cooks “traditional” food. We cook stuff from scratch using real ingredients, like raw milk, grass-fed beef, eggs from chickens that run around outdoors, whole grains, sourdough and yogurt starters, mineral-rich sea salt, and natural sweeteners like honey and real maple syrup.

We don’t use modern foods that are either fake, super-refined, or denatured. This includes modern vegetable oils like Crisco and margarine, soy milk, meat from factory farms, pasteurized milk from cows eating corn and soybeans, refined white flour, factory-made sweeteners like HFCS or even refined white sugar, or commercial yeast.

We believe in eating wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that come from nature. So we shop at farmer’s markets or buy direct from the farmer, or we grow food in our own backyards.

This Week’s Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Pantry Book

This week we travel to Maryland to tour the kitchen of Nicole Handfield, author of The Pantry Book.

Nicole is blessed with a handsome husband named Kent, and two very adorable children: Adele (4) and little brother Everett (1). Take a peek at her kitchen!

Blog Name: The Pantry Book
Blog Author: Nicole Handfield
Location: Maryland, just outside DC
How Long Blogging: About a week
House or Apartment: House built in 1901
Size of Kitchen: 11′ x 11′ with attached 15′ x 6′ butler’s pantry
Things You Love About Your Kitchen: It may not be the kitchen of my dreams, but it’s large enough for many cooks and it really works well for us. Since it isn’t in great shape with fancy materials, I don’t worry too much when the walls are splattered with sauce or any of the many other crazy messes we have.
Things You Would Change:  I wouldn’t turn away a European stove and oven (like an Aga or Lacanche) if it turned up on my doorstep. But seriously, even if we had the money to change it, I don’t know that we would. My husband just returned from Paraguay where he saw homes where the kitchen had a very dirty floor of dirt and none of the luxuries I often take for granted.
Favorite Tools & Gadgets: Where to begin? We had extremely generous wedding guests: stick blender, KitchenAid professional stand mixer, Le Creuset dutch oven, AllClad SS cookware, Wusthof knives. Also my growing collection of insulated Kleen Kanteens (filled with raw milk for a day away from home), grain mill, 12-cup food processor, electric knife sharpener, and my constantly-in-use crock pot.
Biggest Challenges Cooking Real Food: Discipline to plan ahead – not just soaking, but the meal planning itself. Life is so much easier when I make a meal plan.
Current Family Favorite Meal: Grass-fed Chuck Roast in the crock pot. I can pour in some broth, red wine, or really anything and it comes out delicious with almost no work. My fav is Salsa Verde in a glass jar from Trader Joe’s. I don’t even need to add spices – I just dump the contents on top of the roast and turn it on low and it comes out delicious!
Favorite Cookbooks: [easyazon-link asin=”0967089735″ locale=”us”]Nourishing Traditions[/easyazon-link] and [easyazon-link asin=”0967367026″ locale=”us”]The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook[/easyazon-link] (I use the cooking temp chart all the time, since we only use grass-fed meat and the cooking temps are much lower than for CAFO-raised beef in regular recipes)

This shot shows the little bit of counter space that originally came in this kitchen, a third of which is inaccessible because of the farmhouse sink. That’s lactofermented salsa on the counter and a few random CSA veggies On top of the stove, I store my olive oil, Celtic sea salt, Real Salt, coconut oil, pepper, and the sugar bowl for coffee or tea (mostly for guests). I also store my oven mitt on the door to the oven (it has a magnet sewn into the seam) and I love how it’s always accessible. I use the top of the cabinets for large jar overflow storage. I haven’t found a use for those large glass jugs yet, but I’m sure I’ll be glad I saved them someday. I also keep my Abiding Mom vs. Super Mom chart on the cabinet to remind me why I do what I do.


My spices and herbs (mostly used for tea). I used some of my daughter’s wooden blocks to make a series of shelves so I can see all of my spices. I almost always buy my spices whole and either grind them by hand in the mortar and pestle or use an electric coffee grinder to grind the amount I’m going to use. You can’t see it in this picture, but I taped a great article on the inside of the left cabinet door that shows what spices to put in soups made with random ingredients.


Moving to the right, we see the original farmhouse sink. It’s nice and big and I use the drainboard all the time for drying dishes or fermenting kombucha (we use the method of bottling the brewed kombucha with juice and letting ferment an additional two days to get a strong fizz). You might be thinking that the fabric skirt is kind of crazy, and you’d be right. But, I think it does a good job of unifying the white sink, cream cabinets, different shade of cream walls, red formica countertop, mint green backsplash, white fridge, black stove, and brownish greenish peel and stick linoleum tiles. Did I mention that the counters in the butler’s pantry are gray and the cabinets are a warm natural wood? Woah, doggy! I used three-inch wide heavy-duty velcro (one side is sticky and one side is not) on the underside of the sink. I attached the sticky side to the cast iron sink and sewed the non-sticky side to the gathered fabric. That way the skirt is removable for laundering. I have no idea if that is the way sink skirts are supposed to be attached, but it works! Also, using velcro gives you a bit of play to make sure the hem doesn’t drag on the floor. There is a linen envelope on the wall where I put the recipes I’ve printed out for each two-week meal plan. And, on top of the fridge you can see a yellow ribbon; that’s our Good Eater Award that we present with great fanfare to a child who might need a bit of encouragement with dinner.


There’s my good eater now! She helps Daddy with Pizza Fridays. That’s our pizza dough, which is also our bread dough, that we soak and prepare in bulk and freeze in plastic baggies. We just thaw out one dough the night before and then roll it out after a few hours of rising in the bag that afternoon. Adele is working the dough on our portable dishwasher, which just wheels over to the sink when it’s time to run it.


A little farther to the right and we are back at the stove again. I put this Ikea shelf in here so that my three-year-old daughter could unload the dishwasher. It’s probably not ideal to store dishes in open shelves near the floor, but I really like that my daughter can put the dishes away by herself. These are all the dishes we use every day. I also store canning jars on the shelves to the far left. I just made two gallons of yogurt, so I’m all out of quarts, but that’s where they go. That’s our two gallon jar of kombucha brewing on top. I have milk jugs and pickle jars on the bottom, but I don’t use that area much. I like that the shelf gives us a bit more counter space in here. The dining room is through the doorway to the left of the stove. To the left of the black shelf is an ironing board that folds down. I haven’t used it, but I think it’s kind of cool. Kind of weird, but kind of cool.


Here’s the butler’s pantry! On the left, you can see a batch of soaked granola.


Here in we have very shallow counters and lots of storage. I took the doors off the upper cabinets to make it easier to unload the dishwasher (that was before I put the black shelf in the kitchen). It’s not that pretty, but it works for us. I store potatoes and butternut squash in the large basket on the counter and garlic and onions in the smaller basket. On the counter there’s a quart of kefir brewing and the crockpot is making chicken broth. Why yes, that IS a lot of honey! We also have a gallon or so of maple syrup in the cupboard on the other side. And black strap molasses too. Yum!


A few of my recent ferments (from left): mango chutney, beet kvass, veggie combo, carrots in soy sauce brine, saurkraut with carrots, and salsa.


Check Out the Previous Real Food Kitchen Tour Posts

Real Food Kitchen Tour: Thank Your Body
Real Food Kitchen Tour: McKenzie McCarty
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Dimes2Vines
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Gutsy
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Wannabe Homesteader
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Nourishing Our Children
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Life Is A  Melody
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Too Many Jars in My Kitchen!
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Natural Health at Home
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Promise Land Farm
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Mama and Baby Love
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Healthy Habit Coach
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Life From Scratch
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Our Nourishing Roots
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Jody Brantley
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Eating My Vegetables
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Well Fed Homestead
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Farm Food Blog
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Unmistakably Food
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Health
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Prairie Homestead
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Bubbling Brook Farm
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Taste is Trump
Real Food Kitchen Tour: CHEESESLAVE
Real Food Kitchen Tour: GAPS Diet Kitchen
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Mom
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Radically Natural Living
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Amanda Brown
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Pamela Montazeri
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Cracking an Egg with One Hand
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Yolks, Kefir & Gristle
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Okparaeke Family
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Holistic Kid
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Artistta
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Nourished & Nurtured
Real Food Kitchen Tour: May All Seasons Be Sweet to Thee
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Horting Family
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Hybrid Rasta Mama
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Granola Mom 4 God
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Real Food Devotee
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Real Food Forager
Real Food Kitchen Tour: The Leftover Queen
Real Food Kitchen Tour: Health Home & Happiness

Let Us Tour Your Kitchen

Are you a real foodie? Do you have a kitchen that you’d like to see featured on CHEESESLAVE?

Please email me at annmarie AT cheeseslave dot com. Either send me a link to a Flickr set or email me your photos (minimum of 5, but more is better). Note: Please send me LARGE photos. Minimum 610 width. If they’re too small, I can’t use them.

Oh, and please send the answers to the above questions (at the very top of this post).

As much as I’d love to include all the photos I receive, I can’t guarantee that I will use your photos in the series. I’m looking for creative, good quality photos.

Some ideas for photos:

  • Show us what’s in your fridge or what’s fermenting on your counter
  • Take some snaps of some of your favorite kitchen gadgets, or show us how you organize your spices
  • Got backyard chickens? Send some pics!
  • How about a lovely herb garden?
  • Kids or pets are always cute!
  • Try to include at least one photo of yourself, ideally in your kitchen

And no, you don’t have to have a blog to be included in the tour.

Photo credit: A warm welcome Project365(3) Day 10 by Keith Williamson, on Flickr and photos by Memories by Michelle


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