The Possibility of A Well-Stocked Larder

The Possibility of A Well-Stocked Larder

I love making things! For me, making provides an opportunity for so many things that I value. Making lets me focus on something challenging and experience a state of flow. Making provides an opportunity for me to exercise my skills and deepen my mastery. And making lets me feel long-lasting accomplishment both in the act of making and in the result of what I make that might be with me for a long time to come.

This past weekend, I made a few different things. I make an Easter Paska — a traditional Ukrainian Easter bread that my family eats as part of our Easter Day breakfast. I also made a rack to hold my seedlings that will be transplanted into my outdoor garden once the weather is a bit warmer and more stable. Thankfully, I was able to make both of these things from the supplies I had on hand. In other words, I had a well-stocked larder.

Traditionally, a larder is a place for storing food supplies — meat, flour, vegetables, etc. Perhaps you know it as a pantry. For example, if you have bread, peanut butter, and jelly you can always make a PB&J sandwich - even if you didn’t plan it that way. To me, I love having a well-stocked larder — and not just in the kitchen. I love having a well-stocked larder in the workshop — tools, wood, screws, and other parts. I love having a well-stocked larder of crafting supplies, stationery, and outdoor equipment. As I have written about previously, I love ready options. And to me, a well-stocked larder and ready options go hand in hand.

Let’s take the example of making a Paska. Because I already have a well-stocked larder for cooking — cookbooks, pots, pans, bowls, flour, butter, yeast, etc — I am able to decide to do things like baking a Paska at the last moment. My well-stocked larder makes an option a more ready option. I don’t have to go to the grocery store to buy ingredients before I can make a Paska. I can just wake up and say “I want to make a Paska today” — using my supplies on hand and improvisation to make on the fly!

The actual making was improvisation and adapting along the way. And for me, that makes the experience of making more challenging and more joyful. Being in the moment and in a state of flow makes the experience just as joyful as the result for me! Instead of following a closely crafted plan and having a well-defined set of expectations, I figured it out along the way! And I was able to do that because I had a well-stocked larder from which to draw.

I also find additional challenge and joy in working within the constraints of what is in my larder and what is not. If I went to the grocery store to buy ingredients, I might have had additional supplies on hand. However, the constraint of working within the supplies I had one hand was enjoyable and challenging! That said, I do regularly keep my larders well-stocked with commonly used supplies — flour, oil, peanut butter, jelly, bread, etc.

I sometimes consider the flipside of having a well-stocked larder; of having lots of things, some of which I may never use. Of having waste. And of having to spend time and energy managing my larder, perhaps well illustrated by Henry David Thoreau in the quote “I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still and threw them out the window in disgust.” For me, the pros of having a well-stocked larder outweigh the cons. I appreciate my larder and even find joy in curating it — having the necessary supplies, trying new supplies, finding that favorite spatula, or a great saw!

What’s in your larder? What types of larders do you have or want to have?

See you out there,