The joys of helping with The Abundant Pantry

By Christine Dudgeon

Christine and Zoe working on the September food sort

In September I helped at The Abundant Pantry pickup day. I arrived at 1:00 PM to help sort the stack of cases and bags into separate piles of each member’s order. I wasn’t doing it alone, Zoe was there to help. Wendy was also nearby but was sorting paperwork.

It took a while to get into a rhythm but we had fun. Zoe and I tried to each pick one member’s order and pull out the products for that order, then move on to the next. That wasn’t working well, as there was a stack of about ten 10-kg bags of wheat, quinoa, and oats to dig through. So instead we would pick up a box or bag and try to remember which person’s list we had seen it on. Part puzzle and part memory game.

The best part was seeing the variety of products ordered. It is much easier to get ideas of things to try from seeing them: Ground Chipotle Peppers – I never saw that on the website list but it sounds intriguing. Two separate people ordered Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal. That seems like a good endorsement, I may have to try it. There were about five bags of quinoa. I can see it has become a very popular staple in many households. I may have to get more serious about finding recipes for it. There were also the sacks of dried beans, cases of tomatoes and salsa and ginger ale, boxes of rice penne and kamut linguine. And the Camino cocoa—a 5 kg box—I wish I was bringing that one home…

As for my own order, I now have enough oats (11 kg) to last through months of granola and apple crisps. And my wonderful smelling cinnamon sticks and cloves arrived just in time to make a new batch of my chai tea concentrate.

So if you are ordering through The Abundant Pantry and want some inspiration, volunteer to help on the pickup day. You’ll find food you never noticed on the website.