No matter how simply you try to live, you will eventually accumulate strange food items that sit in your cupboard or refrigerator forever. Possibly some kitchens generate them spontaneously. (For about a year, mine was a jar of Manischewitz Moroccan fish balls. They were a gift. We never ate them.) Thankfully, NPR has a new project called “Cook Your Cupboard” that’s trying to help home chefs actually use these orphaned products.
To participate, you submit a picture of one to three of these mystery items to this site and wait for the advice to flow in. A few lucky cooks will get their problem featured on the radio and solved by a famous chef.
Some of the ideas are good — one entry suggested turning artificial Orange Crush-flavored dessert topping, which really should have been thrown out BEFORE being bought, into a genuinely edible-sounding frozen daiquiri. Others are not. On the same entry, which also included canned haggis: “Open the Haggis and put it outside where the Coyotes can get at it. Wait nearby and make a noise like a dying Haggis … then shoot the Coyote. Put the rest of the stuff on the Coyote meat … you may be able to keep it down!” But hey, that’s still more ideas than we had.
Even if you don’t get ideas for dinner, it’s interesting to note similarities in the stuff we have no idea how to cook. What are we collectively stumped by? Those bottled gourmet products that always sound so good — raspberry chipotle sauce, roasted garlic and onion jelly, bacon olive oil. Various staple ingredients of other countries’ cooks — ume, chipotle peppers, tahini, jerk seasoning. Coconut milk. And anchovies. No one knows what to do with anchovies.