December 12, 2013

DARE TO BARE and the skeleton in the cupboard.

The Random Recipe Challenge at Bellau Kitchen this month is to “dare to bare”.  To show pictures of the inside of our kitchen cupboards.


My first reaction was that I couldn’t possibly.  How embarrassing that people should see my packets of Oxo cubes and custard powder.  But then I have enjoyed having little peeks into other bloggers’ cupboards as the posts have cropped up so I decided that it was time I bared all myself, so to speak.

A glance at this first picture tells me straight away what I find most lacking in my kitchen.  A pantry.  The house had a pantry when I bought it and also had a coal house and “back entry”, or corridor between these two dark and dingy little vestibules.  I knocked the whole lot out (not personally of course) and ended with with a huge kitchen and lots of cupboards.  The main problem with cupboards like mine is that to reach a lot of the stuff in them I have to climb on steps or get down on my knees.  The old knees aren’t quite what they used to be so the next house I buy will have a lovely big old fashioned pantry with lots of shelves at a height between the knees and the nose, so you can see what’s there and reach it without performing a stretch or a reverse limbo dance. cupboards2The other thing I would like to point out is that these cupboards are definitely, without a doubt, undeniably the cleanest cupboards in the county.

There’s a rather uncomfortable reason for this.

cupboards3What would be your worst kitchen nightmare?  Ours happened about six months ago.  Flour mites.

There, I have confessed, after all this time.  It was horrible.  They are tiny, almost invisible things that could be mistaken for dust, pepper, or fragments of seed.  They don’t so much move as create an impression of slight movement.  They’re not poisonous or harmful but, believe me, when I realised I had them I was mortified.  I declared war.

cupboards4The little blighters put up a fight.  It took nearly a month of hoovering, cleaning, scrubbing and bleaching over and over again to be sure they had all gone.  During that month, having thrown out anything that was either obviously contaminated or just might have been, the rest of the contents of the kitchen were elsewhere in the house.  Which meant we didn’t have much of a house left for ourselves.

We would rescrub and bleach before bedtime and sometimes I would come down in the middle of the night to see if there was any sign of them, only going back to bed when I was happy that the cupboards were bare.  Then in the morning there would be just a few dots.  We never saw them move but in the time spent to fetch the hoover and the bleach the dots would be in a slightly different place.


It was a truly miserable experience and one I would not wish on my worst enemy.  Well maybe one or two.

We have been bug free for several months and I still come down in the night occasionally, fling open a cupboard door and shine in my torch, just to check!  We now keep everything in sealed containers to try to avoid a repeat attack.  No more opened packets of flour, pasta or Bisto fastened with a clothes peg.  The only problem with all the sealed containers is that they take up a lot more space than bags or boxes and consequently getting a jar out from the back of the cupboard can involve something like a military exercise and even more limbo dancing than it did before!  We’re not sure how we got the critters in the first place but there were an awful lot in an opened bag of a popular brand of flour, which is where we first spotted them.


So thanks again to the lovely Dom of Bellau Kitchen for his monthly challenge, which led to the revealing of my “skeleton in the cupboard” !!


  1. I was going to say how much I hate you for having such clean and tidy cupboards but after reading about your flour mites I'm not feeling quite so bad... gorgeous photo's, love how much stuff you've got too... thank you so much for taking part, i've really enjoyed snooping around everyone's kitchens this month!!

  2. What a fine array of ingredients and in such clean cupboards. I don't envy you the mites, though. I was told once that you should check supermarket shelves when buying flour for signs of mites. I've never tried this in case I'm mistaken for a bit of a strange person, but there might be some sense in that advice.

    1. Phil, the place to look is just under where the packaging is glued down. They appear as tiny dots stuck to the glue.
      They go for anything floury, including pasta, gravy powder, cornflour, also rice products and dried fruit.
      I threw out three bin liners of opened packets of food.

  3. I bet its NOT all still in date!!!! C

    Great the WV is "485 pastote"

    1. Colin, you're not wrong!
      I couldn't part with my bbe2010 jar of Branston pickle!
      It was good to get rid of ancient half packets of this and that but I can think of better reasons for doing it!

  4. :-) we had flour mites once too, and I know what you mean - I try and keep my stuff packed away properly now but it never quite works, and my cupboards have never been as tidy as your, but like Dom, I totally understand why !

  5. My Mum was brought up in an old mill for the greater part of her childhood...
    although the mill no longer worked as such, the mites would still have been around!
    I'd never thought about it before, but my Mum was a bit religious about emptying powders of any sort into clean, oven-sterilized glass jars...
    she never mentioned mites, but I'll bet she'd experienced them....
    and flour beetle, too!!

  6. I used to get tiny weevils regularly in flour and dried fruit in Australia, but never had a problem in Europe. I'm surprised we aren't crawling with flour mites here, given that we live in an old grain merchant's and the pantry is in the old office. Under the granary is over a metre of powder. It looks like dust but we speculate that it is essentially flour -- maybe it's the remains of millions of flour mites! However, I don't want to freak you out or discourage you from visiting. I have genuinely never noticed mites in the pantry, and you know I would pick up on something that interesting very quickly :-)

    1. Susan, I'm sure you would have spotted them if they were there!
      We think ours might have arrived in a bag of flour and flourished while we were away for a prolonged period in the summer when the weather was warm and damp and they were undetected and undisturbed.

    2. If Susan had spotted them...
      we'd have read about them before this entry of yours!!

  7. I've had flour mites in the past, too, from a popular brand. Luckily, I keep baking supplies in jars so at least they couldn't get out and into other things. I've been a bit paranoid ever since, though, and my hubs has occasionally found me gazing at a container of flour to try and spot any telltale movement! :)