I was cleaning out the cupboards, looking for canned goods and perishables to donate to a young woman’s bat mitzvah project, and had to wonder if I was seeing symptoms of some sort of unnamed eating disorder. Dusty, unlabeled spice jars of dubious provenance; enough dried chili peppers to power a car engine; an avalanche of dried legumes, tea bags, and half-empty boxes of pasta tumbling down from the third shelf. I seem to have a problem with accumulating things I only use once–or never at all–yet am unable to get rid of. Pigeon-brand lychees in heavy syrup, a greasy jar of Mostarda di Cremona, a bulging molasses covered can of Alphonso mango pulp–these are things too embarrassing or dangerous to donate. Maybe there’s some down-on-its-luck West African family that would be delighted by a jar of Liberian Fried Pepper (“No MSG”) but I just can’t give it away. So, it’s off to Aldi for some canned tuna and mac and cheese.

What’s lurking in the back of your pantry?