Hoarder or OCD

Friends always laugh at me saying my obsession with ‘being stocked-up’ is like preparing for a nuclear war. Today I was putting some pasta in the cupboard and realised anyone looking in from the outside would not be wrong in assuming that: [A] I’m partial to De Cecco pasta. [B} I’m a bit obsessive. [C} I’m a hoarder.

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  Yes I do like De Cecco pasta, in fact back in the U.K. a friend once called me a pasta snob, as I only ever buy this brand. At this    moment in time I have twenty-eight packets of the stuff ranging from boxes of lasagne sheets to linguine and tiny little stelle (stars) that you drop into soup.

  I don’t think I’m a hoarder, I don’t really collect things apart from music albums, oh and don’t forget the Staedtler pencil obsession. I used to keep all the posters, set lists and related paraphernalia from when I was in a band and amassed nine scrap books, however a flood saw to their demise and that ended my only collecting habit.

  OCD does feature in my life and this means I sometimes have unfathomable reasons for doing things. In particular I can never allow my stock of toilet paper to fall below four packets, I don’t know why it’s four but as soon as the fourth packet is opened I’m down the shop buying a new pack. Someone did comment that at least we’ll be okay if we get a sudden attack of dysentery. My current stash is five and a half packs on the window ledge in the bathroom. Another oddity is that despite not being perishable, they are used up in rotation, with newer stock going to the right-hand side at the bottom of the pile, as usage is from left to right. 100_8421-crop

I think I’ve always liked to see kitchen cupboards full, I’d hate to look for something and not find it. I always think it’s best to be prepared for every eventuality, sudden guests near lunchtime or an unequivocal desire for tinned carrots. My mother always stressed the importance of having a well stocked kitchen and I think it has sort of stemmed from there.

Don’t even get me started on the freezer, yesterday I was kindly given some crumpets brought over from the U.K. and there was only enough room in the bread section for six of them so we had to eat four of them so as not to waste them. (Yes there are sections, meat, fish, veg and processed food and even a section for home made soups and stocks.

Is it OCD that drives my desire to build up this food stock, possibly or maybe I’m more comfortable knowing that if anything did happen to prevent me getting to the shops I at least have enough stockpiled food to keep me going for a while.

Though what incidents are likely to necessitate this I’m unsure: sudden snowfall, illness, alien invasion?

I do believe there has to be a modicum of obsessive compulsion involved, particularly with the toilet rolls situation and if you look inside my cupboards all the tins are in order and facing the front: which makes perfect sense as you can see straight away what’s where and what’s what. The maximum amount of tins per item in the cupboard is six any extra stock is stored in a separate place all together where no firm rules regarding numbers or position apply.

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Of course everything has to be in the correct place. Dried goods like pasta, rice and pulses have their own cupboard, as do cakes and biscuits; albeit a small one as we eat very few of these and tinned goods are never mixed with jars. Jars reside on the shelves made by a friend to fill a recess in the wall where the sink was originally and having just glanced at it maybe five jars of anchovies is a little excessive as are four of artichoke hearts. But as I’ve already said, you never know what will happen.

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I would imagine that due to the regimented way I store things and the number patterns a psychologist would determine that it is OCD rather than hoarding. But should the earth become subjected to an invasion from the far depths of space, during mankind’s panic there’ll still be a little house in Italy where you can get good quality pasta and soft toilet tissue.

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Toilet Roll Parsnips

I’ve just sent messages to friends who live local, asking them to save me their empty toilet roll tubes: No I’m not collecting for a Blue Peter appeal or going on a recycling drive, I want them for parsnips.

I was reading a blog the other day that is written by a lady in France, in it she mentioned that she had never seen parsnips for sale so she grew her own. This prompted me to look into why you never see them in Italian markets. Turns out the story I’d been told previously about them needing a good hard frost to germinate is wrong. Parsnips are fussy germinators apparently and like the soil to be warm when they are sown, and once they’ve popped their heads above the ground they don’t like being disturbed until harvesting time. So I’ve decided to follow the advice of the French lady and have a go at growing my own using the toilet roll method.

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I’ve read that sowing directly into the ground can be an ineffective way of growing parsnips: the moody little rooters can be quite erratic flourishers. The toilet roll method aids the grower and generates more success. Some people first germinate the seed upon damp kitchen paper before planting, but this can be problematic as leads to possible root damage during potting on into the toilet rolls. Literally all you need to do is fill your empty toilet roll tubes with potting compost and sow a solitary seed inside it and keep it warm. Once growing water the seedling from inside the cardboard tube, don’t let the outside of the tube become soaked and when big enough plant the whole thing in the ground. This method is said to ensure all seeds germinate and there is very little root disturbance.

Parsnips need a long growing season so should be ready around mid-November, but the beauty is they can be harvested from ground to plate in minutes, as there’s no need to harvest what you don’t use, the cold earth will keep them fresh. My only word of advice is, if you have chinghiale nearby, keep them protected as the wild pigs love anything sweet.

I’ll keep you posted to how it goes throughout the year.