Out of the Pantry

Having guests over? Spruce up that pantry.

When looking at food, a variety of colors and textures present themselves. By simply changing their containers and locations, pantry items become decorative elements. Spices are perfect—and aromatic—choices. They are easily transferred from supermarket bottles into something beautiful. Check out Kitchen Kapers (Concord Mall, 3626 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 478-4405; Concord Plaza, 4737 Concord Pike, No. 360, Wilmington, 478-5540) for a variety of decorative racks, including one in gleaming chrome that spins like a Ferris wheel.

Nothing says “hot meals” like a string of dried chilis dangling from a decorative hook. Pastas beg to be shown off, especially those from gourmet shops like McCabe’s Gourmet Market (York Beach Mall, Ocean Highway, South Bethany, 539-8550) or Bon Appétit (Talleyville Shopping Center, 3629C Silverside Road, Wilmington, 478-4344). Spinach and tomato add color to shapely pastas such as conchiglie and rotini. Scour antiques stores for transparent storage vessels such as classic apothecary jars.

Don’t forget dry goods such as brown rice, arborio rice and beans. Their shapes, sizes and textures can make them the starting points for dazzling centerpieces and place settings. Vinegars and oils can be easily infused with whole herbs and stored in decorative bottles, which make a great decorative—and flavorful—addition to any countertop.

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Not in DIY mode? Some florists, like Wild Thyme (5725 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 656-4454), can incorporate food stuffs into unique arrangements.