Pantry Stocking

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by Lori Ann

2010-07-01clearly, not my photo (I’m out of town and couldn’t get my own cabinet!)
photo by Robot B on flickr

We’ve never been great at keeping up with meal planning. We’ll write a week’s menu, only to forget it two days in. More often, we don’t get to the menu-writing at all.

Part of our (my) problem is not being great at cooking “on the fly.” It’s complicated to figure out which recipes share ingredients, but I’ve never cooked without recipes.

To remedy this problem, I just finished reading How to Cook Without a Book. I’m implementing the first step right now, keeping an ongoing list of food to stock in the house. She acknowledges that everyone’s will be different based on their tastes, so here’s ours:


  • potatoes
  • onions
  • garlic
  • gingerroot
  • fruit


  • veggies: carrots + bell pepper + lettuce + celery, cucumber, cabbage
  • dairy: milk + butter + cheese + yogurt
  • eggs: raw + boiled
  • condiments: dijon mustard + ketchup + chili sauce + jam + PB + honey


  • bread: baguettes/rolls + breakfast sweet bead/muffins
  • veggies: peas, green beans, corn
  • fruit: berries, sliced peaches, bananas, diced apples
  • poultry: chicken breasts or thighs
  • meat: ground or tenderloin + sausage (freeze all but 1 or 2 days’)
  • fish
  • homemade tomato sauce (cook extra for pasta, pizza, etc.)
  • dessert: ice cream, pastry dough


  • chicken bouillon
  • milk: powdered + condensed/evaporated
  • oil
  • breadcrumbs
  • pasta: spaghetti + macaroni +egg noodles
  • grains: rice + oats or buckwheat + cornmeal
  • bottled: white or ACV + rice wine vinegar + soy sauce + fish sauce
  • beans: black + chickpeas + soup beans
  • baking: flour + sugar (white + brown) + baking powder + soda + yeast + cocoa powder

basil + bay leaves + black pepper + chili peppers + cinnamon + cloves + cumin + curry + garlic + Italian + nutmeg + oregano + sage + salt + thyme + vanilla


  • seeds, toasted nuts (peanuts, walnuts, almonds)
  • dried fruit: raisins, currants, cranberries
  • dark chocolate
  • crackers

key: + means “this AND this,” commas indicate choices between various options

What do you always keep in the house?



Filed under cooking, Home, Life, shopping

6 responses to “Pantry Stocking

  1. I think you’ve pretty much covered what I stock, with a few slight variations not worth mentioning.

    One thing I do, however, is make my own chicken and vegetable broth and chicken stock. I boil down the vegetables, chicken, or its bones and once it done, I pour it into ice cube trays and freeze them. I keep the cubes in a container in the freezer so I can use what I need without thawing the entire container and re-freezing, or needing to dig out frozen broth.

  2. Kathleen

    Putting things in ice cubes to freeze them seems to be a very popular idea. My mom suggested that with Pesto, when we made our own, and it worked really well.
    Lori Ann, I’m very interested in this book! Like you, I’m terrible at “cooking on the fly”, I can stand in my kitchen for a long time, know everything in the fridge & cubbord, but have no idea how to put them all together into a meal without using a recipe!
    Are you going to post more about the steps she suggests? I’ll try to look up the book too, but it’s always more interesting to see how someone else does it in ‘read life’.

    • Hey Kathleen! The book’s next part is “formulas” (with witty mnemonics for remembering them) for cooking. So it might say 1 part vegetable, 1 part meat, 2 part broth, or something. It has sample recipes for if you aren’t real comfortable experimenting to start out, and that’s me exactly 🙂 so right now I’m using example recipes in the book that later I’m supposed to be able to use to cook tons of other things — without using any recipe! We’ll see 🙂

  3. kathleen

    I meant “real life.”
    p.s. everyone else has a picture by their names…how can I get a picture?

  4. Kathleen

    Gravatar? What is that? Guess I’ll find out…

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