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Monday, January 10, 2011


The butt'ry is a small room with a smell of good things to eat and a look of delicious plenty.
~Mary Mason Campbell~

Well, we had another big snowfall.  Traveling has been difficult lately.  I am so thankful for my well stocked pantry.  I do not have to drive on treacherous roads.  In the past, the pantry was a lifeline when unexpected expenses arose and our already stretched-to-the-limits paycheck couldn't accommodate groceries.   We could probably live for a year on what we have.  A well stocked pantry is better than money in the bank!  Maybe the foods wouldn't be the most inspiring and "fun", but they would be nutritious, and after all isn't that what food is supposed to be?    What's on my pantry shelves?  Here's a breakdown:

Various cans of vegetables (peas, carrots, beans, pumpkin, corn and lots of tomatoes)
Sugar (brown, white, and powdered)
Various pastas (although in a pinch I could make them from scratch)
Baking powder and soda
Condiments (ketchup, mustard, soy sauce,  interesting sauces from the foreign food aisle)
Rice (brown and white)
Dried beans (white northern, pinto, lentils, and black beans)
Jams and Jellies
Powdered milk
Evaporated milk
Canned fruits (pineapple,pears, peaches and applesauce)
Dried fruits (apples, dates, cranberries and raisins)
Cooking oil (we use olive oil and corn oil)
Coffee and tea
Spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, sage,thyme, rosemary, cumin, parsley, oregano, paprika, dry mustard)
Salt and Pepper
Cans of tuna and chicken
Peanut Butter
Vanilla (and any other extract you like)
Canned mushrooms (we dry some too)

In cold storage we store:
Squashes and pumpkins

In the freezer:
Soup bones
Bacon  (we buy ends and pieces. pre-vegan lifestyle of course, just a little adds a lot of flavor to  beans  and soups)
Butter (bought on sale)
Pre-cooked items (we make rice, pie crusts and dried beans up in large quantities and freeze for quick meals)
Whipped topping (hey, it makes a dessert out of a can of fruit and what is pie without it?)
Meat (when you find a sale stock up)
Nuts (again when on sale ...)

In the refrigerator:
Maple syrup
A bag of carrots
Orange juice
Fresh fruits depending on the price

With these ingredients, I can make soups, casseroles, baked beans, pancakes, granola,  bread, biscuits, cornbread, salad dressings  and desserts. Of course you can add and subtract  from the list as your tastes dictate.  For instance, I always have a bag of coconut in the freezer (stays fresher there) because it is my favorite flavor. I'm sure others would include chocolate chips!   You will notice, there are no cake mixes, salad dressings, breakfast cereals and such on my list.  You can make them from scratch from the pantry staples. There are no "cream of" soups either, variations on your basic white sauce will work for this.  In future posts, I'll explain how I use various ingredients.

So now you have a good idea what should be in your pantry.  How do you go about stocking it? Amy Dacyczyn describes her price book method in her book The Tightwad Gazette.  Basically it is a notebook, where you write down the prices of your pantry staples and where they were purchased.  You break down each item into price per unit.  For instance cheese would be by the ounce, flour by the pound.  You will soon see which store has the best price.   For instance  Sav-A- Lot has an 11 oz can of corn for 69 cents, the other stores don't even come close, but every once in a while Meijers has buy-one-get-one free of Del Monte's Summer Crisp which equals  50 cents for an 11 ounce can.  When they go on sale, I stock up.  Now you will know when a sale is really a sale.  Sometimes you will be surprised,  as I was, to discover, that the shredded cheese at Walmart was actually cheaper than  a the cheapest chunk of cheese I could find.  I always assumed doing the work of shredding saved money.


  1. Hi Jane,
    It's good to meet up with you again and listen to your great wisdom! A well stocked pantry is definetly the key and knowing how to make great receipes like you do with the food that you have stored is even better!

  2. Hi Vickie! A well-stocked pantry is better than money in the bank!