December 18, 2017

Stocking the pantry

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Your pantry should have the essentials plus some strategic specials.  Always be prepared and you can do anything.

Feel free to add more items and let us know what they are.


  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper (ground)
  • Black peppercorns (whole) for grinding
  • Red pepper flake
  • Herbs Provence
  • Bay leaf (whole)
  • Basil flakes
  • Cumin (ground)
  • Oregano (ground)
  • Coriander (ground)
  • Chinese 5 spice (ground)
  • Cinnamon (ground)
  • Nutmeg (ground)
  • Clove (ground)
  • Allspice (ground)
  • Paprika (ground)
  • Smoked paprika (ground)
  • Fennel (ground)


  • Sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Confectioner sugar
  • Flour (all purpose)
  • Corn starch
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Dutch coco powder
  • Dark chocolate (bar)
  • Walnuts or Pecans (shelled)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Raisins
  • Dry cranberries


  • Chicken stock
  • Beef stock
  • Bread crumbs (not seasoned)
  • Pasta (3 types)
  • White rice
  • Brown rice (optional)
  • Basmati rice (optional)
  • Chic peas (can)
  • Red beans (can)
  • Black bean (can)
  • Canalini bean (can)
  • Crushed tomatoes (can)
  • Tuna fish

Jars and bottles

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Anchovies (jar, pack in oil)
  • Capers (larger the better)
  • Assorted hot sauces
  • Worstershire sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • Red wine vinegar
  • White vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Honey
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise

Special ingredients

  • Molden’s flakey sea salt
  • Star anise (whole or pieces)
  • Cinnamon (whole)
  • Cloves (whole)
  • Black/white sesame seeds
  • Truffle oil (white or black)
  • Risotto (best you can find)
  • Sherry vinegar
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Vin santo (sweet Italian wine)
  • Sweet vermouth


  1. Hi Jonathan,
    Enjoyed the tour of your website although the necessaries for pantry are a little light. We live a 10 miles round trip from the nearest conveniece store and you wouldn’t want to shop there. Another 36 mile round trip gets us some basics. Sixty miles gets us to Krogers. Hmm. And getting snowed, iced in is not unusual. Dairy is the problem. We are NOT getting a cow or even a goat even though we have about 13 acres.
    We have lots of venison to cook. Our garden is huge and that is work as well as is putting food by–only two of us means most of it has to be put up. We bring lots of it to friends for gifting and perhaps you have had a taste or two. The huge freezer is a godsend. Little eating out–the nearest ‘fast food’–a Subway–is 36 miles and a mountain away. We do have a local restaurant (10 miles away) that emphasizes fresh local food when it can as local slow foods is a big movement here. Also a plan called Plant a Row for the Hungry is promoted.
    Eric has gout so no shellfish–there isn’t much in WV anyhow, no dark greens ( I miss spinach). He hates anchovy.
    So urban chef meets country survival. Soon it will be time to plant radish and lettuce. Fact: Lettuce and tomato do not come available at the same time. Lettuce bolts by the time toms ripen. We harvest gallons of blueberries. So far they have avoided the frost the last two years that killed our apples, peaches, pears and cherries. High hopes for this year. We are trying pumpkin the first time this year so I will look for innovative recipes. I love the taste (or the taste of cinnamon perhaps? roasted cinnamon? was that in the list? what is that?).
    Thanks for the reassurace on knife sharpening. With all this food prep and canning and freezing, we need sharp knives and see we are doing it right.
    Supper today is leftover chicken baked in a sauce of homemade peach butter that was seasoned with worchestershire, cinnamon, a little homemade jalapeno flakes and I forget what else. Our frozen green beans from the garden browned up with our homegrown garlic and then some homemade bread. Sometimes we can get Amish butter. I like vanilla yogurt and blueberries for dessert. Eric is stuck on vanilla ice cream.
    I have to admit. Sometimes I would just love to order in a NY pizza.


    • Cyla, thank you for giving us all something to think about. There is a big difference between Urban/Suburban pantry needs and the needs of a rural family setting. I can see that yours is dependent and changing due to season’s, harvets, needs. That’s a lot of planning. You have my utmost respect and admiration.

      PS: An idea for your left over chicken with peach butter might be an addition of Indian spices such as Garham Masala or Chinese 5 spice. This goes great with fruits and deep flavors. Add some butter or coconut milk and you have a whole new feast on your hands.

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