Pantry Prep

February 24, 2009

On the Feb 17th Martha Stewart show, Martha talked about pantries – what should be in yours and how to make inexpensive meals using pantry items.

My messy pantry

My messy pantry

When we moved to this house I was so excited to actually have a real pantry. It’s a closet built over the basement stairs and it has lots of shelves and space to keep food. Almost all of my dried and canned goods are kept in this pantry.

Martha and guest Anna Last (Everyday Food Editor) talked about what should be in your pantry and I thought the list was good. I have every single item on the list!

– Canned tomatoes

– Tuna

– Black beans

– Chick peas

– Breadcrumbs

– Panko

– Pasta

– Rice

– Mustard

– Vinegar

– Olive oil

– Chicken stock

– Mustard

– Salt

– Pepper

– Capers

– Anchovies

There are a few other things that are always in my pantry. Martha might not agree with them though!

– Mac and cheese. I know. Martha would think it’s gross, but when you have kids, sometimes they really do want the orange box stuff.

– Beef stock

– Bouillon cubes. Sometimes I add these to soup when it is tasting a little weak.

– Tomato paste

– Spaghetti sauce. I like to make my own, but it is very labor intensive to peel 50 tomatoes and then end up with enough for only one or two meals.

– Dried herbs. Are we all pronouncing the ‘H’ in herbs? I have a pretty large collection of herbs and spices.

– Different salts. My family loves exotic salts from around the world and they are especially good on steak.

– Balsamic vinegar. Mini-Martha will only use this as a salad dressing and nothing else.

– Tamari sauce, hoisin, fish sauce, teriyaki sauce, and rice wine vinegar are my Asian must-haves in the pantry.

– Canned soup. I always have a can or two of soup around, organic if possible, because you never know when someone is going to get sick and really want a bowl of soup.

– Kidney beans. I use these in chili and other Mexican dishes.

– A jar of minced garlic. I know, Martha would yell, but fresh garlic doesn’t last forever and I like to have a jar of this just in case.

– A jar of pesto. Another item Martha would disparage, but I love the way it tastes and fresh basil is not easy to come by in the winter.

What are your must-have pantry items? Do you agree with Martha?

Didn’t you love how Martha was doing a show about affordable meals and yet mentioned how she goes into her grocery store and buys every single type of pasta (over 30 types) that they sell?! She can afford to do that, but most people watching her show can’t. And even if they could, who has the space to store over 30 types of pasta?Things like this make me wonder how in touch Martha is with the rest of us. Does she not realize not everyone can do this? Or is she aware, but simply doesn’t care how extravagant it makes her look?

I also loved how Martha told Margot Olshan how she has a rosemary tree and Margo said something snarky like “I’m not surprised”. I actually had a rosemary plant I kept in the house for a few years, but then eventually I killed it.


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