If there’s one thing I’ve learned during this enhanced community quarantine, it’s to always keep my kitchen well stocked. There were some dishes, for instance, which I was able to cook during the lockdown period because I had the ingredients in my cupboard—and conversely, there were dishes I couldn’t cook because I didn’t have the necessary ingredients.
One reason I had some of the staples was because of, uhm, my forgetfulness. Often, when shopping in the supermarket, I’d wonder whether or not I still had enough supplies. This could be anything from garlic, salt and ketchup to vinegar, sugar or pasta. Did I just buy these last week? I’d ask myself, and then not remember.
This uncertainty prompts me to load my shopping cart with the items in question—better to have more than none, I’d tell myself. Upon reaching home, however, I’d sometimes discover I still had two bottles of ketchup, or one kilo of sugar or several packs of pasta. Sigh.
On the other hand, I’d sometimes neglect to buy some condiments, thinking that I still had them at home—only to discover that the ketchup bottle is almost empty and I hadn’t bought a pack of pasta since last year.
The pandemic has changed all that. From now on, I’m committed to having a more organized pantry—and to listing down items needed before going to the store. Also, I have resolved to regularly check the expiration dates on these goods, so I can replenish those about to expire.
Here’s a checklist of some perishables and nonperishables you should always have, lockdown or no lockdown. Some ingredients, such as capers and olives, may not seem so useful, but wait till you come upon an irresistible recipe that calls for them. Imagine how lucky you’d feel if you found the needed ingredients in your pantry, ready to be used.
Condiments and seasonings:
Sugar (white and brown)
Vinegar (assorted kinds such as sugarcane vinegar, balsamic, coconut, black Chinese vinegar)Soy sauce (regular, light and sweet)
Cooking oil (vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil)
Beef/chicken/pork/shrimp cooking cubes
Herbs and spices:
While it’s best to use fresh herbs, you can stock up on dried herbs in case fresh ones aren’t available.
Saffron (in case you get the sudden urge to cook paella)
Sauces and mixes:
Hot pepper sauce
Mirin (for Japanese food)
Cheddar cheese (perishable so keep in the fridge)
Butter (same as cheddar cheese)
Coffee (your favorite brands)Tea
Assorted noodles (bihon,
Fresh greens/vegetables (Buy them when you see them because you never know when you’ll need them)
Coriander (wansoy leaves)
Spring onions (scallions)
You may think of others that are not on this list.
Be sure to include them in your own list the next time you buy your kitchen staples.