The Purposeful Pantry (Part 3 in the Dinner Series)

Last weekend I went to the Planktown market with my friend Emily to stock up and to get a feel for what was available.  I grew up in a house where buying in bulk was a monthly trip to Ashland for the food co-op.  I had been talking to other people in my area and tossing around the idea of getting together a group of us to do the co-op run together.  However, there is now a 10% processing fee in addition to the warehouse pricing on all items, a fee to purchase the catalog and a half hour drive.  I was beginning to see the impracticality of the decision.  So the hunt began to find an alternative.  Lucky for me, I have a like-minded friend!

Turns out, I can order most of the bulk items I use such as oats, for instance in quantities of up to 50 pounds.  The market is Amish run and has pretty much anything I will ever need.  So I set about stocking my pantry.  In order to have a fully functioning pantry I feel that there are a number of items you should have on hand at all times.  This way, no matter the mood when dinner time arises, you aren’t having to run to the store. 

My pantry consists of several Lance jars filled with:

  • flour
  • sugar
  • oats
  • rice
  • potato flakes
  • buckwheat flour
  • rye flour
  • brown sugar

Always on hand are dried pastas (I’m still working on the fresh pasta), beans, canned tomatoes and plenty of potatoes.  I keep a close eye on my baking supplies as well.  I buy yeast, baking powder and cornstarch in bulk and keep them in glass jars.  I still buy my baking chocolate in Walnut Creek, so I have to watch that because an hour drive for chocolate isn’t always possible.  And I’d hate to run out!

Finally, I always have at least one can each of red beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, tomatoes and corn.  This way, I have something to make a meal with… even if I’m buried in snow.

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