My son made an interesting comment the other day.  We were talking about pantries and he mentioned that none of his friend’s mothers had pantries like mine.  I asked him what he meant — he said they all had only a few items in the cupboard, whereas I had enough food to feed the multitude.  I thought this was interesting as I didn't think my pantry was unusual — my pantry is the same as my mothers, considering she was the one who taught me the skills of the kitchen. Mine contains enough essential foods so I don’t need to visit the shops for the week or so and in an emergency I have plenty of food (eg if I got sick).  And, most importantly, if visitors come over I can prepare a meal without much difficulty.

So what is in my pantry (I may have missed a thing or two)
Sugars: white, brown, confectioners, honey, maple syrup
Rice (different varieties)
Pasta (different varieties)
Baking Powder/Baking Soda
Cocoa Powder
Custard powder
Herbs and spices (lots)
Bread crumbs
Dried beans/split peas
Prepared mustards, ketchup
Mayonnaise/Salad dressing
Vinegar (different types)
Coffee and tea (variety)
Spreads: jam, peanut butter, vegemite etc..
Raisins, sultanas, currents
Cereal, roll oats, muesli plus others
Milk: long life, evaporated, condensed, dry, long life cream
Gravy Mix
Relish, pickles and other condiments, sauces for marinading, mayonnaise
Canned Fish-Tuna, Salmon, Anchovies, Sardines
Canned: vegetables, soups, beans, baked beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato puree, spaghetti sauce
Grated Parmesan
Packet jellies, packet puddings etc.

How can young women today know how to stock a pantry, if their own mothers don’t do it themselves. It is another one of those kitchen skills that isn't being past onto the next generation of women.  And being a working woman is not an excuse, as I am one and having a well stocked pantry saves me heaps of time. I learnt from my mum (which I am very pleased about) and I am pretty certain that my sons will in turn copy me (if their wives haven’t learnt these skills). Not being fond of numerous trips to the shops I make sure my pantry is always well stocked. Is it out of fashion to have a well stocked pantry?  It also can save money by buying in bulk.

I had a quick look at a 1930's cookbook to see what they recommended for the pantry - many items were the same as I have in mine, but here are a few things I don't have: tapioca, sago, arrowroot, sponge fingers, anchovies, tinned lobster, mock turtle soup, ox-tail soup, fish paste, Turkish lady's fingers (?)!!  They also recommend a large variety of tinned soups and fruits - one of every variety  by the looks of it.


  1. Hmmm, must be the next generation as (you know) I too have a well stocked pantry, with enough food to make something, if needed, for whoever is around!! Love your list. I also have powdered mashed potato for thickening stuff, if I don't thicken with whole grain rolled oats, usually have a pack of dried mushroom, which turns into a great mushroom based stock, and plenty of herbs and spices. I suspect that many people do not cook much at all any more. Sad really. LL S

  2. Oops forgot those things - I use dried potato to thicken (it is so handy in casseroles) plus misto to make potato pancakes). I think I forgot stock as well.

  3. I don't necessarily think it is out of date. I have been by many moms' blogs that have discussed the need for a well-stocked pantry. Perhaps it just depends on the area you are from.

    I know our cupboards could probably use more of the items on your list, but as a whole we tend to stock up, especially when winter is approaching, just in case of a storm or something!

  4. Sounds like my pantry, but then my mothers pantry looked liked your pic with rows of Vacola bottles with preserves in them. I don't do any preserving but do lots of baking & love to cook, maybe thats the difference.
    Love that tip about using the potato to thicken, I'll have to squeeze it into my bulging pantry!

  5. I don't think my pantry is as well stocked as yours Jo and the one in the first picture looks almost too good to be true! LOL

    I do have most of my necessaries in there though, but I am hopeless at shopping for groceries just once a week. I am always ducking in to get milk or bread, so I usually get what I may need then. I don't do any baking these days, so that eliminates a few of those necessities for me.

    My mother always had a fantastic pantry and very well organised. She did love to cook though, whereas I just do basic meals at home usually.

  6. Amanda - no bottled fruit in my house as I don't like it!! As I don't like popping into the shop more than once a week I keep lots of long life milk (in the cupboard) and bread (in the freezer). If we don't have something in the house, we don't eat it!! It is a great way of saving money I must say. I usually buy far more than I first set out to buy if I go to the shops.

  7. That's true Jo... I always manage to come out with quite a few more things than I intended to buy. Unfortunately in this regard, I have a fussy husband who only likes certain milk. And, we only have one of those freezers on top of the fridge... it doesn't hold too much so sometimes I can't fit the bread in there.

    I don't do a big weekly shop usually... just a semi one lol.

  8. Yep, I could cook in your home too - I suspect you'd be okay in mine. I'm afraid mine doesn't look like the one in the pic though. Does yours? Drool, slobber, slobber.

  9. We go shopping for the main pantry items (the list of what is in mine would be longer than yours I think) only once a month, and then my husband picks up fresh milk on his way home from work (don't like the longlife stuff)! I bake my own bread, so I don't store any of that, however we have a deep freezer in which I store family sized portions of all the meats we eat, frozen vegies, butter and all other necessities. I would HATE to not have everything stocked in the house. If there was some kind of disaster, I reckon we could eat for about a month or so on what is in our house - I buy a lot of things in bulk (eg. 20kg flour sacks), too!! :) I know some people who shop every day for what they need - this is SO bad for a budget, and it would drive me insane; I am a home-body!

  10. Clara - It would take me a very long time to get through 20kg of flour and I am not sure I have anywhere to store that much. I agree with you on cost, far better to shop as infrequently as possible.

    My family all like long-life milk, they don't have any choice!! I also freeze enough meat for just over a week, plus frozen veggies, bread, butter, ice cream etc.. I could last a couple of weeks if disaster hit - longer if I had to.

    No Jeanne - not my cupboard, mine is very modern looking and no bottled fruit - don't like tinned or bottled fruit at all:)

  11. LOL, it takes us awhile to get through the flour too (probably about 1-2 months, depending on our baking needs), and we don't really have anywhere good to store it either, it sits in 3 big bucket containers on top of my potatoes & onions box! But when you bake bread several times a week and go through stages of lots of other baking, it just works out more practical to buy it in bulk (and I like the organic non-bleached stuff, anyway!). Regarding milk, that is one thing we do not cut back costs on. We buy milk that is produced in our town, which hasn't been altered by heaps of processing (most milks have the natural fats removed and replaced with polyunsaturated fats that are bad for you - this milk has natural saturated fats in it) - it's so fresh and organic and the saturated fats leaves more of the creaminess in it. It is much closer to the way God intended milk to be and so yummy!!! :) :)

  12. :-( I am diappointed, Jo.
    I thought that was you in that well stocked larder! Sigh.
    I reckon we could live at least a month on our pantry, too. My girls are both good at the once a week shop and one commented the other day that she was thrilled to finally have all her herbs, sauces, baking basics built up.

  13. My pantry isn't quite as well stocked as yours, Jo, but I keep most of what's on your list in there, including a variety of pastas & noodles. I can always make a quick meal if necessary.

  14. I think mine is similar to yours but in smaller quantities as we only have a very small kitchen, make that tiny:)
    I shop once a week too as shopping with dd in tow gets too expensive if we go too often:)

  15. I laughed and then quickly started to shake my head at a story I saw not long ago that was written to tell people how long various items should be kept before throwing them away. The list included such things as a bag of flour, which they claim could be kept for up to a year without needing to be replaced. Needless to say, a 5 lb bag of flour often doesn't last the week at my house, let along a year!

  16. I don't do any canning or preserving but I do lots of freezing as we are fortunate enough to have a separate chest freezer in our basement. This saves me lots of time and money because I can always make more than I need for a meal and freeze it. I keep my pantry stocked pretty much like yours. We hardly have any premade convenience items but instead ingredients to make all kinds of good things to eat. Great post!exiercis

  17. I have a well-stocked pantry, too. It is a major priority for me. It makes everything so much simpler. And like Clara, we only shop for the main staples once a month or so. Where we live, we can't just run to the store all the time, and if we did use the local store regularly, the cost would bleed us dry! I think I have all the same things in my pantry as you have, minus the canned fishes (yuck!). I also make sure the freezer is well-stocked. And finally, I make a menu for 4 to 6 weeks in advance, make my grocery list from that, and shop for what we need, not what the store wants us to buy. It all works very well, and we always know what's for dinner! Our pantry and freezer are full of ingredients rather than pre-packaged foods, too. Anything to simplify, make wholesome food, and save money!


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