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The “need it now” shopper versus the need to stock the pantry

Back before the holidays, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about how the recession has changed Americans’ buying habits, particularly when it comes to stocking the pantry. The bottom line was that we are getting away from taking huge stock-up trips to discount warehouse club stores, and starting to buy only what we need when we need it.

Fewer shopping trips means getting more creative with the staples that you already have in your pantry. I wrote back in 2009 about my own experience with cooking down my pantry before a move. When you really look, it’s amazing what you can get out of the boring food items you usually overlook when you’re searching for something to eat at home.

But to be able to do it, you’ve got to strike a balance between over-buying–having so much stuff around that you can’t find anything–and keeping a workable amount and variety of staples on-hand.

Free Lance-Star nutrition columnist Jennifer Motl offered some help in that area in this week’s Healthy Living section. Her column offers tips on what oils to have around, as well as what short-cut items will help you stick to your schedule while keeping meals healthy.

What are some of your must-have pantry ingredients?

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  • reader

    Lemons. Gotta have lemons. And canned beans, but not beanie-weenie.

  • Mary BoweT

    i agree with lemons, also sundried tomatoes. you can whip up a pasta sauce with sundried tomatoes, onions, capers, throw in some red vermouth….tasty!