Look What a Pantry Can Do for You!

They Save Time, Reduce Stress, Save Money, Produce Intriguing Meals and Maybe Even Lead to Enlightenment

Previous articles alluded to the many benefits of a pantry, but just to make sure I put them directly in your face, let me list them all together here:

Money Savings The way money disappears at the grocery store has no logical explanation.  You walk in to buy a head of lettuce and box of crackers and walk out with two bags of groceries and a $30 bill.

Impulse buying is the best I can do in the way of explaining how an ordinary grocery store can be transformed into a money-sucking Bermuda Triangle.  Walking into a grocery store we cast ourselves into the arena and become targets of a marketing onslaught worthy of any Roman gladiator.  Only giants of mental fortitude can escape without succumbing to one ploy or another.  That’s why ordinary harried shoppers who are tempted to “make a quick stop at the store” would do well to just keep driving.  But how can we go without that “quick stop at the store?”  With a well-stocked pantry, of course!

Here’s another reason pantries save money.  Once you get in a rhythm and know your pantry needs, you can feel safe stocking up when a staple goes on sale.  I, for one, can go through a carton or two of chicken broth per week.  Knowing this, I feel completely confident investing in a case of the stuff when it drops to $1.99 from $2.49.  I know it won’t sit unused in the basement but will provide a delightful, low-cal flavor boost for dozens of dishes over the next couple months.

Finally, a well-stocked pantry reduces the temptation to dial for takeout or head to a restaurant for dinner, options that are nearly always more expensive than a home-prepared meal.  If a trip to the store doesn’t stand between you and a delicious, healthful meal, why not make an economical dish at home?  With all the ingredients at your fingertips, it can be done in about the same amount of time that it takes to drive to and from a restaurant, wait in line, wait to order, wait for your meal and wait to pay!

Time Savings The post on “Investment Thinking at the Grocery Store” explained how the pantry saves shopping time.  It has to do with overhead, i.e., a trip to the store requires a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes, whether you buy one thing or a hundred.  So if you are going to the store, why not get at least 40 or 50 of the things you use all the time and slash your “per unit shopping time?”  Imagine how much time would be freed up for cooking if you didn’t have to squeeze in a shopping trip before the cutting, chopping and frying begins.

Stress Reduction It’s no big leap to see how a pantry reduces stress.  Picture a typical shopping trip:  fighting traffic to get there, weaving to miss cars that are darting around the parking lot, dodging other shoppers in the aisles, deciphering all the nutritional gibberish on packages, hurrying to get through and get out, looking for foods you can’t find, tromping down endless aisles, and so on.  Keeping a well-stocked pantry means fewer of these excursions and all the stress and aggravation that goes with them.

Healthier, More Interesting Meals Money, time and stress savings are huge benefits.  Can you believe that in addition, having a pantry will result in meals that are better tasting and better for you?  How often, when eating out, do you order the “healthy menu option?”  If you’re like me, the answer is rarely to never.  Eating out is a reason to splurge a little.  And as for moderation, that rarely happens at restaurants.  That’s why I always feel better eating my own, light, vegetable-rich meals, made just the way I like them.

I get so excited about the meal-making potential of the pantry.  So you can imagine my delight to find some validation in O Magazine, from none other than Tony Mantuano, a famous chef in Chicago.  He had discovered seven enlightened pantry additions on a recent trip to Europe and was so enthralled with their flavor and possibilities that he shared them in “The Great Pantry Makeover.”  His finds (capers in salt, chickpeas, harissa, Mediterranean olives, passato di pomodoro, piquillo peppers and tuna in olive oil) were even going to find their way into the menu for his next superstar restaurant.

“The Great Pantry Makeover” article is a perfect segue into the next installment in this series, “Pantries Aren’t Museums!”  Find the  link below, along with links to all the articles in this series.

Ready to begin experimenting with a pantry.  Build one if you’re pantry-less, or if you’ve got a pantry, find out how to make the most of it.   Check out my book, Take Control of Your Kitchen, which explains what to buy and how to store and organize it for easy access, or email to set up some individual kitchen coaching where we focus on setting up a helpful and healthful pantry.

Invaluable Kitchen Resource Gets No Respect

Remedy for the Post-Vacation Refrigerator Blues

Time Spent Stocking the Pantry Isn’t Wasted, It’s Invested!

How Many Great Meals Are Hiding In Your Pantry?

. . . or Do a Better Job Working the One You Have

Good News:  The Fun of a Pantry Journey Lasts More than an Afternoon

Pantries Save Time, Reduce Stress, Save Money, Produce Intriguing Meals and Maybe Even Lead to Enlightenment

How to Breathe Fresh Air Into Yours


One Response

  1. […] Articles and Mediterranean Treats As mentioned in yesterday’s article, O Magazine recently reported that top chef Tony Manturano went on a shopping spree to Europe and […]


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