Remember to check those “best by” dates.
To be honest I’ve not paid much attention to the Covid-19 numbers very much for quite some time. Yesterday though, the numbers caught my attention:
My initial reaction was shock. But my thoughts quickly came back to food and preparing the pantry for the next lock down. I’m using this blog to maintain my personal pandemic pantry list and it is not intended to be THE LIST to follow. (At least I won’t forget where I put my pantry list.) IMO there are several reasons to keep your pantry well stocked:
- government mandated lock downs.
- self-imposed periods of sheltering in place either from direct exposure to an infected individual, becoming infected or living with an infected person, rampant uncontrolled viral spread in your community and/or social unrest.
- Panic buying/hoarding.
- Supply chain disruptions due to Covid-19 outbreaks at various points in the supply chain and/or panic buying behavior.
We just survived the worst ice storm imaginable and several days without electricity teaches you a thing or two. So I’ve started a list of non-food pantry items which over time will consist of stuff you need to have around when the lights go out. My shopping the past several months included picking up one of this and one of that to build up and back up the pantry. So here’s what the Pandemic Pantry looks like today with the supply on hand in parenthesis. Zero = no backup.
Pandemic Pantry Items – Last Updated 11.08.20
- Mayo (1) Mustard (0) Salsa (1) Ketchup (0)
- Pickles (1)
- Canned tomatoes in 14.5 and 28 ounce cans. Diced, crushed, diced with green chilies and stewed (8)
- Extra virgin olive oil (1)
- Brown and white sugar (0 and 1)
- Bay leaves, dried oregano, basil, and parsley (0)
- Onion and garlic powders
- Salt (1) and black pepper (0)
- Baking powder, baking soda, corn starch (0)
- Parmesan cheese (1)
- Bread crumbs (plain, Panko, seasoned) (1)
- Dried pastas (10 lbs)
- Dried beans such as brown and green lentils, pinto, black, adzuki, mayocabo, yellow and green split peas, black eye peas and cranberry (5 lbs)
- Canned beans such as garbanzos, black, black eye peas, pinto, great northern, navy (10)
- Broth, vegetable, beef, chicken (3)
- Rice – multiple varieties like basmati, brown, Texmati, arborio and plain long grain white (6 lbs)
- Flour and corn tortillas (0)
- Wheat germ (1)
- COFFEE ground (0) — K-cups (50ish)
- COFFEE FILTERS (0) — I suggest owning a single cup drip cone.
- Tea (120 tea bags all green decaf plus a few normal ones for me)
- Nuts (1)
- All purpose and whole wheat flours (or alternative flours if you’re into that sort of thing)
- Canned tuna (6)
- Canned green chilies (1)
- Oats (0)
- Cornmeal (0)
- Dried fruits (1)
- Whole grain and fruit/nut bars (20ish)
- Dry cereals and granola (0)
- Crackers (3)
- Vinegar (red wine, white wine,Balsamic, white Balsamic, apple cider, etc.) (1)
- Oil (besides EVO, vegetable, avocado, corn, etc.) (3)
- Peanut butter (2)
- Jelly and/or fruit spread (1)
- Glenmorangie 10 and 14 Single Malt Scotch (2)
Non-food Items – Paper
- Paper towels (66 double rolls)
- Toilet paper (56 double and MEGA rolls)
- Tissues (16)
- Napkins (2 small, 2 large packs)
Hopefully you’ll find this list useful. Personally while updating the list I’ve thought of items to add to this list and to my shopping list. Stay safe, stay well.
I got this in the mail today from a local Congresswoman (YES, Congresswoman not Congressperson). I’m not sure what happened to Barbara. Or Eric. I’m guessing this politician is looking for same sex support.
The original Household Executive order from an earlier Pandemic Pantry post has now been amended twice. The following is the Amended Household Executive Order for grocery shopping:
You are now allowed to go to more than one store per week so long as I need or want something that you cannot find at a single store. You no longer have to shop with the old people and are permitted to go at times when store traffic isn’t busy. You will always wear a mask and keep your distance from everyone else in the store. You may wander up and down the aisles like you usually do (but do it quickly). You no longer have to abide by the original “do not shower before going and decontaminate immediately upon return” section of the original decree. The decontamination protocol is suspended for the time being but may be reinstated at any time in the future without advance notice.
When you return from the store you will wash your hands for 20 seconds then put the groceries away. Place the bags of grocery items on top of the newspaper on top of the kitchen island. Any and all paper and plastic bags will not be recycled. They will go into the garbage along with the newspaper that covered the island surface. Disinfect the items you think need disinfecting. If you choose not to disinfect an item I must be informed of these items and agree not to touch them for 72 hours.
Don’t buy any more tuna.
The grocery store was not busy at 3:00 pm but busier than I expected. I managed to find everything on my list.
- Toilet paper and paper towels were well stocked.
- Cleaners and disinfectants aisle was not.
- Meat was plentiful.
- Fresh fruits, vegetables, bagged salads all in ample supply.
- Dairy, cheeses, eggs were well stocked.
But the best part of my shopping trip had nothing to do with food. I estimated around 90% of the customers were wearing masks. I only wish more of us would care more about the health of others and wear masks. The number of grocery stores I shop at now is a short list. The behavior of both store management and the customers pretty much determine where I shop. As an example at the liquor store I’ve been shopping at for over 16 years all of the employees wear masks. If you decide to shop indoors you must wear a mask. Despite the fact this store offers curbside minimal contact purchasing I like shopping in store. Plus the times I’ve entered the store I’m typically the only customer there. Apparently most of the other customers prefer curbside or delivery.
Stay safe. Wear a mask. Don’t go to these places or events:
America loves to drink. According to an April 2020 report from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Americans’ alcohol consumption reached 7.8 billion gallons in 2018. U.S. residents reportedly drank 6.3 billion gallons of beer, 900 million gallons of wine, and 570 million gallons of spirits. As a country, we drink an average…
Oklahoma! What happened???
The shortages at the grocery stores have abated. And to be honest I’ve gotten lazy at stocking the pantry since I’ve been able to find and buy pretty much most of the items on my list on shopping days. But with more supply chain disruptions to come in the future, shortages from sporadic bouts of hoarding behavior and more stress baking I continue to stock my pantry. And I’ve come to realize I haven’t updated my pantry list in nearly two months. The tipping point? I ran out of coffee, a monumental threat to my continued existence. So I started an add on list of forgotten items. Added together this comprises the first update to my Pandemic Pantry list in weeks.
One byproduct of sheltering in place I’ve noticed on my shopping trip was the literal disappearance of social skills in some individuals. Some people have forgotten how to behave in group social settings. Here’s a short list of my encounters today:
- Woman in the produce section stopping right in front of me in the middle of the aisle blocking passage while responding to something on her phone.
- Another woman stopping in the middle of an aisle leaving her cart on one side while she blocked passage standing on the other side of the aisle.
- Husband and wife having a discussion at the beginning of an aisle blocking access or passage to the aisle completely and…(wait for it)
- The jackass who squeezed right in front of me as I was reaching for an item to pick something off the shelf for himself.
None of these rude, selfish and inconsiderate people were wearing masks. None of these shoppers respected social (physical) distancing. I’m now considering buying a set of scrubs to wear along with my mask when food shopping. (I’ve heard stories that others will avoid you completely if you’re wearing scrubs.) It looks like I’ll probably be resorting to shopping during the Old People Hour because I know the oldies will be mask wearers and keep their distance.
Sorry for the mini-rant. But when you have a family member on the healthcare front line all of this matters a lot to me. Some people understand the pandemic isn’t over. The good news for the folks I tried not to get too close to today is we have plenty of ICU bed space available in our state.
Anyway, back to food and preparing the pantry for the next lock down. By now y’all have probably figured out that I’m using this blog to maintain my personal pandemic pantry list and is not intended to be The List to follow. At least I won’t forget where I put my pantry list.
Pandemic Pantry Items – Last Updated 04.18.20
- Canned tomatoes in 14.5 and 28 ounce cans. Diced, crushed, diced with green chilies and stewed
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Brown and white sugar
- Dried oregano, basil, and parsley
- Onion and garlic powders
- Bay leaves
- Parmesan cheese
- Dried pastas
- Dried beans such as brown and green lentils, pinto, black, adzuki, mayocabo, yellow and green split peas, black eye peas and cranberry
- Canned beans such as garbanzos, black, black eye peas, pinto, great northern, navy
- Broth, vegetable, beef, chicken
- Rice – multiple varieties like basmati, brown, Texmati, arborio and plain long grain white
- Flour and corn tortillas
The Forgotten Ones
- COFFEE !!! (consider a small jar of freeze dried also in case of emergency)
- All purpose and whole wheat flours (or alternative flours if you’re into that sort of thing)
- Canned tuna
- Canned green chiles
- Dried fruits
- Whole grain and fruit/nut bars
- Dry cereals and granola
- Vinegar (red wine, white wine,Balsamic, white Balsamic, apple cider, etc.)
- Oil (besides EVO, vegetable, avocado, corn, etc.)
- Peanut butter
- Jelly and/or fruit spread
Americans may wish the virus to be gone, but it is not. While the outbreak has eased in the Northeast, driving down the overall national numbers, cases have only plateaued in the rest of the country, and they appear to be on the rise in recent days in COVID Tracking Project data. Twenty-two states reported 400 or more new cases Friday, and 14 other states and Puerto Rico reported cases in the triple digits. Several states—including Arizona, North Carolina, and California—are now seeing their highest numbers of known cases.
SIP (Shelter in Place) Food Shopping Report
The early Old People Shopping Hour was nearly over by the time I got to the store. There weren’t many customers and all were practicing appropriate physical distancing, all were wearing masks. I made a list and pretty much stuck to the list. The shortages were spotty and I managed to buy nearly every item on my list. The trip was no scavenger hunt this week. The most surprising part of this week’s shopping adventure? Markdowns on certain items. Bacon (what meat shortage?), gourmet potato chips normally $4 a bag at almost half price, organic whole grain bread at a 33% discount from usual retail. I actually had fun at the store and it felt nearly normal.
Check out time brought me back to the new normal reality. There were just two check out lines open and the lines of people waiting stretched into the aisles (six feet apart, of course). The two back to back express check out lanes were gone. I wonder if some workers had to stay home or if another reason existed for the lack of check out lanes open. Old People Shopping Hour was over and the store got busier quickly. Only around 75% of the customers were wearing masks. I saw a mother/daughter combo shopping. There were young families of three and four shopping together, no masks. I guess they didn’t get the memo on masks or the recommendation that just one family member do the shopping. I would also venture a guess that these people don’t have a HCW on the front line and simply do not know the risk.
Last night’s leftover dinner mashup was an unmitigated disaster. I added a can of beans to some leftover chili and we ended up eating a bowl of inadequately seasoned beans for dinner. I thought I’d try a new recipe for Cornbread Griddle Cakes and they were awful as in awful dry. The Boss said something to the effect that our usual cornbread recipe was better which is Spouse Speak for you better not ever make this again or I’ll divorce you. So I woke up this morning needing to have a bountiful shopping trip and I got lucky.
Stay safe. Stay home (for just a few more weeks).
The Household Executive order from an earlier Pandemic Pantry post has not been allowed to expire. The order however was amended. The following is the Amended Household Executive Order for grocery shopping:
“You are now allowed to go to more than one store per week so long as I need or want something that you cannot find at a single store. You no longer have to shop with the old people and are permitted to go at times when store traffic isn’t busy. You will continue to wear a mask and keep your distance from everyone else in the store. You may wander up and down the aisles like you usually do. You will not shower before going. When you come back you will wash your hands for 20 seconds then put the groceries away. Disinfect the items you think need disinfecting. The plastic bags will not be recycled. They will go into the garbage. You will then go into the laundry room where you will strip down and put your clothes into the washing machine. Then and only then you go to our bathroom to decontaminate (and don’t use my bar of soap, use your body wash).”
The grocery store was less of a scavenger hunt this week. There were still some empty shelves but I managed to buy most of the items on my list. With all of the supply chain issues still ongoing I didn’t know what to expect. Here are my observations from this morning. Bear in mind your specific locale may be a lot different.
- Toilet paper and paper towels were back in stock (limited brand choices and limited supply).
- Cleaners and disinfectants aisle was empty.
- Meat was plentiful. Those creepy scary pictures of empty meat cases you see online? That was not a problem here.
- Fresh fruits, vegetables, bagged salads all in good supply (except zucchini and I wanted some zucchini).
- Frozen french fries were available (another internet horror story of shortages).
- Dairy, cheeses, eggs absolutely well stocked.
Retails prices on meat are creeping upwards. So while the supplies are plentiful I picked up a few extra items for the freezer. Last week I found frozen turkeys for $0.49 a pound so I have a ten pound bird in the freezer. Here is my Pandemic Pantry Freezer Supply:
- The turkey
- Three or four loaves of garlic bread (one might be five cheese bread)
- Several loaves of whole grain bread
- Two deep dish pie shells
- Spinach and potato pirogies
- Spinach and cheese ravioli
- Cheese tortellini
- Corn, peas, spinach, butternut squash
- Two packages ground turkey
- Chicken breasts
- Two packages top blade beef
- Two small sirloin steaks
So now between the canned/dried pantry items, freezer items, and fresh finds when found we should be OK even if the excrement hits the rotating blades. I can shop at two stores a week. I had already bought some items at my first allowed grocery stop two days ago (because someone in the house tosses dairy on the expiration date and we needed ice cream).
I’ve been even more diligent about keeping my food waste low since the pandemic started, since our visits to the grocery store are few and far between. So when I was taking stock of what was on hand the other day, the puzzle pieces started to move into place in my head…
It’s comforting to know your thoughts are shared by others during the Greater Depression. I have definitely reduced the amount of food waste in our household. Shopping trips for grocery items are definitely reduced in number and some trips will be bountiful while other trips less so. Nice to know I’m not the only cook who stares at “the puzzle pieces” to figure out what to make.
In case you missed last week’s Pandemic Pantry post I have copied over the household Executive Order:
“You can go to the store and shop with the old people. You will wear a mask and keep your distance from everyone else in the store. You will not wander up and down the aisles like you usually do. You will not shower before going. When you come back you will wash your hands for 20 seconds then put the groceries away. Disinfect the items you think need disinfecting. The plastic bags will not be recycled. They will go into the garbage. You will then go into the laundry room where you will strip down and put your clothes into the washing machine. Then and only then you go to our bathroom to decontaminate.”
So I guess you could say I was surprised this morning when The Boss said,
“You can go to two stores today.”
Two stores! I was pretty excited! This modern day scavenger hunt had a greater chance of success. Two stores! I was so excited I forgot my mask. No worries though. I used the disposable mask in the car and disposed of it after my trip. I remembered my list, wallet, phone, keys, and disinfectant wipes. It was time to start the hunt.
My first stop was the big box drugstore on the corner where I found both toilet paper and paper towels. I hadn’t purchased either of these paper goods in over a month. The drugstore had a few packages remaining on the shelves. I asked one of the employees if there was a purchase limit. Two she said. So in addition to vitamins, allergy meds and a nail buffer I scored two giant packages of TP and PT. If I found nothing at my second stop the shopping trip/hunt would have been a success.
Store #2 was the grocery store. My list was a short list but this was a scavenger hunt. What could I find that I might have use for later? The broccoli crowns were not the freshest but I bought some anyway. Green beans, a few apples, strawberries, new potatoes and a head of green leaf lettuce, one Roma tomato, one green pepper. No mushrooms. I bought the best two in the bulk mushroom bin and left around six for other shoppers. Tortillas, check. Whole wheat buns and two loaves of garlic bread, check. A bag of frozen spinach and ricotta raviolis. A dozen eggs for $0.99 (the last dozen cost $3.33). Some cheese. A back up jar of salsa, a back up jar of fruit spread.
I was about to call the hunt over and a success when I found frozen turkeys for $0.49 a pound (it’s the item under bananas). For under five bucks I got a 10 pound turkey.
So tonight’s dinner was meatloaf, mashed and fresh wilted spinach. I also picked up some ground beef since many of the remaining meat items didn’t appeal to me.
Two stores! Paper towels AND toilet paper! A whole turkey for less than five dollars! And I didn’t have to shop with the old people.