In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic many of us will be heading to the supermarket to stock up on our pantry essentials for the upcoming weeks. Hopefully by now we are all practicing social distancing and keeping congregation in public to a minimum, which means that a lot of us will be cooking for ourselves because we can’t go by granny for food or visit our favorite restaurants.
Sidenote: Local restaurants are providing curbside pickup and delivery services and we encourage you to make use of them if you can. In this time our food and beverage industry will be facing serious challenges and would need your support to keep their doors open so they can pay staff and not suffer losses associated with food spoilage.
It’s no secret that the best emergency food items to buy are the ones with the longest shelf life, this means canned and dried goods, frozen foods, powdered seasonings and sauces. So I put together a shopping list of some key ingredients you can purchase to stock your pantry. Over the next few days we will be focusing our content on giving you meal ideas and inspiration to transform these ingredients into delicious meals, make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss out on any updates.
Canned legumes are one of the most versatile food items you can buy, whether you’re making a quick rice and peas, a stew peas and dumpling or a delicious chick peas soup, canned legumes are an absolute must to stock your pantry with.
Calm your social distancing and coronavirus anxieties by doing more baking. Leave the stand mixer with the dough hook in the corner and get back to basics, become one with the dough and experience the therapeutic benefits of bread making. For those with gluten allergies, you can pick up some gluten free options then head to Google to find a wealth of amazing gluten free baking recipes online.
Lets not forget the soothing comfort that a cup of dhal can bring into your life or a hearty bowl of soup. Make a pot of stewed lentils and dumpling for the family or go even further and try your hand at dhalpuri, we have a great recipe by Reshmi from Taste of Trini right here on the website.
Rice is an absolute must have item in your pantry but don’t be afraid to switch it up a bit and get some other grains like Couscous or Quinoa they are as easy to prepare and just as versatile as rice.
Choose your seasonings individually or go for your favorite blends. You may not be fortunate enough to have a kitchen garden with fresh herbs but you want your dishes to be fragrant and flavorful, grab a few of your favorite dried herbs to help bring that dish to life.
While I’m definitely a “make your sauce from scratch” kinda guy so my go-to base sauce would always be Tomato Paste, sometimes you just ain’t got time for that and need to get your spaghetti done in a jiffy.
Stewed beef, oxtail or cow heel soup can still be on the menu! Check out the frozen meats section in your favorite supermarket.
Don’t just think of milk for drinking but also as a key ingredient in many meals. Whether it’s for cereal, baking cakes, DIY Alfredo Sauce or spending some time with the children in the kitchen making pancakes, milk is definitely a great item to have on hand. There are also great lactose free options available.
Eggs are essential for a quick breakfast omelette, egg fried rice or that sponge cake recipe you’ve been meaning to try for the longest while.
After you had your zen moment making homemade bread and the beautiful aromas are wafting through your house, you obviously need the perfect thing to have with it, cheese and butter are the obvious choices.
This item might get overlooked by a few shoppers but you’d be doing yourself a disservice by omitting it. We have a great Fry Bake & Saltfish recipe, even if you’re not a big buljol fan (btw check out Jaiga’s Buljol recipe video on our YouTube channel), everyone loves accra and we have a great accra recipe on the website as well, not to mention saltfish will last forever and a day in your fridge.
We need some complex carbs in the mix but we may have anxieties about going to the market to get ground provisions. Frozen provisions are a great substitute.
These items can last a few weeks in your kitchen. Onion and garlic are absolutely essential for cooking almost any dish and potatoes are the ultimate in versatility, there are so many ways in which you can prepare them that it would leaving them out of your shopping cart would be a mistake.
I love cereal but my go-to are old fashioned whole oats or steel cut oats #strenk, but if you’re not a fan of oats or prefer corn flakes then there’s a wide selection of cereals to choose from in your favorite supermarket.
It might seem like an obvious thing but if you’re not accustomed operating in the kitchen, this essential item could be overlooked. The next thing you know you’re following one of my recipes which almost always start off with “saute your aromatics” and you left standing there wondering what to do with yourself. #facepalm.
For me, hot beverages are a must. If you are one of the fortunate who don’t have issues with gas then I guess this isn’t an essential item but I would not be able to function without a hot cup of tea during the day
Social distancing doesn’t mean that you have to stay cooped up in the house. If your supermarket sells fresh herbs and peppers etc, pick up a few pots and start your own herb garden. The children are home from school so get them involved in this activity and the great thing is, you’ll have fresh herbs to cook with. This is a win win situation for all.
Just a reminder that I will be using some of the items here in the coming days to do some Quarantine Cooking content so be sure to Like, Follow & Subscribe. If you enjoyed this article please feel free to share it with your friends and family and please observe all the necessary safety protocols so we may help lessen the risk of contagion with the coronavirus.
If I left out any item that you think is essential, let me know in the comments.