Day 24,432: The Need to Stay Stocked Up

The Coronavirus is among us, and everyone is running to stores to stock up. I am no exception. Luckily, we didn’t need toilet paper, but are more in need of frozen and fresh vegetables, potatoes, onions, and stew meats. I tend to do long-form cooking when stuck at home for weekends or self-inflicted quarantines.

I had just gotten to the point where my pantry was paring down. Over the years, my family had come to call it the magic pantry. Whenever we would pull out a cookbook for a last-minute recipe and find it filled with odd ingredients, the family would sigh, “We don’t have that do we?”  I was known to often reply, “Sure we do. It’s in the pantry.”  And, it usually was.

Last summer, my daughter invited several friends to our South Jersey home for a beach weekend. Since we’re now the parents of adult children, we left the premises to allow her to play hostess on her own, but not without first informing her that we really had no food in the house. The fridge was bare. The guests and she would have to stop at the grocery store before descending on the beach house.

What’s Your Definition of Bare?

Turns out my definition of bare diverges widely from others. I had condiments in the fridge and a pantry filled with pasta and other dry goods.  The guests informed my daughter that my definition of “bare” paralleled their parent’s definition of a fully stocked kitchen. Who knew?

Now, most of the country is being put on quarantine with the request to stay put for up to two weeks or more. I can tell you my pantry is not bare and neither is my fridge. My freezer is full, but it was that way pre-quarantine. The pantry has been over-stocked with more canned goods than we might ordinarily have, but it really just looks like it did when I had a full house of kids running around.

According to writer Gretchen Rubin, I am a classic Over-Buyer. In any situation, I will tend to buy two of things at a time rather than one.  It’s not a food insecurity thing, but maybe a time insecurity thing.  When the kids were little, time was short and rather than make two trips to the store, I would stock up during a once a week binge at the local Stop ‘n Shop. For me, it was Stop ‘n Stock Up.

According to my kids, I’m a classic Jewish mother. I can make matzo ball soup in a pinch, but am more likely to make gluten-free pasta with fresh veggies. The former is only when someone is sick and the latter is a weekly thing.

These days I find I just don’t enjoy grocery shopping all that much, so it’s nice to come home and have everything already there. For some that’s over-stocking. For me, it’s being ready for that cold, windy day, viruses notwithstanding.  In this situation, I hope to keep the virus out of the house. I also hope it stays out of all of your homes as well.

Stay healthy my friends. You are precious to me and I want us all to just add this tale to 9-11, the gas crisis of the 1970s, Anthrax, and Hurricane Sandy. We need to live to tell the tale. If you are nearby and need a cup of sugar, please knock on the door. I may not let you in, but I will pass the sugar out. You can have white, brown, monk fruit, or coconut palm. They are all in the magic pantry.