Food Inventory: What’s in My Cupboards

Photo: (Nava Atlas)

Photo: (Nava Atlas)

The last time I reorganized my food cupboards was about two years ago! Yesterday I tidied them up and took stock. When I started eating vegetarian, I thought I would want a huge array of dried beans and grains on hand all the time. Instead we eat a good variety, and mostly buy small amounts at a time. We can get most things cheaply from the Bulk Barn, but I do buy massive packages of nuts and raisins at Costco!

Here is what the shelves look like and what I usually have in the house:

Baking Pantry

Baking Pantry

There are 5 empty glass jars because I didn’t restock stuff I rarely use!

Top Shelf:

  • Empty jars, electric mixer, small baking supplies (extracts, birthday candles, sprinkles, dried coconut)

Middle Shelf:

  • (Red canisters) White flour, white sugar, brown sugar, icing sugar. On right: Bran, sea salt, salt, corn starch (replace with arrowroot?), baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, yeast, cocoa powder, molasses.
  • Usually also have: chocolate chips

Bottom Shelf: 

  • (At left) Dried chick peas and pinto beans, white and brown rice, whole wheat and white pasta (rotini), red lentils, millet, couscous, quinoa
  • (At right) Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts (filberts), cashews, raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots
  • Usually also have: green or brown lentils, barley, small amount of wild rice
Packaged Foods Cupboard

Packaged Foods Cupboard

Top Shelf:

  • “Breakfast cookies” (?), rice cakes, sweet potatoes, popcorn, rice cooker, KD.
  • Not shown: spaghetti and lasagna noodles

Middle Shelf:

  • Whole wheat crackers, puffed wheat cereal in bag, whole wheat flour, 5 more kinds of breakfast cereal.
  • Not shown: Triscuit crackers, regular and quick oats

Bottom Shelf: 

  • (At left) Homemade salsa, jam and pickles. Cans: Mandarin oranges, sliced black olives. Soy sauce.
  • (Middle) Cans: soup, baked beans UK style, white kidney beans.
  • Not shown: red kidney beans, black beans, butter beans, refried beans. Not sure if there are enough kinds of beans 🙂
  • (At right) Marmite, peanut butter, Nutella, honey, plain applesauce used for baking
  • Need immediately (ran out): canned diced and crushed tomatoes, jars of spaghetti sauce
  • Usually also have: can of coconut milk for curries
  • Sometimes buy: tortilla chips

Stored Elsewhere (not pictured):

  • Olive oil (big 3L container), non-GMO canola oil, sesame oil
  • Vinegars (white, malt, balsamic, rice)
  • Spices (lots)
  • 10 lb bag of potatoes
  • Bananas (on counter)
  • Packaged custard and tapioca mixes
  • Bag of Kerr’s fruit drop candy
  • Coffee and tea (needs its own post)

Between this post and yesterday’s fridge contents post, that accounts for all the food in the house. With our usual fridge and pantry staples, we can make almost all the meals in our repertoire, which has grown to a reasonable size!

What are some of your most-used pantry staples? Anything you love that I’ve missed?


  1. tribw

    Love Your super structered cupboards!!

  2. Your shelves are so well organized!! Not so ours! I think we need a bit more space than what we have got.

  3. Holly

    Again, we are pretty similiar. I have the usual suspects of quinoa, brown rice, dried red lentils, navy beans, split peas, etc. I have all the varieties of beans in a can and assorted tomato products. I have coconut milk. I go through a lot of brown rice pasta, and also applesauce. The DH is an applesauce freak. I also keep some granola bars on hand for him, and some GF cookies. And I use RAW Fiber by Garden of Life as a seed replacement/thickener. I have a couple of tubs of that. I have at most one box of cereal at any given time. I keep most of my nuts, seeds and nut butters in the fridge, though I might have an unopened almond butter in the pantry at any given time.

    • OK, now I am curious what you eat for breakfast!

      • Holly

        Oh yes, I can see why that would be a question. It’s not terribly exciting. I usually eat a late breakfast of a smoothie. I make it at home and take it to work with me. It’s soy, spinach, fruit and almond milk, sometimes with that RAW Fiber stuff added, mostly not. My DH eats his beloved frozen waffles or else fruit, toast and non-dairy yogurt. Once in a while I will have toast with peanut butter and fruit, but that’s more of a weekend thing. I’m just not hungry early in the morning so I don’t force it. I like cold cereal very much, but I don’t have a need for it right now so I am not buying it.

      • I wish I were not so hungry early in the morning – I work out and then I load up on food!

  4. I have way too many noodles – for chinese, vietnamese, japanese, greek, and italian cooking. Rice, wheat, buckwheat, you name it, the noodles are buried somewhere in our cabinets. I am not well organized, but at least I no longer buy duplicates. I take a census before I shop. I am also ridiculously multicultural in the bean/legume/pulse/grain department.
    In the summer I am a big fan of summer rolls with rice wrappers and noodle salads made with rice vermicelli and lots of herbs (cilantro, basil, and mint) and other stuff.

  5. Now my cupboards will have to be sorted as you’ve put me to shame!

  6. EcoCatLady

    Hmmm… I don’t eat cold cereal or most nuts (allergies), and I can’t believe you really consume marmite… like is this of your own volition? Really? Blick, yuck, pewey!

    Let’s see… “must haves” for me that don’t show up in your list include canned fish (tuna, salmon, herring), sushi nori, coconut oil, shao xing cooking wine, lasagna noodles, oatmeal, and my guilty pleasure – mayonnaise (hey, I’m an American, I can’t help myself!)

    • No, I certainly don’t eat marmite. I don’t know how anyone can develop a taste for it. Even in the UK – I don’t know how a child can ever taste it for the first time and decide to keep eating it. But then, I do have other intensely bitter foods, like olives and coffee, so I guess it can be done!

      • EcoCatLady

        Ha! I tasted the stuff once when I was visiting New Zealand. I seriously thought it was my host family playing a terrible joke on me because it tasted like something that had gone bad! I suppose to each his own, but suffice it to say, it’s not an experience I care to repeat!

      • I love Marmite, but I have no idea when I first trued it 🙂

      • I just find it so hard to imagine a child trying it for the first time and ever wanting it again! But I have to admit I did kind of like Twiglets when I visited the UK!

  7. Fiona

    Our cupboards are almost identical! I’m struggling to find any major differences.

    The packaging of the baked beans is identical to ours.

    You could quite happily come into our kitchen and make yourself at home.

    Just be wary of the Vegemite instead of Marmite…that’s a line no-one wants to cross!

    • You are doing well if you don’t have kid food in the house – when Link was younger, we would always have kid snacks like animal crackers, fig newtons, granola bars, pretzels, and the occasional box of Froot Loops!

      Dare I ask if you eat Vegemite? If so, how did you get accustomed to it?

  8. Your cupboard is storing much the same as mine – just much neater, cleaner and more organised. We have lots of things stacked (thrown?) on top of one another.

    Where’s the rice for the rice cooker? We buy in big bags and put into big plastic containers.

    What’s the difference between UK style baked beans and not-UK style?

    As a flexiterian, do you eat chick peas? We have tins of these for curries. And other tinned Asian vegies for red curries. Eg bamboo shoots. And lots of different curry pastes – heaps of Patak Indian ones but red, green, Massaman pastes.

    Yuck Marmite! But Vegemite. That’s a whole different thing. Vegemite on toast is something you just have to have at certain times. The salt is so soothing. Like when you have a hang-over, or an upset tummy.

    • The rice is hidden away in the tall jars – I usually buy 2 kg at a time. The UK baked beans, marked “British style” have a very mild tomato sauce. Here in the Maritimes, we prefer our beans with molasses sauce, but since they always contain pork, I have switched to a brand with maple sauce. I don’t like beans with tomato sauce at all!

      I adore chick peas; I could eat them every day of the week, I make curries with chick peas regularly. We can only get one kind of Patak’s curry paste here (mild or hot) which you add to a recipe by the tablespoon, The rest of their sauces available here are meant to be stirred in by the jar-ful. They are all ridiculously expensive. I do buy green curry paste at the Asian grocery.

      If you have tried both Marmite and Vegemite I would like to know what you think the difference is!

      • Well, we’d be eating UK baked beans then! Love them. With a splosh of sweet chilli sauce. Or with grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and sausages. I keep a small tin at work for emergencies when I forget to pack my lunch.

        Not a fan of the stir through sauces. Even the Patak range. Have a jar in the pantry for emergencies but like the curry pastes to which we add all manner of our own bits and bobs, eg fresh coriander.

        As to Vegemite/Marmite divide. Vegemite is saltier and has a less beefy taste. I just like it! If you’re not raised here and used to it, it is hard to understand the attraction to it. (Aussies eat Vegemite, Pommies Marmite.)

      • Rom likes his British baked beans with all those things! And poached eggs and toast, of course.

  9. I am practically a hoarder compared to you. Though I don’t own much, I like my kitchen very fully stocked. I keep multiples of everything so my pantry looks much more crowded and disorganised than yours. A very much used staple for me is besan/gram flour. I used it for everything, pizza crust, pancakes (savoury and sweet), crackers…

    • I have never baked with chick pea flour but I’ve eaten it in papadum, pakoras, etc and of course love any and every thing made with chick peas!

      My idea of having multiples is about 3 cans of the same thing!

  10. Very similar over here too! But snack wise, popcorn is my favorite – so I always have kernels in the pantry – and pretzels. Plus a few Kind bars (I usually get the dark chocolate + almonds or cashews + ginger) that I stuff in my purse just in case hunger strikes. They also keep me from going crazy if I have to grocery shop after work 🙂

    I noticed you said you usually have a small amount of wild rice on hand, any other types? We have basmati, arborio, wild rice, and brown rice right now (and that’s normal).

    • I have become a popcorn addict too (and cut back on pretzels). I have a lot of dried fruit and nuts for snacks, that is, when I am not on a candy binge…I actually have all 4 of those kinds of rice at home right now. I don’t make risotto very often so may let the arborio run out, but I always have the others.

  11. Hmmm definitely more beans than our house (and I think we have too many!) Only cause we don’t regularly eat them.

    You get canned olives?

    My sweet potato hangs out with onions and bananas in the fruit bowl – which is probably as weird to others as me seeing your sweet potato on a shelf!

    We needed to bulk up (cost wise) our grocery delivery, so always go for tinned tomatos. Also always have coconut milk and or cream on hand. Never have applesauce on hand, much less common here, but I often find recipes that call for it too! I’d snack on it too much though.

    • Yes, I get cheap canned black olives which are an ingredient in some recipes – also buy proper ones sometimes for special meals. Also used the canned tomatoes often. I think I put the sweet potatoes in a dark cupboard because I feel they might sprout like regular potatoes otherwise, but that is probably not true!

      • My sweet potatoes sit on the bottom of the pantry with onions and potatoes. Like you, I keep them all in the dark and cool. Onions in a fruit bowl? Are you mad Sarah?

  12. Lane

    Wow, so neat! We keep a lot of dried beans around for the winter which I soak and cook in my pressure cooker for 10-12 minutes. This time of year, we eat a lot of chick peas and French (tiny bluegreen)lentils in salads. So satisfying! Short grain and basmati rice, Arborio and some wild rice ( v.spendy now). Pomi tomatoes when we run out of ours, much better than canned here. Olives. Capers. Artichoke hearts canned in water. MLane loves his dry cereal– he mixes several healthy high fiber kinds with lots of org. raisins; I serve him oatmeal when he’ll agree.

    • I finally started cooking my own chick peas this year. Even though they are only $1.15 a can, the dried ones cost literally pennies and freeze so well. The last time I bought lentils, I bought the French ones – they are so cute 🙂

  13. Your cabinets are so orderly and so healthy looking! Makes me want (feel like I need) to clean out our cupboards!! p.s. I had to Google marmite as I have never seen that product before!

    • Thanks; I clean them out every couple of years! I never owned Marmite before I met Rom, but he has it occasionally. His parents even have Marmite chips! (what they would call crisps)

  14. I am such a food hoarder compared to you! We recently had a clean out and reorganise of our pantry, but I still have a lot more than you 🙂 My staples are potatoes, onions, buckwheat, all kinds of sauces and spices and cocoa powder (I bought 5kg in bulk a year ago and am about halfway through!).

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