I have a relative that’s become obsessed with buying Tide when it’s on sale.  If everyone on earth ever falls into a ginormous mud puddle, I have a direct line to where we can find enough detergent to get everyone clean and still have enough Tide left over to get Nick Nolte clean.

I do the same thing with certain things but not because they’re on sale but because I always think I’m out of it.  Tin foil.  I always think I need tin foil.  It doesn’t matter if it’s on sale or not, when I see it, I buy it.  I currently have 5 boxes of tin foil.  It won’t even matter that I’ve written this entire post about how much tin foil I have.  The next time I go to the grocery store my mind will suddenly start running and jumping around compelling me to buy tin foil, because I’m not reallyyyyyyy sure that I have some.  I think I don’t.  I definitely need tin foil.

Then there’s the “Always keep in stocks”.  The things we always want, always need, always put in our carts.  Mine are going to be completely different than yours because we all have different “keep in stocks”.  For my mother it seems to be those crispy onions in a can that they used to elevate almost any dish from a casserole to a jello  mould.

My always keep in stocks are:




Diet Coke

Cream (18%)

Greek Yogurt or Milk to make Greek Yogurt.

If you come over here on any given day of the week in any given month and you want me to prepare you an Avocado lime cream casserole with a Diet Coke Yogurt sauce … I will be able to do that for you.

And I will be able to wrap up the leftovers in a tin foil packet the approximate size and weight of a hotel safe.

I look through people’s grocery carts or what they have on the conveyor belt and wonder about their food all the time. Often I’m jealous of it and wonder why in the world I didn’t buy a 14 lb watermelon or 16 cans of vanilla Ensure.

I wonder if this is the first time they bought that thing or do they always cook with that weird ingredient I’ve never seen before.  I wonder what they’re going to make with it, will their kids eat it and why I’m kind of jealous of their Chef Boyardee Raviolis.

Because I’m wildly curious about food and people’s food habits.  You know how people say no one cares about your food photos on Instagram?  I DO!  I CARE ABOUT YOUR FOOD PHOTOS!!!

So because I’m wildly curious about food I genuinely want to know what your food “Always haves” are.  What are the 5 things that you always make sure you have in stock at home?  Not including things like butter.  Everyone has butter.  Or scratch and win tickets.  Mainly because you shouldn’t really eat those, they’re very difficult to digest.

Lay it on me!  What are 5 things you always have in stock because if you didn’t you’d start to get the shakes?

Lemme know and have a good weekend!






  1. Stephk says:

    If toilet paper is insane I’m buying it. I once had a bookshelf full of toilet paper.

  2. Joanne says:

    Tortillas, Cheddar, Avocado, Lettuce, Blue Cheese. I eat quesadillas and salad 3 nights a week. Yum, plus no agonizing over what to cook!

  3. Laura Watt says:

    Ohhh! I love this game!
    Olive Oil
    Pink Salt
    extra extra old Cheddar

    • Karen says:

      Apples! really! I buy them occasionally. Bananas though! You’re right. That’s another one of mine that’s bought quite often. They’re such a fast and easy fill up! ~karen

    • Dagmar, also says:

      I love it too, for me – peanut butter, parchment paper, toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates…….yup, …….”paper makes life easier”

    • Sheelin says:

      I just had to Google Pink Salt. What a great game!

    • sera says:

      Apples!! and Extra old cheddar. The British style. Absolutely!

      I even buy the apple imported all the way from New Zealand because they aren’t in season yet. My 19 month old is obsessed. And she likes them paired with the cheddar. mmm. s

  4. Keelea says:

    Vidalia onions, celery, bell pepper (the Cajun holy trinity) good olive oil, and smoked sausage.

  5. I looove seeing what other people eat/buy/hoard too… because I love food, but mostly because I’m nosy!

    half and half
    no less than 4 different types of cheese
    celery… celery is my tin foil
    cherry tomatoes
    summer sausage or salami

  6. DP says:

    Facial tissues. Every time I shop I buy more – of each Kleenex color that a I obsessively horde to match the decor for each bedroom, bathroom and our beach house.

    • Lauren says:

      Whoa didn’t know other people obsessively hoard Kleenex box colors to match their decor….like me.

    • Heather says:

      Honestly, the tissue people need to come up with better designs. Everything out there is so out-dated!

      • Nancy. says:

        My mother was very concerned about refilling her “nice” Kleenex boxes. We thought she was nuts. We got her tissue covers like you buy at Steinmart and those were pretentious according *The Book of Mom*. Now I see she might have been kinda normal.

  7. Sandra says:

    Orange juice
    Cheddar cheese
    Peppermint Tea
    Ice cream

  8. Debbie from Illinois says:

    Sharp cheddar cheese
    Good wheat bread

  9. Daphne says:

    Natural cure bacon, lemons, limes, avocados and cilantro . And I never run out of real butter ,ever, if in doubt , buy.

  10. Trisha says:

    Milk, Diet Coke, eggs, sour cream, lime juice.

  11. Melissa says:

    Old Fashioned Oats

  12. Jennie Lee says:

    Progresso soup, light red kidney beans, mild salsa, eggs, fruit (apples & whatever is good yet cheap). Diet Coke used to be a must. I consumed it in vast quantities. But a recent health scare caused me to restrict my intake to six 20 oz. bottles a month. Health scares can be useful; I’ve lost 18 pounds thus far!

    • Gina says:

      The ultimate irony – the heaviest people in my circle drink nothing but Diet Coke.

      • Jennie Lee says:

        That reminds me of an old joke about salad making you fat. All the folks filling their plate with salad at the salad bar were fat, so the comedian said there was no way he’d eat that fattening salad.

      • Luanne says:

        I’m not sure that’s ironic? Maybe it’s doing what they can when they can?

  13. Gina says:

    Half and half
    Greek yogurt
    Honeycrisp apples
    Ice cream

    Wow, that’s a lot of diary!

  14. judy says:

    3 bags of costco coffee beans I now drink coffee all day long since Husband sleeps throughout the day and all night he starts poking me to get up anywhere from 4 am to 5:30. Let me tell you,sleep,beautiful sleep is worth more than diamonds,gold or whatever..I buy way too much 1/2 price stuff,and a lot of it gets fed to the Rottweiler and the 100 lb Lab-Pit. The Rottie now weighs 145 and I know you are thinking…don’t give him all that food,but this Dog bangs his 50 lb head on my 76 year old leg until I give him something. And I am still shopping at Costco even though its just the two of us so 5 packages of pasta instead of one,6 cans of chopped tomatoes for spaghetti instead of one..I am the archetype of..if you keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result you are coo-coo.

    • Karen P says:

      Bless you. I should come and live with you. The hubbies can live together at our place and stay awake all day and night with each other. You and I could get some sleep. It’d be great!

    • Stefani says:

      LOL I’m a widow, living alone, and I still buy huge bags of stuff at Costco! I love that store.

  15. Deirdre says:

    3 minute steel cut oatmeal
    Green onions
    Chicken/beef or veggie stock

  16. Marianne says:

    Interesting topic!! I eat low-carb, high protein because carbs are the root of all evil (for my body and mind), so my basic list is:
    Ground turkey or chicken
    Greek yogurt (coconut)
    Sugar-free Jello
    Low-carb tortillas
    Cheese sticks (colby, cheddar, or mozz)

  17. Edith says:

    Dark leaf lettuce
    Country bread
    Those assorted mini bell peppers
    Small buffalo cheese balls in olive oil

  18. Teri Shaw says:

    Grated Parmesan,
    Mild salsa,
    Feta cheese,
    Truvia (stevia sweetener).
    My personal tin foil is unsalted butter. If it is on sale I buy 2 at a time. I tell myself it is for baking but once I had so much in the freezer I made ghee.

    • Karen says:

      Oh, lol! Well if you still have the ghee I actually have a recipe going up on the blog next week that uses ghee! ~ karen!

  19. Melissa says:

    Oh my, just FIVE?? (hoarding tendencies aside), ok fine, 5 limit rule

    Diet Coke (don’t let me run out…or you’re gonna have to run out and get me more)

    Lemon Pepper – I always think I’m out…I’m never out, 28 in the cabinet

    Peanut butter – I have no idea why. Again, 28 in the pantry

    Deodorant – I’m running out, right?? No, 28 are in my bathroom cabinet, maybe 29

    Lucky Charms – don’t judge me…I only eat the charms, enough boxes to start my own cereal distribution

  20. Lynn says:

    Coffee , no fat creamer, Peanut Butter, Rye Bread, Tomato Soup would have to be my top 5 with old fort Cheadder being a must have 6th .

    • Alice says:

      Lynn, you’re in Canada, right? You know the “fort” in Old Fort Cheddar is just the French translation, right?

    • I love Old Fort. We call it that at our house, never mind cheese or cheddar. It’s just Old Fort. Although we’ve recently found a Seriously Sharp white cheddar that my in-laws bring us from the States. It’s much more Fort than Old Fort.

  21. Ellen says:

    Nutritional yeast
    Jars of red peppers
    Sweet potatoes
    Bananas (to freeze for banana ice cream)

  22. Haydée Skeet says:

    Baked beans
    Sour Cream
    Old Cheddar

    I also always buy green onions and never eat them so they slime away in my fridge.
    Because, one day I might make tuna salad

    • Rachel San Diego says:

      I feel you on the green onions. And the slime.

    • Nicole says:

      Oh the green onion slime… Which reminds me, tomorrow is trash day and they should have gone out! Argh!

      Also, have you guys tried planting a green onion stalk? Pinterest tells me that’s a thing you can do and it will regenerate. Presumably it will only do this pre-slime.

      • Kori says:

        I keep mine in a mason jar with just tap water on the window sill and yes they will regrow and won’t get slimy. I put mine there and they grow like crazy until I forget to water them, then they die, or I water them them and they grow like crazy but I don’t need them….

    • Elaine says:

      Oh! Thank you so much for your slime story – now I don’t feel so guilty when I toss my celery slime. I keep thinking I’m going to make chicken salad but never get do. Plus I live on my own now and a whole head of celery is a lot!

      • Elaine says:

        Sorry for the typo … meant to type “never get around to it”. There’s been (so far!) year-round construction outside my condo and I’m badly missing my shut-eye!

      • Jennifer says:

        I don’t get the green onion slime, for me it’s the cucumber slime…you know, when you open that useless produce drawer to finally get the cucumber and your fingers go right through it….Love that one…lol

  23. Stephanie Barnhart says:

    Parmesan cheese
    Fudge pops
    Black beans

    We’re super healthy around here, as you can tell.

  24. Anastacia says:

    I have to keep my hubby’s ” must-haves” in stock. I tend to eat a wide variety of food. He needs what I lovingly call, “slab-o-meat” every night. Yes. Every night.

    • Lydia says:

      What is it with men always needing their meat? Mine’s the same way. Has to have “something good” with meat every night–the only exception being Blackbean Quesadillas. Whereas, I could live on like peanut butter toast and cereal!

  25. Laura says:

    Olive oil, dried oregano, Kraft Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, laundry detergent

  26. Tracy Egan says:

    Avocados (unless they are 3 dollars each because that’s just ridiculous)
    Dog Food, always Dog Food.

  27. trish says:

    you guys have really yummy interesting top 5s. i dont have a top five more of a minus list, like your tinfoil Karen. its got so bad now my kitchen blackboard now has two columns: Top left what we’ve run out of and bottom right headed no more> Today the list reads ‘no more: brown sugar (which has been in this column for about 6 weeks), sultanas and soap’. And i these are things are just always buy whether or not they’re on special. Not bad, since i’m only 2 days out from my last main fortnightly shop. But who knows what else will reveal itself duplicate, triplicate, quadruplicate and beyond as i forage through the pantry!

  28. Jane S says:

    Peanut butter
    Shredded wheat with bran

  29. Suzanne says:

    Cheese – usually cheddar
    Dried pasta
    Good bread
    Some kind of fruit – depends on what is in season or looks good

  30. Stephanie says:

    Baby spinach, in vast quantities, for green smoothies
    Grass-fed beef (ground, for burgers)
    Fruit: whatever’s in season, or apples

  31. Kim from Montana says:

    Half and half
    Real butter
    Chicken stock

    I have 6 rolls of aluminum foil on my shelf right now. I also have a tendency to hoard ziplock bags of all sizes. And garbage bags because I am so particular about the style if I find them I buy them.

  32. Auntiepatch says:

    Chicken (don’t judge me, I can only eat poultry and seafood)
    Milk (I can’t live without it)
    Chocolate Chips (ditto)
    Cat food/treats (I REALLY can’t live without it. Angry cats are scary.)
    Artichokes (I love them)

    I bake so I always buy butter.

  33. Susy Fry says:

    Butter every single shopping trip
    Pasture raised heavy cream
    Frozen berries
    Super sharp pasture rsised cheddar cheese
    A package of mexed veggies for emergency use
    At least one too green avocado that I forget while waiting for not tonripem. I am swearing off this right now.

    • Eileen says:

      I have never been able to figure out how they “pasture-raise” or “grass-feed” cream and milk…visions of little containers and gallon jugs out in the green fields…do they give them straws so they can suck up the grass?

  34. Wendi Miller says:

    My grocery list is generally different every week, but these items are ALWAYS on it:

    Fresh Garlic
    Italian Bread
    Cereal (either Honey Nut Cheerios or Strawberry Frosted Mini Wheats)
    Pace Picante Sauce (it’s good with so many things: with nachos; on a baked potato; on scrambled eggs; in chili…)
    Chocolate milk (it’s my addiction)

  35. Kathleen says:

    Coconut cream / milk
    Italian chopped / whole tinned tomatoes (in case I don’t have fresh in the fridge, which I always do)
    Fresh tomatoes (at least 2 different varieties)
    Angel Hair pasta

    My “tin foil” is dried herbs, particularly oregano. I have at least 4 extra in the grocery cupboard.

  36. Kmarie says:

    1.) Cinnamon. Every single time I go to the store I come back thinking I don’t have any. Currently I have four large costco sized ones in my baking cupboard ( though we do go through them fast as I use it in all my home made baking and to top of frothed tea and coffee.)
    2.) Grape seed Oil ( I do not know why- currently have four costco sized ones. Keep forgetting I already bought it and my brain is on repeat.)
    3.) Dark Chocolate ( I panic when this goes down to three bars:)
    4.) Organic Greek Yugort ( Costco thinks we are crazy as we buy 17 containers at a time- In our defence we go only once a month.)
    5.) Half and Half creams. We buy two cases of cream every time we are at costco for our family of five.
    We tend to follow the Weston and Price Diet (ish)/ Mediterranean so mainly high fat foods I suppose…
    for a non food item: Purple Method Spray. I hate being out of it..running soapy water over my counters with a rag just doesn’t feel as clean or as pretty.

  37. Rachel San Diego says:

    Sweet Potatoes
    Tortilla Chips

    (And I’m also one of those people who hoard Kleenex in decor-matching colors. I feel so much better knowing I’m not alone.)

  38. Ruth hirsch says:

    Another Wonderful column. Blog. Email.

    Am I the only Caper gatherer?

    My cousins laughed themselves silly at the collection in my pantry. Same: in Big Box (happily, can mostly shop in well priced smaller shop or two around here, with occasional trip to Big Box.)

    Waft down aisle, see capers, appreciate self for remembering to buy…………
    bring them home and discover their many sibs. No more, tho, thanks to the echoes of my cousins laughing at my caper stock.
    Have enough of years……probably almost the rest of my life.

    • Debbie from Illinois says:

      Your love for capers reminds me of a man having a meltdown in a tiny grocery store in the northern woods of Wisconsin. Man, he was mad that the tiny mom & pop store didn’t have his beloved capers. 🙂

      I like capers but I only have two recipes I use them in, so a jar last me a long time.

    • Cheryl says:

      I have done that, but it’s not a regular thing. However, I did just open the last jar so I’d better put them on the list.

    • Jay says:

      Capers!!!!! They make my list. I have a fit if I’m out of capers. I use then all the time, when I’m catering just for me, or when doing puttanesca sauce.

  39. Cynthia Jones says:

    How come everyone else got this post early? Never mind.

    1. Cilantro. Its called Coriander in Australia. I like it on pizzas, in stir fries and even in scrambled eggs.
    2. Dilmah loose leaf tea. To make in an old fashioned Swan brand aluminium pot.
    3. Sour cream.
    4. Tomatoes. On the vine. Cherry ones, grape ones.
    5. Eggs. For brekky and for surprise cooking.

  40. GC Lehman says:

    Oh boy! ….keep it to 5…..

    Veggies (cucumber, grape tomatoes, carrots)
    Fruit (apples and so much more in summer, I live in BC. Yummy!!)
    Pepsi (I’m a addict)
    Ripple Potato Chips

    • GC Lehman says:

      I forgot the frozen berries! My 3 year old wouldn’t eat if I didn’t keep cheery tomatoes and frozen berries (generally blueberries) in stock at all times!!

  41. CarlyMae says:

    1. Bananas
    2. Apples
    3. Pasta sauce – a good marinara is the base for so many of my meals!
    4. Frozen broccoli
    5. Dog treats – I know they’re not a human food item, but I always worry that my pup will run out!

  42. Patricia says:

    If I don’t have any of the following items, I am uncomfortable until I get to the store:
    Tea bags (plain old Black Tea, preferably Tetley 🙂
    Cheese (usually cheddar)
    Canned tomatoes (I always buy them at the store, my tin foil)

    • Jessica says:

      I was amazed it took this far down for someone to say eggs! We are constantly out of eggs!

      My list:

      So, I can make you breakfast…any time! Or you can gnaw some lettuce and sip wine.

  43. Kelly says:

    Any kind of rice (except minute rice-hate it), kashi cereal, bananas ALWAYS, frozen vegetables when not in season (*green beans) AND Nabob Gastown Grind Coffee, on sale, naturally!

  44. Rhonda says:

    Yellow onions
    Red Onions
    Tomatoes, fresh and canned
    Cream of Mushroom Soup

  45. Jaclyn says:

    I compulsively buy packets of yeast – every time I’m planning to bake, I stand in the store & convince myself the pantry is bare.
    Greek yogurt
    Are my 5 always-haves.

  46. Anne says:

    Is milk like butter? Something we all pretty much have? Does it count,? Or is it like the free square in Bingo? Cuz… we drink a gallon a day, so it’s the thing I’m usually going shopping for, and something we can’t be without!

    But 5 other than that would be:

    Greek yogurt

    Peanut butter!!

    Coffee (I always have a bag or 2 of about 6 different flavors”in stock” at home!)

    Fruit (whatever’s in season and on sale)

    Potatoes (my husband is from Aroostook country in Maine & loves all things potato!)

  47. Teri says:

    you all are so healthy!!!

    XXX Eggs – well, no, we have chickens so I don’t buy eggs. We just used 2 dozen to bake for a friend/extra son wedding. didn’t even dent the supply – I hate to wash eggs so they pile up and then I need to find a meal using eggs, but I don’t buy them!!

    Sandwich meat (yuck – sorry, but it is for the kids) – chicken or ham. Kids eat. They might even add some veggies to their sandwiches

    Milk. always milk. we are bottle feeding a lamb, who is well past needing it but is noisy

    Cheese, Cheddar if on sale or Gouda. simple tastes. Love to buy a Gouda round, cut and freeze.

    XXXX Garlic and Onion (nope, we grow our own, but if we were out of them, we HAVE to have on the counter)

    Pasta – ya gotta have scooby doo (extra curly elbow macaroni) for the best Mac and Cheese. I tend to over buy

    Sesame oil and other oils – I never can remember what we are low on..

  48. karen tomlinson says:

    All from Trader Joes:
    roasted chicken strips
    formaggio cheese blend
    think thin crunchy peanut butter-chocolate bars (zero sugar-20 grams protein-great chocolate hit)

  49. Luanne says:

    Purple cabbage
    Cottage cheese
    Corn meal
    Flakes of ham (true story)
    2 chicken breaststroke

    Nail files are my tin foil. I have a bazillion of them.

  50. Liz says:

    Only 5?? These are definitely the top 5 out of about 20 items.

    Olive Oil
    Garlic, lots and lots of garlic – I actually write that on my grocery lists
    Flour – for that wonderful bread you taught me to make – I bought that cookbook too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Art of Doing Stuff