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How To Stock The Emergency Pantry During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Michelle Stark
The Tampa Bay Times
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Michelle Stark, food editor of the Tampa Bay Times, has been writing about how to eat well, even when we're eating emergency supplies.

She gave WUSF’s Robin Sussingham, host of The Zest podcast, some tips on what to look for when you’re stocking up for the long haul.

  • Beans. “If I were going to go to the store to buy one canned product, it would be a can of chickpeas.”
  • Broth.  Always have cans and boxes or broth or stock on hand, she says. "Soups and stews are a really nice things to make right now -- they’re very comforting.”
  • Alliums:onions, garlic, leeks, scallions, etc.They last far longer than other produce, and add a lot of flavor.
  • Canned tomatoes. “You can make a simple tomato sauce with some ground beef. You can use diced tomatoes in a soup. I made stuffed shells the other night and basically just stuffed some pasta shells with cheese and then poured a regular can of tomato sauce on top, seasoned it with some salt and pepper and garlic, and it was delicious.”
  • Canned coconut milk. It adds creaminess to soups, and substitutes for coffee cream in a pinch.
  • Nut butters: peanut, almond, cashew, tahini, etc.

The main thing to remember, Stark said, is to buy food that you will actually want to eat.

“It's a good idea to make sure your shelves are full," she said. "But you don't need to be stocking up on things that you never eat, or things you've never cooked in your life and have no idea what to do with.”

What's the best baking project to take on right now? Hear more of the conversation on The Zest podcast.

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Robin is Senior Editor at WUSF, spearheading the station's podcasting initiatives and helping to guide the vision for special reporting projects and creative storytelling. She hosts the weekly current affairs program, Florida Matters, on WUSF and also created The Zest, the station's podcast that's all about food, which she continues to host and serve as senior producer.