How to Stock the Larder

You only have to do this once, so even if it takes a few hours to get right, it will save lots of time in the long run. Make a list of all the different food items you keep in your house. On a separate sheet of paper, think about how your supermarket is laid out, and list your items according to the aisle you find them in. It’s a great way to test your memory and see how much attention you really pay to your chores.

Photocopy the list to become your weekly shopping list. Before you go to the shops, make sure that you have enough of all your staples to get you through the week. If not, indicate what you need on the list. Check any recipes you are planning for the week that may require special ingredients. Add them to the list. I find it can save me 15-20 minutes each shop. More time to eat!

Organise your food cupboards by category, so that you and all members of the family know where things live. There will be no excuses for not putting away the shopping and you’ll always know your stock levels.

These are the cooking ingredients I use most often and always keep to hand. Add or subtract your essentials and start your list.


  • Coffee – instant, espresso, ground
  • Tea – a selection of traditional and herbal for all tastes
  • Fruit juice or cordial
  • Baking essentials
  • Baking powder
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Baking chocolate – plain drops, unsweetened squares
  • Cornflour
  • Dried fruits – raisins, sultanas, apricots, cherries
  • Flour – choose the types that you use most often
  • Extracts – vanilla, almond and any others that you use regularly
  • Gelatin
  • Nuts – almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazlenuts
  • Sugars – castor, granulated, icing
  • Condiments
  • Capers
  • Chutney
  • Fruit jams and marmalades
  • Horseradish
  • Ketchup
  • Mustards – a variety is nice. Dijon, whole-grain and English
  • Olives – green, whole black, pitted black
  • Oil – vegetable, extra virgin olive, sesame, walnut
  • Mayonnaise (or salad cream)
  • Pickles
  • Preserves
  • Soy sauce/Teriyaki
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Vinegar – malt, balsamic, white wine, red wine, cider, raspberry
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Herbs and spices
  • Allspice
  • Basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Cardamom
  • Chilli powder
  • Cinnamon, ground and stick
  • Cloves
  • Cumin, ground and seeds
  • Curry powder
  • Dill
  • Fennel seeds
  • Ginger, ground
  • Mint
  • Nutmeg, whole and ground
  • Oregano

  • Paprika
  • Pepper, whole black, ground black and white, red chilli flakes
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Salt – table, coarse
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Starch
  • Pasta – spaghetti, macaroni, linguine, fettuccine, penne
  • Rice – basmati, long-grain, brown, wild, arborio
  • Essential mixers
  • Stock cubes and gravy granules
  • Tinned soups for quick sauces
  • Tomatoes – tinned whole plum, concentrate, puree, sun-dried in oil

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About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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