Cooking: putting it all together

I have lots of cool cooking toys… er, I mean appliances. I know a variety of cooking techniques and can successfully produce a number of tasty meals.

What I don’t seem to have quite in place is a system. Specifically… what are the key ingredients that should always be stocked in my pantry, my fridge, my freezer, my spice rack, so that I can pull together a meal on short notice without an extra trip to the store?

I’d like to get to the point where I have such an inventory, so that when K is headed to the store and asks what we need, I can just tell him what ingredients I used up last week and then give him free reign to pick up whatever fresh ingredients (veggies, breads, etc) look yummy and are in season or on sale this week. Along with perhaps a short list of weekly perishables that we just always buy (like milk).

So… what staples do y’all keep on hand? What perishables are on your weekly shopping list?

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