Food For Thought Podcast
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Essentials for a Well-Stocked Kitchen


Having a well-stocked kitchen is essential whether you’re looking to throw together a last-minute meal, a well-planned meal (which I recommend should be the default), or if you’re just not able to get out of the house because of weather, sickness, or other circumstances.

Knowing what to have in your pantry, cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer also provides security and predictability when the future is uncertain and people are social distancing and sheltering at home, such as during the time of the Coronavirus pandemic 2020.

Today’s episode is focused on my personal strategies for buying wisely, eating well, and stocking up — principles that can be applied every day or during emergencies.

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For more on living and cooking vegan, my books are here to help:

The Joy of Vegan Baking 

The Vegan Table

Color Me Vegan

Vegan’s Daily Companion

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge

The Joyful Vegan

*Podcast supporters receive the transcript to this episode, plus a PDF of the kitchen and pantry items I recommend. 

Listen to this episode


Truth Bombs

  • Never decide what to have for dinner at dinnertime. We don’t make the healthiest choices when we’re hungry. We make choices based on what is fast and easy. 
  • Plan in advance. That doesn’t take time; it just takes some thought. We should always know what we’re having for dinner long before dinnertime.
  • Decide to spend 15 minutes a day in the kitchen. Our idea of how long we should spend on cooking (and eating!) has become completely distorted. Our threshold for chopping vegetables is about “zero.” We need a new measuring stick. It’s true that cooking requires a little extra time, but compared to what? Compared to throwing a package of processed food-like substances into the microwave? Compared to zero minutes? Sure, I’ll concede. Cooking requires more time than that, but is that really the measuring stick we want to use?
  • Chop vegetables in advance before putting them in the refrigerator. For some reason, if the tops are still on the carrots, the broccoli is still joined at the stem, or the cauliflower is still in its head, we have a mental block. We complain that it will take us forever to chop them up, and so we leave them to compost in the refrigerator and wonder why we’re always throwing vegetables away. “If we chop them, we will eat them,” say I.
  • We have the time to cook. We don’t make the effort. Although everyone complains about busy schedules, if we were honest with ourselves, we’d admit that we do have the time to cook; we just don’t use our time to make the effort. If we have the time to pack the family into the car, drive to a restaurant, find a parking spot, stand in line to wait for a table, decide what to order, wait for the food, eat the food, wait for the bill, pay the bill, and drive back home, then we have time to chop some vegetables.
  • Make more than you need.  If you’re single, you should cook for two. If you’re a couple, you should cook for four, and so on. You should always make more than you need so you have leftovers the next day. 

What You Can Expect from This Episode


In Memory of Paul Zhang

Paul Zhang was a devoted advocate for animals and a long-time supporter. His heart was too big for this world, and sadly he left us on March 11, 2020. This episode is dedicated to him.

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