You should always keep a two-week supply of food on hand in case of emergencies. Here's what to buy and how to turn it into a delicious meal

Maya Wong  – March 5, 2020 | Updated March 29, 2020

By now you’ve heard from friends, coworkers, and your worried mother about the effects of the fast-spreading new coronavirus (COVID-19) and how they’re all preparing. But even before this current virus, experts have long recommended keeping a two-week supply of food on hand in case of emergency, whether that’s an earthquake, flood, or snowstorm. Former president Barack Obama took to Twitter to encourage people to continue with “common sense precautions” like washing hands and staying home when you’re sick, but to “stay calm, listen to the experts, and follow the science.”

So, stocking up (reasonably) on pantry staples is a smart idea. You’ll need shelf-stable ingredients upon which you can base entire meals, and that can hang out undisturbed for months—or years—if necessary. Most people don’t have a ton of extra freezer space, so that means a surplus of beans, rice, ancient grains, tomato paste, anchovies, canned tuna, and dried noodles, from ramen to fettuccine. (Don’t forget cooking oil, salt, pepper, paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap, and laundry detergent, either.)

Think of this list of pantry must-haves—and their adjoining recipes—as a resource in the off-chance you may need to stay indoors for days at a time. After all, just because you’re in quarantine doesn’t mean you have to eat like it. Grab extras of the stuff you actually like to eat, and save the dehydrated camp meals for when real trouble arises (or, you know, you go camping). Now, get to planning.

Rice and Grains

Make use of those bags of rice and grains sitting in your cupboard with fried rice dishes and hearty grain salads to eat throughout the week.

Pasta and Noodles

Pasta (or any type of dried noodle, really) is extremely versatile—just make a batch and top with whatever’s in your pantry like peanut sauce and boxed tofu or olive oil and artichokes.

Canned Beans

Yes, beans are convenient, but they’re also full of fiber and straight-up delicious.

Canned Tuna

Throw chunks of tuna on a salad for a quick protein hit or turn it into a Greek-style slaw or sandwich.

Anchovies

The flavor-booster of our dreams, jarred or canned anchovies add a savory dimension to pastas, soups, and savory baked breads.

Jarred Olives

Add olives to your cart and use them later on anything like roast chicken, farro salad, pistachio bruschetta, or tapenade.

Peanut Butter

Use nut butter for both sweet and savory dishes, whether that’s a universal peanut sauce or gooey oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

Flour

Hey, this isn’t an earthquake or flood—you’re still going to have power so go ahead and bake something fun.

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