Kitchen Confidence

Building a Smarter Grocery List

By • March 20, 2012 • 58 Comments

 

Inspired by conversations on the FOOD52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. Today, we're talking about the weekly grocery list.

Behind every great home cook is a well stocked pantry and a smartly packed fridge. Everything sitting in the fridge has a purpose, or ideally many. A novice sees a fridge full of disparate elements, while a great home cook sees a myriad of options -- a web of culinary possibility.

Consider the Lemon.

Lemons + olive oil = salad dressing. Lemons are great for stuffing into roast chicken. You can sprinkle the zest on pasta, on crostini, on just about anything that could use a little bright bitterness. Squeeze lemons in fizzy water. A spritz of lemon juice keeps cut avocados green. Thus, lemons deserve a place on your grocery list every single time. 

Comparing Our Lists

When we first began, we thought this list would be straightforward: here's what you should buy every time you go to the grocery store. End of story. But after we all drew up our weekly 'must-buy' lists and put them side by side to compare, we realized it wasn't that simple. We buy what we buy every week for a variety of reasons -- most of them deeply connected to our history as home cooks, with a modicum of practicality thrown in for good measure. What did our mother always have in the fridge? What are our various dietary quirks? A favorite midnight nibble? 

The Definitive Grocery List

So, we can't actually give you one simple master list. However, we can help you think about what your always-buy list might look like by giving you a slightly annotated glimpse of ours.

Across the board, there were a few items that everyone at Food52 HQ included in their list:

Onions
Butter and/or olive oil 
Garlic
Salad greens, kale
Lemons
Bread
Eggs
Fresh herbs (parsley especially came up a lot)
Cheese (from parmesan to soft cheeses)

Here are things that appeared on more than one list, but not all:

Dried pasta
Canned tomatoes
Nuts/nut butters 
Milk (soy or regular)
Fruit in season
Dried legumes and cereals
Avocados

So, we've shown ours. What's on your list? What do you buy every week?

Photos by Nicole Franzen

Jump to Comments (58)

Tags: how-to & diy

Comments (58)

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12 months ago Stacey G

No Soy! Strictly almond or rice milk household.

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about 2 years ago SarahJoyPease

Tortilla's
beef
and CHOCOLATE!

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over 2 years ago POAndrea

Onions
Lettuce and/or spinach
Whatever "tender" herb looks the freshest
Whatever fruit is on sale/in season
Some kind of root
Bacon or ham, whichever is on sale
Eggs
Champagne

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over 2 years ago SuzieCastello

I really like the list, and the stunning Zubaran inspired photography. My list would include roots: carrots, beets, paranips, taro, sweet potato and potatoes. I feel like a spoke is missing from my wheel without the roots.

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over 2 years ago clintonhillbilly

Should've added hot peppers! Serrano or jalapeño usually, and salad greens, generally a mix of softer and crunchier, such as arugula and radicchio. We certainly use lots of onions and garlic but do not buy them every week.

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over 2 years ago clintonhillbilly

Here's mine--
Protein (could be fish, chicken, tempeh, tofu, or vegetarian or regular sausages)
Almond milk
Fresh herbs--usually at least 2, parsley, cilantro, basil or mint
Easy veggies-- something on season that cooks fast--such as zucchini, broccoli, snap pease, or green beans
Eggs
Some kind of bread-- tortillas, pita, a loaf, whatever
Hummus
Greek yogurt
Cheese (usually 2 kinds)
Lemons
Limes
Fruit
One meals worth of relatively healthy frozen food

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over 2 years ago Foodiewithalife

My grocery list looks VERY similar! I'd add...

Theo's dark chocolate bar
dried dates or figs
cucumber
club soda
jarred roasted red peppers
low sodium turkey
Essential Baking raisin pecan bread (this makes life worth living!)

Love to see real and quality foods in my fridge and on the counter.

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over 2 years ago ziba's table

Chocolate !

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over 2 years ago ziba's table

Chocolate !

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over 2 years ago pschissel

We always have endive on our list to add to salads. That is considered a staple along with limes ( less expensive and a little zingier than lemons) for my 1-2-3 salad dressing of limes, olive oil and kosher salt.

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over 2 years ago coachdonna

I keep a full pantry and freezer, and replenish as I run out. I always have canned tomatoes, pastas and grains, as well as both organic beef and organic chicken stock on hand.

Weekly, I buy milk, eggs, shredded cheese (generally swiss, mozzarella or cheddar), avocado, asparagus, onions, lemons, garlic, bananas, oranges, sweet potatoes, fresh parsley and one other "herb of the week". I buy fresh fish and meat twice during the week.

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over 2 years ago linengirl

I start most days with a green smoothie so my list probably looks weirdly vegetably.
arugula or spinach or both, and often romaine hearts as well
whatever green I'm trying to find a way to like this week: lately it's been tuscan kale or dandelion or chinese greens
bananas
milled flax seed
lemons
apples
bananas
clementines or grapes
berries, often: blueberries or raspberries, as a rule
almond milk
greek yoghurt
eggs
good butter
double smoked bacon
fish or seafood of some sort (just 1 day's worth, even though I'm trying to eat fish twice weekly now)
vegetables: some permutation of zucchini, red or yellow peppers, grape tomatoes, cucumbers and often vegetables for making soup as well. That's usually either celery root or mushrooms.
herbs: generally italian parsley, thyme, green onions. Some times tarragon or basil.
carrots
celery
onions (I make a lot of soup. It's shocking what that does to one's onion usage!)
shallots
nuts: pistachios or cashews, mostly
chorizo or italian sausage
ground beef or some kind of poultry
dark (german) bread. Sweet & sour rye and such.


Stringio

over 2 years ago gailllc

So much difference between weekly needs and restocking the pantry! I always check before sending my hubby (who does the physical labor of shopping for groceries, (although with little imagination!) for canned beans -- garbanzo, light red kidney, white, black, refried for chip dip; various canned tomatoes, Kitchen Basics stocks, a couple of our fave bottled salad dressings, condiments, baking supplies... but usually get caught out when the stuff I assume is in the freezer isn't, like bacon end cuts, edamame, and some stuff that I probably shouldn't admit we buy/store frozen :D.

Weekly (but not every week) fresh, we get Greek yogurt, salad makings of all varieties, fresh veg of all varieties, apples, oranges, pears, tortillas, really good whole grain breads and sourdoughs... along with milk, eggs, poultry.

During the warm months of the year, we swear by naturally cured brats, flank steaks, and melons, along with copious limes and green onions... why do I use so many more green onions in the summer?
This was fun!

Jwl_001

over 2 years ago jwlucas

Your list s pretty much my list - funny that it also starts with onions. No matter the season I think I always buys carrots, apples, bananas and peanut butter. With springs vegs on the way, we'll get enjoying strawberries, sweet onions, tender greens, etc.

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over 2 years ago Cucinista

My grocery list is more than likely plural lists. Having learned to cook over 40 years ago in Firenze, I still shop more than once a week, even though I live in a rural university town. Otherwise, how can one find, even at the supermarket, what's in season, fresh, unexpected. Assuming the cupboard has its stocked items -- flours, sugars, baking powders and sodas -- and the fridge has enough milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs -- there is the produce, the needed spice replenishment, the Meyers lemons, that were unanticipated at week's end. I've hardly ever planned in advance what's on the menu more than 24 hours in advance (unless guests were expected). Returning for my third trip this week, I tossed the Meyers lemons, the Greek-strained yogurt cheese, the organic boned chicken thighs (buy one get one free) into the cart with Italian parsley, a red pepper, eggs (only three left in the fridge), green beans and canned black beans. Last night there was duck breast with shallot/port sauce, asparagus and a few lentils, already cooked. I still haven't figured out what's for dinner tonight! I'll just look in the fridge! The best thing I never learned was to buy processed foods (except if you consider canned tomatoes, beans, and chicken broth). And when it is dinner time, I may well check out FOOD52 to see how I might put some of this together. Always a great inspiration.

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over 2 years ago Cucinista

My grocery list is more than likely plural lists. Having learned to cook over 40 years ago in Firenze, I still shop more than once a week, even though I live in a rural university town. Otherwise, how can one find, even at the supermarket, what's in season, fresh, unexpected. Assuming the cupboard has its stocked items -- flours, sugars, baking powders and sodas -- and the fridge has enough milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs -- there is the produce, the needed spice replenishment, the Meyers lemons, that were unanticipated at week's end. I've hardly ever planned in advance what's on the menu more than 24 hours in advance (unless guests were expected). Returning for my third trip this week, I tossed the Meyers lemons, the Greek-strained yogurt cheese, the organic boned chicken thighs (buy one get one free) into the cart with Italian parsley, a red pepper, eggs (only three left in the fridge), green beans and canned black beans. Last night there was duck breast with shallot/port sauce, asparagus and a few lentils, already cooked. I still haven't figured out what's for dinner tonight! I'll just look in the fridge! The best thing I never learned was to buy processed foods (except if you consider canned tomatoes, beans, and chicken broth). And when it is dinner time, I may well check out FOOD52 to see how I might put some of this together. Always a great inspiration.

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over 2 years ago WFDoran

In addition to what is on your list We always have berries of some sort , bananas, apples , some sort of vegatable, greek yougurt, grains like bulgar,quinoa etc and of course wine

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over 2 years ago WFDoran

In addition to what is on your list We always have berries of some sort , bananas, apples , some sort of vegatable, greek yougurt, grains like bulgar,quinoa etc and of course wine

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over 2 years ago WFDoran

In addition to what is on your list We always have berries of some sort , bananas, apples , some sort of vegatable, greek yougurt, grains like bulgar,quinoa etc and of course wine

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over 2 years ago WFDoran

In addition to what is on your list We always have berries of some sort , bananas, apples , some sort of vegatable, greek yougurt, grains like bulgar,quinoa etc and of course wine

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over 2 years ago Ms Maggie Maye

Hello! I'm new to this site as I just discovered it when I was searching for asparagus recipes, and will be making the addictive asparagus tomorrow. I was delighted to see such an interesting site geared towards home cooks! YAY! So this is my first post....I know its about grocery lists, but seems more like a "staple pantry items" list. With what I have below, I usually just have to make a quick trip to get any additional vegetables, fresh herbs and my protein if at all!

I mainly cook for myself though I have a cooking project once a week and varies based on my Monday night dinner projects with my boyfriend and staple pantry items. I tend to do a lot of Latin and Italian (Mexican, Spanish) so I always buy or keep on hand: limes, black beans, a pound of chorizo, shrimp, and sweet sausage in the freezer, empanada pastry, white basmati or jasmine and yellow rice, yucca flour to make Brazilian Cheesy bread, cilantro, olive oil, fresh peeled garlic, onions, chiles in adobo sauce, canned chiles, sazon packets, canned sweet white corn, and tortillas. Once a month I'll make a homemade roasted tomato and chile salsa verde. I too, keep on hand a quarter pound of panchetta and prosicutto and canned tomatoes, both diced 15 ounce or 28 ounce San Marzano and a couple packages of dried pasta and frozen fresh pasta.

Cheeses I have on hand are always a wedge of Romano and Parmesano Reggiano, cotija, shredded mozzarella, and queso fresco.

I also got my first crock pot at Christmas so I also have on hand regular and chive w herb cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, frozen broccoli/carrot/cauliflower medley, beef and chicken broth, frozen spinach, canned artichoke hearts. Though I usually use it to make pulled pork.

For my baking needs I always have on hand sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, home rendered lard, assorted chocolate chips, walnuts, butter (salted and unsalted) eggs, cream and milk.

Herbs and spices, other than the must have garlic, I buy my herbs as needed to keep it fresh and mostly thyme, marjoram, oregano and basil. With my spices I used to buy one new spice a week but I finally have completed a full stock of spices, especially ones that were a bit of a challenge to find at first, such as ground coriander and ground cloves. To put it this way, my daughters wanted me to send them an instant chai mix and I had, literally, every ingredient on hand including cardamom. (I felt quite glorious! They told me to 'stop talking and start cooking''. Teenagers!)

Spices I use most often and my proverbial speed rack are garlic and onion powder, cumin, ground salt and ground pepper, smoked paprika, sazon, and cinnamon. Though I also keep in stock dried chile peppers (ancho, chipotle etc.)

As a tip, one thing I found about less common herbs (like epazote) and sometimes even commonly found herbs, if you have an international market close to you, always check there. Sometimes they even have fresh versions, such as tumeric or whole nutmeg. I live in the DC region of Northern Virginia and fortunate to have many that are Latin and/or Asian. I also find that the variety of produce far more better, prices more affordable and the freshness better than the usual supermarkets, though of course nothing beats the farmers markets. Sometimes you'll find them hanging above in the top section of an aisle in or near the produce or at the end of an aisle. Many times they will be in a cellophane packet, but the prices are significantly much more affordable. Once home I then transfer into a snack size zip lock.

Well, I think I typed myself out on this one and have a sudden urge to hit the markets!

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over 2 years ago calendargirl

I missed this when it first posted, but as I read everyone's comments it seems the governing principle is really to keep a well-stocked pantry, fridge, and freezer. Given that we all cook more or less continuously, the trick is to do as Burnt Offerings does and replace as we use things.

The items which show up on my list every week are those which we consume daily: bread, milk, cheese and other dairy products (yogurt, cream), fresh fruit and vegetables, greens and nuts, fresh fish, poultry, occasional meat. The rest are on an unscheduled rotation, as necessary. I do find that when I have the freezer space, freezing things like spices, nuts, flours and grains keeps them fresh for weeks and months.

I love reading what everyone keeps on hand. I would happily eat at any of your tables.

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over 2 years ago Pmudpies

Mushrooms, always! Sourdough crusty bread and Brie!

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over 2 years ago lastnightsdinner

Our pantry is always well-stocked with dried beans and lentils, rices and grains, pastas, flours, spices and an almost embarrassing array of vinegars, so I won't include those in my list. We tend to buy most of our fresh vegetables from the farmers' market, whatever is local and in season, and our meats from there or from our wonderful local butcher shop. But the things that fill our grocery basket week after week are: pastured eggs; locally produced plain yogurt, whole milk, and cream; unsalted high fat European-style butter; tinned fish - anchovies, sardines, skipjack or bonito tuna in olive oil, and wild Alaskan sockeye salmon; lemons, limes, avocados, shallots, fennel, parsley, and green leafies for salad; frozen spinach and/or mixed greens; POMI chopped tomatoes; canned black beans, cannellini, and chickpeas; olives; marcona almonds; and cheeses - Parmagiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, and a good, sharp cheddar.

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over 2 years ago JJortega

I love our local health food store and here's my typical list:
avocados
carrots
onions of some sort
yams
kale
parsley
limes
red/green peppers
hot peppers
garlic
blueberries
brown rice
quinoa
eggs
cheese
nonfat milk
greek yogurt
sardines
chicken
salmon
tortillas or bread
salsa or Pataks chile relish
tea
wine
and a myriad of spices/herbs

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over 2 years ago Semsa

Fresh and canned Tomatoes are a must for me because they are used in so many dishes.

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over 2 years ago pieceocake

My list has (sadly) gotten much smaller since it is largely my husband and my self these days. There are always a few things that I must have in my fridge even though I find we are eating out more and more. I also always must have a few other things on hand, just in case...
flaxseed meal
oat bran
oatmeal
plain yogurt
egg whites
whole eggs
butter
canned beans
pasta
rice
couscous
salsa
milk
onions
garlic
lemons
bitter greens of some sort (i.e. broccoli rabe)
salad greens
carrots
cukes
tomatoes (in season)
sweet potatoes
balsamic
olive oil
canola oil
flour
sugar
baking powder
baking soda
chocolate (dark 65% and 53%)
milk chocolate
white chocolate
cinnamon
oregano
smoked paprika
Did I say my larder is smaller these days...don't believe me, it's an obsession!

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over 2 years ago pieceocake

My list has (sadly) gotten much smaller since it is largely my husband and my self these days. There are always a few things that I must have in my fridge even though I find we are eating out more and more. I also always must have a few other things on hand, just in case...
flaxseed meal
oat bran
oatmeal
plain yogurt
egg whites
whole eggs
butter
canned beans
pasta
rice
couscous
salsa
milk
onions
garlic
lemons
bitter greens of some sort (i.e. broccoli rabe)
salad greens
carrots
cukes
tomatoes (in season)
sweet potatoes
balsamic
olive oil
canola oil
flour
sugar
baking powder
baking soda
chocolate (dark 65% and 53%)
milk chocolate
white chocolate
cinnamon
oregano
smoked paprika
Did I say my larder is smaller these days...don't believe me, it's an obsession!

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over 2 years ago Angela @ the well-worn apron

Lemons are wonderful but I like to have vinegar on hand at all times too. My current favorite in vinaigrette is sherry vinegar and I like to have rice vinegar (seasoned and not) in the cupboard too.

Stringio

over 2 years ago testkitchenette

This is a combination of my weekly and monthly grocery/farmer's market/local producer/specialty item lists that I work my meals out of:
dried beans and whole grains
oat groats
whole milk
almonds (to make almond milk among other things)
coconut milk (in the can and organic)
greens and vegetables
onions and garlic
fruit
pastured chicken and eggs
NY produced cheeses
Long Island wines and beers (Great South Bay beer is a fairly new one in addition to Blue Point)
coffee, tea, cocoa powder
yogurt
frozen blueberries
whole fish and fish bones
Graeter's ice cream, on occasion (I grew up on this Cincinnati, OH coveted brand and still can't believe it is available in NY)...black raspberry chocolate chip is a favorite
dried berries
dates (to make date paste)
maple syrup
brown rice syrup
whole wheat pastry and sprouted spelt flour
dried unsweetened shredded coconut
cacao nibs
dark chocolate bars (to cut into chunks, cooking, and eating)
whole wheat, spelt, and kamut pastas
brown rice pasta and buckwheat soba noodles
raw almond butter
fruit sweetened jams
dried figs

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over 2 years ago Audrey Nicole

My friend and I recently taught a cooking class at the Cook's Warehouse in Atlanta called "Dinner in a Flash: Straight from Your Pantry" where we gave the class our top 10 for three areas of the kitchen. It went like this:

Top 10 Spice Cupboard Essentials:
vinegar
red pepper flakes
salt - kosher or sea salt
pepper
granulated garlic
paprika
marjoram
rosemary
cinnamon
nutmeg

Top 10 Kitchen Essentials:
olive oil
canned tomatoes
lemons
beans
garlic
pecorino or parmesan
butter
onions
pasta
eggs

Top 10 Freezer Essentials:
frozen veggies
bones (leftover chicken, ham, etc.)
veggie scraps (for making stock)
chicken stock
bread ends (for making breadcrumbs, croutons)
ice
ends of cheese
wine
frozen meat/sausage
gin :)

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over 2 years ago Margit Van Schaick

Vegetables, low-fat plain yogurt, sardines, organic dried fruit, great flour for baking, plus other baking supplies.

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over 2 years ago Homemadecornbread

I almost always buy greek yogurt, good whole grain bread, half & half, coffee, onions, cheese, and dark chocolate bars. Repeatedly and periodically, I buy cornmeal and grits (can't be without them), ice cream, canned/dried legumes, and baking supplies I have my sources for local eggs and the occasional chicken - I never purchase commercial eggs or chicken. And I have a growing list of foods I don't buy because my wonderful BF has a green thumb and loves to fish!

I am incredibly lucky to live where I can get fresh speckled trout, redfish, flounder, shrimp, oysters and a long list of other tasty fish - we fish frequently on the sound and bring home our catch, so I never buy seafood. We also procure and process our own venison - gotta read between the lines on that - and stock our freezer with it.

We grow lots of vegetables in our garden and we always share with our friends. Depending on the season we have tomatoes, green beans, several types of squash and many types of peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, okra, green onions, lettuces, sugar snaps, edamame, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, beets and carrots. And herbs - parsley, bionic mint, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram, basil, and shiso. Fruits - kumquats, grapefruit, calmondins, lemon and limes and literally gallons of dewberries and blackberries.

This winter, we played with curing and smoking meats so I haven't bought bacon, canadian bacon or seasoning meat in a long while. We've also enjoyed saucisson, venison prosciutto, bresaola, tasso and smoked fish we've made at home. The pork and beef meats were made from commercial meat, although I finally found a local farm that sustainably raises pigs and we're getting a half next month.

Abundance!

Buddhacat

over 2 years ago SKK

In the past month the daughter moved out, the cat died and I am cooking for one and still entertaining. So the weekly list changed, unless planning a meal to share with friends which I do often. And when I do I freeze left-overs. Weekly - great bread , fresh vegetables and fruits including lemons and limes, avocados. Sea food and meat is daily upon based upon need. Bi-monthly, eggs, cheese, coffee, more wine, nuts, dried beans, canned goods, shallots, onions, garlic,

Love to preserve so have tomatoes, peppers, sauces, chicken and vegetable broths, nuts, seeds, fruits ready on hand and ready to pull out either from the pantry or the freezer.

Also make stocks and bouillons.


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over 2 years ago healthierkitchen

I'm very seasonal and do my first pass at shopping for the week at weekend farm markets, so some things change, but always fish of some sort at least once a week, often chicken sausage or some kind of ground meat: chicken, pork or lamb. Skim milk, fage nonfat yogurt, Chobani flavored yogurts (my daughter prefers these), farm eggs, some kind of fresh cheese, fruit - apples, citrus and bananas this time of year, often a couple of avocados, some kind of rustic bread and pita bread, vegetables (this time of year, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, Chinese broccoli, spinach etc). I don't necessarily buy these next items every week, but I always have them and replenish them, as needed, fairly frequently: onions (red and yellow), garlic, lemons, limes, shallots, canned or boxed beans, fresh tahini, chicken stock in a box, celery, carrots, nuts, old fashioned oats, dried fruit, tea, coffee, dried pastas, assorted rices, quinoa, farro, lentils (red, yellow and de puy), canned or jarred tomatoes and tomato puree, tomato paste, tinned anchovies, tinned sardines, tinned salmon, kim chi, mayo, herbs until my garden comes back in, popcorn, dark chocolate covered almonds and/or sunflower seeds, Wheetabix and Wheetabix flakes, honey, soy sauce, olive oil, peanut oil, almond milk, coconut milk (light and regular), peanut butter, dried beans. Whew! This is why my pantry is bursting.

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over 2 years ago healthierkitchen

oh, and creme fraiche!

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over 2 years ago Aliwaks

I don;t know if this is what I buy every week, we're only two people but this is my basic par stock

Always eggs (local only) , meats on a rotation ( what looks good etc) but have to have a whole chicken on hand and some kind of sausage and some kind of ground meat.

Apples until summer (then fruit fruit fruit), berries fresh or frozen, sometimes oranges (not enough I keep forgetting about them) always either kale or mustard or dandelion greens, veggies other than that is what looks good, always salad, parsley, thyme/rosemary, lemons, grape tomatoes (until summer) basil sometimes, cilantro & limes every 2 weeks since thats when we end up having taco night (onions and garlic are a given)

Always always frozen peas, edamame, and perogies

breads...sliced whole wheat or pita or both then something "fun" a ciabatta or country bread some thing like that,

canned san marzanos esp when on sale, same with low salt low sodium chicken stock (just in case), exI stock up on canned goods, rice, dry pasta etc when on sale.

Until the farmers markets return we do our weekly shopping for basics (Italian goods, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic, coffee etc) at the Italian market here in Philly which includes a stop at Di Brunos or Claudios for a choice cheese of the week.

As far as dairy goes always greek yoghurt always either parm or pecorino, sometimes sour cream/marscapone/fresh ricotta/mozzerella or creme fraiche, but usually only if Im making something specific.

String cheese because I'm addicted, either crackers, tortilla chips (Sesame blues!!) or pirates booty. and some kind of ice cream/gelato or dark chocolate bars, and occasionally cookies but not so much. And it seems like we buy a lot of olive oil.

Some of this changes as the herb garden comes up and farmers markets start.

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over 2 years ago BavarianCook

Every few days: fruits & veggies, milk. Once a week something meaty or fishy that is on sale at my local Whole Foods and that I can buy with a good conscience (sustainably raised). Once every couple of weeks I drive out to get free range eggs in the country. I usually get 4 doz at once - we love our eggs. I bake all our own breads and pastries, so I get flour every 6-8 weeks as I buy in bigger quantities. Most of the dry items are bought in bulk and I also freeze bigger quantities of butter.

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over 2 years ago Savour

Every week:

Staples: Coffee (until we built up extra, since we go through slightly less than a pound a week), milk, butter, whole wheat bread, eggs, onions, apples or oranges or other fruit in season, bananas, salad greens, carrot sticks

Repeat meals: English muffins, cream cheese, smoked salmon (weekday breakfast), applesauce, crackers (afterschool snack)

Staples that I keep on hand, but don't have to replace every week: olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, peanut butter, canned chickpeas and/or cannellini beans, sugar, brown sugar, flour, honey, apple cider vinegar

We have a productive meyer lemon tree, so I rarely buy lemons when they're on the tree. Same with limes.

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over 2 years ago rapearson

This is a good exercise in list making. Stuff I buy almost every week:

Dairy: Milk, kefir or yogurt, unsalted butter.

Produce: avocados, bananas, apples, oranges, lemons, limes, kale, winter squash (in season, which it still is), onions, garlic.

Bulk/dry goods (I try to stock up so I don't have to buy these every week): brown rice, farro, quinoa, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds. Chocolate. Dried cranberries.

Meat/other: I usually try to buy meat for a few meals while shopping. I also like to have tempeh and some meat in the freezer.

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over 2 years ago beyondcelery

Corn tortillas, rice, canned beans (black or cannellini), carrots, broccoli, green onions, onions, garlic, celery, seasonal fruit, citrus (lemon, lime, orange), potatoes, coconut milk, sweet rice flour, walnuts or pecans, tortilla chips, cheddar, eggs, some sort of meat, tofu.

Not every week, but definitely at least once a month: very dark chocolate, cocoa powder, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, vegan butter, dried fruit, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, brown sugar, vegan cane sugar, canola oil, olive oil, quinoa, almonds, rice bran, soy sauce, coconut oil, coconut flour.

Can you tell I'm a baker?

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over 2 years ago passifloraedulis

Large quantities of fruits and vegetables (whatever is in season), unsweetened/unflavored almond milk, any different type of flour that strikes my fancy, unsalted butter, nonfat organic yogurt, Japanese or Okinawan yams, scallions, 10 grain rice mix (found at any Chinese supermarket and a more exciting alternative to brown rice), eggs, orange or grapefruit juice.

If I'm going to a Chinese supermarket, then I am generally missing my mom's cooking intensely, so I make a point of buying vegetables I can't buy elsewhere: sweet potato leaves, lotus root, daikon, "A"-vegetable (tastes like romaine lettuce), Taiwanese cabbage (sweeter and crunchier), snow pea shoots, loofah....

And then I stress out for the rest of the week wondering how I am going to cook everything before it goes bad.

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over 2 years ago LE BEC FIN

passi, this is so terrific.On the Hotline, I've been commenting on 52ers being rather Mediterranean focused, so learning from your list is especially timely for me. Some of your list items i know and use but I did not know about sweet potato leaves, Taiwanese cabbage, or loofah(we're not talking about sponge here, are we?). Please teach us more!

As for me, I've been wading further into the delightful ocean of Japanese cooking, so my shopping list this week included: ai-nori (both a nori paste in a jar, and nori flakes), mountain yam (to be grated in yamakake, a dish of tuna sashimi and yam; and to be added to okonomiyaki (pancakes), white soy sauce, prepared kampyo (gourd)for inari pockets, 3 types of miso (used for everything but i want to use it to play with salad dressings and protein marinades), and lots more.

Those are in addition to the 'regular list': eggs, chevre, smoked mozarella, parmesan, beef chuck and pork, trout,kale, spinach,flat parsley, lemons, limes,cilantro, avocado, artichoke, grape tomatoes, scallions. Frozen and canned items i tend to just keep in inventory.

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over 2 years ago passifloraedulis

Your grocery list makes me hungry! It's very easy to cook these vegetables (my mom's way, any way).

Sweet potato leaves, the Taiwanese way -- flash-boil the leaves, scoop out the leaves onto a plate. In the meantime, smash several cloves of raw garlic and remove the skins. Place the cloves of garlic on top of the leaves. Heat a small amount of vegetable oil onto a pan until smoking, and pour oil onto the garlic/leaves. There will be a deligthful sizzle of garlic as it immediately cooks. Add light-sodium soy sauce and mix . The result is garlicky, fragrant, salty, and amazing. I can't describe the texture of the sweet potato leaves and stalk, but it's addicting.

You can sautee lotus root in vegetable oil, or cut it so it looks like slices of Swiss cheese and make a simple broth. My mother loves to use the meaty ends of pork ribs to make broth (and she doesn't cook the stock for very long -- maybe two hours before the stew is made), so in my family we're always fighting for the bones to pick off the meat. This was my favorite soup as a child, probably because of the lotus root shapes.

Daikon -- I also use to make a simple broth (like the lotus root), but we really love to shred the daikon and make potstickers when it's in season. As you know, it's odorous and may be an acquired taste.

For each of the Taiwanese cabbage, A-vegetables, snow pea shoots and loofah, we simply sautee with garlic and vegetable oil, and salt to taste. We sautee the garlic until fragrant first before throwing in the vegetables.

-- In the case of Taiwanese cabbage, we also throw in chopped peppers (e.g. jalapeno) with the garlic so that the result is crunchy, slightly sweet, salty and spicy.

-- In the case of loofah (http://chowhound.chow.com... or http://en.wikipedia.org...), sauteeing the loofah releases a lot of water content, so the result is a wonderful fragrant stew that's perfect for spooning over a bowl of rice.

So happy to share all of this!

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over 2 years ago creamtea

Rice (brown, long or short grain), yogurt, fresh bay leaves, dried beans, canned chickpeas, fresh chickens (once per week), scallions, vegetables of the season: cabbage or cauliflower or winter squash; fresh peas, artichokes, string beans, corn, etc. Fruit.

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over 2 years ago Miranda Rake

Miranda is a contributor at Food52.

These lists you guys are sharing in the comments are great! Keep them coming! I think I could read other peoples' grocery lists all day every day. Seriously!

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over 2 years ago krusher

I too have a basic list of season vegetables, meat and fish. I also buy fresh cilantro, parsley and mint weekly. I buy spices in small quantities often. I always must have in my larder dried mushrooms of various sorts, porcini powder, a range of vinegars and oils, coconut milk, basmati rice, Maldon salt, tins of Spanish anchovies, sardines in spring water, bottles of passata and a full range of dried herbs to get me through the wintery months. In my fridge I will always have organic full cream and low fat milk, small capers packed in salt, salt-free butter, mayonnaise, bottles of mustards (Dijon, Dijon with truffles, English), champagne and white wine.

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over 2 years ago judyschwab

Onions, including green onions, garlic...lemons and limes, low-sodium chicken stock, red wine vinegar. I buy cauliflower almost every week...it's so versatile.

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over 2 years ago Burnt Offerings

Ditto on the cauliflower. Mashed, roasted, raw. Love it.

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over 2 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Lots of the same on ours - add: limes, carrots, celery, cabbage, spinach (we eat a LOT of salad around here) sour cream, tortilla chips and COFFEE
and usually yogurt
and usually salami
oh and POPCORN!

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over 2 years ago china millman

Weekly lists are great, but seasonal stocking up can be incredibly helpful too! I know this is harder when people tend to have less storage space, but having a variety of pastas, grains, dried legumes and staple canned goods (tomatoes, chickpeas, white beans and coconut milk are my go-to) not only make weekly grocery shopping faster, they also help guarantee that it's easier to make a quick, healthy dinner than it is to order take-out.

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over 2 years ago rapearson

I totally agree! Our local co-op has 5% off every 5th of the month, and so I try to stock up that day as much as possible with things like tamari, legumes, and so on.

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over 2 years ago Stefanie Samara Hamblen

After I go to the farmers markets (yes, two every week) on Saturday mornings, then I make out a menu based on the fresh produce I bought. For this reason the list may change from week to week, but greek yogurt is always there. I use it instead of mayo as a sandwich spread, as a calcium rich salad dressing extender and with jams as dessert. The other item that is a must have is really good chocolate - at least 60% - cheaper and tastier than antidepressants!

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over 2 years ago Brianne Du Clos

When I make my weekly grocery list, it begins just as yours does. We, too, keep canned chickpeas and black beans on hand at all times, as well as refried beans for my New Mexican other half.

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over 2 years ago Burnt Offerings

Good lists!! In addition to those, I alway, always, always make sure I have the following in my pantry, and if I use it - it's immediately replaced: cans of garbanzo, cannelini and black beans (cause you don't always have time to soak and cook); canned or frozen artichoke hearts, and at least 2 cans of coconut milk (light and regular). Oh - and you forgot bacon. How can you go a week without needing bacon or pancetta in something or other?

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over 2 years ago Miranda Rake

Miranda is a contributor at Food52.

Actually Nozlee, one of the editors at food52, included 'seasoning meats' on her list, namely bacon or pancetta! But (oddly) she was the only one! I guess the rest of us didn't have it as a staple.

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over 2 years ago healthierkitchen

I always have some pancetta in the freezer. I usually buy half a pound at a time and wrap it into two separate packages of 1/4 pound each.

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

Thats almost 'on the dot' even for a non traditional American like me.. Other than the eggs & avocado.. (which I'd substitute fresh vegetables of the season), love this list!