10 Groceries That We’ll Never Take for Granted Again

updated Jun 11, 2020
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Everyone needs a reminder of this every now and again: You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. And in this case, when we say gone, we’re referring to the everyday grocery staples that seemed to vanish from warehouses, store shelves, pantries, freezers, and fridges amidst early panic purchasing and supply-chain woes. Among the many lessons we’ve learned about our grocery shopping habits over the past few months, appreciating the things we are able to put in our shopping carts ranks very high on the list.

In the spirit of mindful consumption (of the groceries we can’t live without), the Kitchn staff wanted to take stock of the everyday items that, from this day forward, we swear we’ll never take for granted again.

Here are 10 groceries we vow to always have on hand moving forward.

Credit: Kelli Foster

1. Yeast

“I never thought much of yeast. It’s cheap, inexpensive, and not all that exciting. But ever since yeast all but vanished from grocery store shelves, I realized how essential it is to make so many of my favorite baked goods. It’s magical. It’s alive. It’s a make-or-break ingredient.” — Jesse Szewczyk, Studio Food Editor

Related: The Best Yeast Substitutes for Baked Goods

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Chocolate Chips

“I can’t find chocolate chips anywhere right now. The only ones on shelves right now at my grocery store are the white chocolate chips, which are just not my jam. Instead of making my own cookies, I’ve been having to buy the pre-made dough from local restaurants, which has been nice, but I really just want to make my own. I also miss being able to take a handful of chips and having them for dessert.”— Ariel Knutson, Features Director

Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Brett Regot

3. Chicken

“I’ve either found my grocery store totally wiped out of chicken breasts and thighs or there’s been a limit of two packs per shopper. I’ve been buying what I can, when I can, but when we’re on the other side of this, I’m going to be better about making sure I always have chicken in the freezer. And now that I’m newly obsessed with my vacuum sealer, that shouldn’t be a problem.” — Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director

Related: 9 Online Delivery Services That’ll Bring Meat Right to Your Door

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

4. Tofu

“I didn’t realize how much I relied on tofu as an easy way to add protein to my vegetarian meals until it vanished from grocery store shelves. Without it, my stir-fries are sadder, my grain bowls are smaller, and my tofu scrambles are just plain non-existent. I’ve supplemented wherever possible with beans, lentils, and frozen shrimp, but tofu — I promise I’ll never take you for granted again!” — Grace Elkus, Deputy Food Director

Related: The Best Vegetarian Meat Substitutes: A Personal Guide to the Best Vegetarian Meat Substitute for You

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

5. Milk

“The shock of seeing the entire milk case emptied out felt just as gutting and worrisome the fifth time it happened as it did the first. Thankfully I have been able to find milk more easily these days. What’s different now is I feel a huge amount of gratitude for the ability to put a carton in my cart that I never experienced before the middle of March.” — Kelli Foster, Associate Food Editor

Related: Yes, You Can Freeze Milk. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Credit: Maria Midoes

6. Flour

“I never really gave flour much thought before all this. I had it in the pantry whenever I needed it and that was that. Now, it feels like, if I am able to keep flour stocked, I have the makings of bread, cookies, biscuits, pizza dough … anything! Its potential is something I definitely don’t think I’ll take for granted ever again.” — Sheela Prakash, Senior Contributing Editor

Related: The Best Places to Actually Find and Buy Flour Right Now

Credit: Emma Christensen/Kitchn

7. Eggs

“Eggs have always been a staple in our house, but I never quite took stock of how much I rely on them until now. Our days start with eggs (scrambled or baked into banana bread), lunch is often a snack platter (with hard-boiled eggs), and dinners are often fridge-clean-out frittatas, egg salad sandwiches, or fried rice with a scramble of eggs mixed right in.” — Patty Catalano, Contributing Writer

Related: Yes, You Can Freeze Eggs — With One Caveat

Credit: Kitchn

8. Lemons and Limes

“Lemons and limes are so good to have on hand for cooking and baking (not to mention making drinks), so I’m still getting used to the fact that I can’t simply pop out and grab a few whenever I need them. I feel like I go through them so quickly and I never realized it before!” — Kaitlin Garske, Senior Social Media Manager

Related: Out of Lemons? Here’s What to Use Instead.

Credit: Alice Choi

9. Puff Pastry

“I have searched high and low for frozen puff pastry at all my local stores and every delivery service, 10 weeks later, I have yet to find it. Nada. I will accept any donations of puff pastry to my home, please and thank you.” — Amelia Rampe, Studio Food Editor

Related: How To Make Puff Pastry from Scratch

Credit: Kelli Foster

10. Rolled Oats

“Rolled oats used to be the kind of ingredient that I left virtually untouched in my pantry — that is, until I rekindled my relationship with them while quarantining with my family indefinitely. Between the four of us, we go through a big container of them a week. This time spent at home has taught us that there’s almost nothing a batch of homemade granola, overnight oats, or chewy oatmeal cookies can’t fix. I also can sleep soundly knowing I can make homemade oat milk with them if the need arises. (Seriously, what can’t you do with oats?) Nowadays when find them, I buy two canisters at a time.” — Lauren Masur, Staff Writer

What’s the one grocery item you’ll never take for granted again?