How to Stock In A Kitchen (Which is a Metaphor for LIFE)


For most of you, this will seem like a ‘no-brainer’.



For some of you (I’m looking at you son), this may be a life saver, and since I’m a very good swimmer, I shall respond to the man in the sinking boat.


The other week, Chase and I had a phone conversation about what he was going to have for dinner that night. This is what mother’s do- have inane conversations that are actually fact finding missions wrapped up in sweet talk.


After, a little of ‘How are ya?’ and ‘Whatya doin’?’ I went right for the juggler and asked, ‘What are you cooking for dinner, since Lauren doesn’t get home ’till late, and I would expect you to have supper ready for her?’.


Now, our son is a grown man (more or less). He has a world-class powerful job. He is revered by his collegues. He is in a long-term loving relationship with aforementioned Lauren (who is my hero), and he was raised by me, and by ‘me’ I mean moi.


If there were ten things I taught him, one of them was to  use your head and cook your own food.


Except, it turns out, I didn’t. I taught him to expect that good food would be ready every night, prepared by someone else, which was me, the devil Angel in Prada.


Next to insisting he not take his clothes off inside out and leave them on the floor, I always thought he was paying attention.




Silly Mommy.


So, after asking him, “What the hell were you  paying attention to all those years ago?”, and “Did I raise a wolf?”,  he told me he seriously didn’t know where to begin and that they didn’t know how to even start.


Oh. My. God. I. Am. A. Failure.


“Okay, okay” I said, “It’s never  to late”. (Which translated to: “Once you get married and have kid’s someone will need to know how to cook ’cause, if you don’t, you’ll spend an exorbitant amount of moola on meals, and your kids will become weakly from crap nutrition, and I can just feel a riff in the long-term relationship fabric, and bills probably not getting paid, which will led to living in a trailer, and the guy next door will burn tires for heat and keep pet snakes, which will turn into a whole mess with the local health department, and I really don’t want to have to deal with the authorities in the holler’s of West Virginia”- ’cause it’s never about me.


No matter what he heard (As I sweep my hand across my body with a dramatic eye roll), let’s begin with basic’s, shall we?


When you are grown-up enough to have a kitchen of your own, you should actually use it for more then just keeping your excess sweaters in the oven, serving drinks, and nuking a frozen meal. (Though I am totally on-board with the drinks).


You can begin by having paid attention to your mother as you grew up (opportunity had and lost), buy a cookbook and grocery shop (Shit, Mom. I’m busy), or press the little phone icon on your cell when it rings which then turns into this post.


The choice was always yours….


Shall we begin? I think we shall…



1) Foods need seasoning if you’re starting from scratch- like life. Remember you as a little tadpole? I do. The basics would include:


  • salt

  • black pepper

  • chopped parsley

  • paprika

  • marjoram

  • ground mustard

  • garlic powder

  • chili powder

  • dehydrated onion flakes

  • white vinegar

  • olive oil

  • wet mustard

  • ketchup

  • mayonaise

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • soy sauce

  • white granulated sugar

  • brown sugar

  • confectioner’s sugar

  • vanilla extract

  • ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice


2) Some food will require development. You might need to change the consistency as it cooks, or create a chemical reaction. Think of this like a relationship you’d like to go farther then just ‘Wanna come back to my place?’ to ‘I love you’.

  • baking soda

  • baking powder

  • corn starch

  • dry yeast


3) And don’t try to convince me you don’t like carbs. All of humanity likes carbs. Even the vegans (which I consider skirting the humanity qualifier, anyways).

  • white enriched flour

  • dried rice

  • dehydrated potatoes

  • Italian bread crumbs

  • panko flakes

  • egg noodles

  • spaghetti noodles

  • bread


4) As much as food snobs would like to convince you that no one worth a grain of salt would use anything out of a can (or jar)… you need canned goods. They will sustain you in times of trouble, like a good Simon and Garfunkel song. (“Who?” you ask? God I’m old).

  • crushed tomato

  • tomato paste

  • black olives

  • pimento stuffed green olives

  • green olive salad

  • pesto

  • soup

  • tuna

  • peanut butter

  • Italian salad dressing

  • chocolate sauce

  • jam


5) Don’t open your refrigerator door and see your mis-spent youth before you. Lie. I always have.

  • eggs

  • salted butter

  • sour cream

  • plain yogurt

  • milk

  • cream

  • fresh fruit juice

  • cheese

  • deli meats

  • fresh vegetables that include celery, carrots, peppers, and whole potatoes

  • fresh fruit that include lemons and limes

  • whipped cream


6) The freezer. It’s good for more than syrupy vodka.

  • vodka

  • Meat

  • Ice Cream

  • leftovers ( yes- you will have some)

  • one ice box dessert

  • vacuum packed vegetables and/or fruit

  • Ice. For the love of God, don’t forget the ice.


7)  Then there are the incidentals, like coffee, tea, and me…



Just ask Ben.

He’s been eating well for years.


I was gone 2 weeks. The fridge started talking. Did Ben clean it out? Back to the Starting Line. PINIMAGE

I was gone 2 weeks. The fridge started talking. Did Ben clean it out? Back to the Starting Line.

  • Tammy - Loved it! As it turns out, I am a failure too. It gets worse. My daughter insists that I never cooked for her. Really? I wonder who fed her those ribs, chops, salads, fettuccini, etc., all those years. I’ve also been scolded for allowing her to eat baloney. Nothing was said about having a child who refused to eat anything else in her lunchbox. It appears that as she gets older … it’s ALWAYS about me!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Kid’s are such assholes. I will cook dishes that I believe they loved as kids and they will now say ‘I never liked that’. Really? You sure as shit ate a lot of it! I have also been critiqued for lunch meats. ANd asked why I didn’t slaughter my own meat. Make of that what you will….ReplyCancel

      • Michael M. Fury - OMG….you, the consummate mom…. said it right out loud…… but its true….. kids are such assholes …… until they have their own, and start to be parents…. so encourage them to have kids….. Its the best revenge! Hopefully they’ll turn out just like they were at this age.ReplyCancel

        • Cheryl - I liked two words in your comment, and will hold them close to my heart: consummate & asshole. A fine combination.ReplyCancel

          • Michael M. Fury - are you trying to tell me something Cheryl?

          • Cheryl - Hahahahaaaaa

          • Michael M. Fury - What no answer, am i a consummate asshole you hold close to your heart?

          • Cheryl - Nonono…. I just like the term asshole. You are not one.

  • Jessica - Vodka in the freezer? Intriguing! Other than that (and the fact that I have no need for olives, because: gross), I think I’ve done rather well stocking my kitchen! And thanks for reminding me that I need to get butter. 😉ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh yes. The low temp makes it syrupyyyyyyeeeee. And, you’re welcome. Now, I’m off to the grocer! There’s a cake in the works.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - Yeah..I need for my son to read this post! Great list!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Have I forgotten anything Michelle? What can you add? Oh yes- Blood Sweat & Tears. I forgot those.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - And having seen all that advice, he will go out to eat every night. Because stocking a kitchen would mean actually having to PREPARE something.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Torris - First of all this is hilarious…Oh.MY.God! Second, I am copying the list because I think I need to get rid of stuff and get better stuff! Thirdly, your son is not old yet so there really is hope. Really!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - He’s 28!!! Other then grilling- he’s clueless ( reminds me of another male in my life). Men.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - A man would want all that “white” stuff like pasta. It’s handy for an emergency, but I rarely eat that anymore. The freezer needs lots of veggies (even if it is just your favorite kind), chicken, pork, and ground beef (handiest for an emergency). I made mine shop for the ingredients and then prepare a meal once a week. Yes, I was a mean Mommy.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Good for you. Mean is sometimes the way to go.ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - My son is the same way! My daughter though has it all together and I have to admit is a pretty good cook.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Loved this whole post from start to checkout lane. Good Lord, I had to look up what Panko flakes.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - So clever Sue (’till checkout lane). Hahahaaaa. And you have to try Panko flakes. Better then Italian Bread crumbs- for real.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Graham - Pretty good list — I still have a college palate 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Diane - Husby loves to cook. So all of our sons love to cook. Now our daughters, that is a whole other story . . .ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - My men like to eat, but our daughter is learning, and getting quite good at it. She even buys cookbooks. Imagine…ReplyCancel

  • Michael M. Fury - Cheryl , as one of my favorite motivational speakers would tell you- he’ll wind up in a trailer, down by the river! Why do women expect their men to do things when they are not home, that they dont do while they are at home? For me whisky not vodka, would be the essential. Thanks for the post! LolReplyCancel

  • Roshni - You’re such a good mom-in-law!!! I hope he was ready and waiting for her with a glass of wine in one hand and a plate of fragrant food in another!!ReplyCancel

  • Jana - My husband did most of the cooking, since I work a 8-5 job and he had the luxury of working from home. However, now that he has decided he is not a family man and moved out, I let my young adult kids know that they need to pull their weight and make a meal or two each week. Daughter is already a pretty good cook – but son is limited to peanut butter sandwiches, soup, and mac & cheese. Luckily, he does seem interested in learning and we spent a few hours this weekend cooking together. Here’s hoping it sticks.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’m pulling for you- and your meals. Here’s to wishing you a life time of wonderful meals, and new found happiness. XXOOReplyCancel

  • Jill Shaw - 6) good for more “THAN” not “then” dear . Two entirely different words and meanings . It must have been a typo like “next store” instead of “next door ” . Overall a very helpful cute and funny article . It is my first time visiting your blog . Also , please don’t forget the cinnamon 😉 ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you Mistress Jill, the corrections have been attended to(o). Oops. HA!ReplyCancel

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