Since I spend a good part of my personal and professional life scouring the pantries of many—from individuals to restaurants (as well as family and friends)—I figured it was time to give you, my readers, insight into what my pantry looks like for real! The picture noted above is not my pantry (but below is a gallery of images of my pantry, fridge and freezer for your viewing pleasure). Perhaps this will convince you that I am just like everyone else, navigating the many challenges of food choice daily.
Given that I am a working mother of two very active boys, I travel pretty regularly and surely can’t afford a 100% organic and true farm to table life, my ideal is clearly not my reality. So navigating is necessary.
In fact, recently shopping in one of my local large grocers, I was perusing the meat section. Now, given my passion for high humane welfare animal foods, most grocers can’t meet my standards. But I have to make compromises—my boys (husband included) love poultry and meat. To my left was a butcher refilling the Perdue case and to my right was a man (with his son), who clearly had a very specific shopping list from his wife. I quietly listened as the man begged the butcher for answers to his hormone, antibiotic, pasture-raised and organic questions as he sought the perfect ground poultry product. As the butcher was literally “butchering” his response to this man’s questions, I couldn’t help but chime in.
Quite unfortunately the best option was an antibiotic free ground turkey that claimed to be hormone-free (yet, hormone use in poultry is illegal so the term, as it relates to birds, is marketing-only); it also claimed “pasture-raised” and “humanely-raised” yet there was no third party verification from neither Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) nor Certified Humane (both high humane welfare seals) so again, just marketing.
But back to my pantry—I ended up buying the same darn product (NOT Perdue) because my boys wanted turkey burgers and this falsely claimed option was my only choice. Infuriating, yes but also my reality until truly healthy animal foods are easily accessible to all.
Several years ago a student asked me how I choose food knowing all that I know. Well, believe it or not, my knowledge means that choosing always comes from a place of truly understanding what my choice is and why I am making it. And that is empowering. It may not always be my ideal, but that must be OK!
I always aim for tons of whole foods (and organic when I can)— fresh produce, eggs, dairy, some animal foods (frozen chicken tenders being my busy mom go-to), grains (pasta included), legumes, nuts and seeds. In terms of packaged goods, we dabble in dressings and marinades, crackers and of course chips (my weakness). And my kids love sweets so I typically buy ice cream and baking mixes (so my boys can easily play in the kitchen).
Take a look below and you will see What The Fork Is In My Pantry (FYI, I have two refrigerators!!!)…
Please feel free to share pictures of your pantry, fridge and freezer with me by posting on Instagram and tagging me @stefaniesacks #mypantry. I am happy to offer insights! How about we all help each other make the best choices we can make...