It’s easy to feel panic when faced with traumas or disasters. Psychologists say our buying habits change during and after, as expressed by people in America buying large volumes of toilet paper and hand sanitizer while other countries, such as Iceland and Australia face food shortages.

My immediate thoughts when hearing of schools closing was of students going hungry. Suddenly, not having your food source available is another emergency! Please, if you’re blessed with abundance, share what you have!

Lessen the burden of panic food buying. Whenever possible, don’t buy food you wouldn’t want to eat! Unwelcome foods can make for increased stress and anxiety.

Statistically, ordering food online is not dangerous for the consumer. The danger is to the delivery workers. Look for a service that will ship to your door and leave it. Deliverers are taking a risk to THEIR health by being helpful to us. For home delivery, I use Amazon and Thrive Market. Hello Fresh and Sunbasket offer meal kits. Walmart, Target, Hannaford, and Whole Foods package your order and have several delivery or pick-up options.

Order in from a delivery service you trust adheres to health standards. Steer away from ordering salads – but they are low risk, so don’t freak out if that’s what you want. Farmington, Maine area has “Downtown Delivery” (207) 808-0488. Super easy! Pick a restaurant from their menu, order, have it delivered within 30 – 60 mins. They get great reviews! Respect the deliverer and pay for in advance so they can drop off and leave with no contact. Please consider tipping.

Restaurants and grocery stores may close or have limited supplies. It’s not too late to prepare!

Pantry staples for 30 days: (consider dietary needs and budget – you don’t necessarily need all of these!)

Water – gallons instead of individual bottles

Flour (make pancakes, bread, baked goods, or use as a soup thickener)



Boxed soups, broths

Boxed milk, plant beverage, juice

Tea and/or coffee

Peanut butter or other nut butter

Ghee – shelf stable, clarified butter

Tahini (can be substituted for butter on toast, baked goods, yogurt)

Jams or jelly

Karo syrup (emergency sugar for diabetics)

Canned tuna or meat

Pasta (ramen takes up more space than boxed)


Rolled oats (quick cook)

Cereal (Reach for nutrient-dense when possible)

Dried beans or seeds (lentils and quinoa are excellent) Watch out for beans that will require using several other ingredients.

Potatoes (white or sweet, both are versatile for soups, salads, or a side dish)

Canned beans (add to salads, soups, broths)

Canned vegetables (especially tomatoes for versatility)

Dried fruits (snack, salads, main dishes)

Nuts (snack, salads, main dishes)

Fruit snacks

Baking powder

Baking soda

Spices (not essential but they can take bland and blah to a higher level)


Olive or other cooking/salad oil


Yeast (bread making – sourdough starter can often be substituted, but it needs starting a week in advance or get some from a friend)

General comfort food


Frozen vegetables and fruits

Meat (bone-in – cook it, cut off the meat, boil the bone for broth)

Chicken – Roast, remove meat, boil down carcass (recipe on my website – refrigerate or freeze broth)

Bacon (substitute the drained fat in cooking where fat is needed)

Fish or seafood

Veggie patties

Potato patties

Make a large pot of beans or soup and freeze portions

Over-ripe bananas – peel and freeze for smoothies, desserts, main dishes

Bread (with flour, sugar, and yeast you can make your own)

Pancakes (substitute for bread)Tortillas (take up less space than bread loaves)

Refrigerator food:

Leeks, carrots, scallions, onions, chives, garlic, fresh tomatoes (store unpeeled on the counter for a couple of weeks)

Apples, oranges, lemons

Pickles, fermented foods

Cheese (parmesan, pecorino, blue cheese without bacterium has a longer shelf life)


Optional syrups and salad dressings

Broccoli and lettuce, store in a closed bag with a paper towel

Eggs – VERY versatile, inexpensive, long shelf life


Have fun! Search cookbooks online, watch videos, visit favorite websites. Video chat with a friend. Share recipes! Ask friends for suggestions. Help each other! Reach out to me anytime! During this time of emergency I’ll be posting more frequently on my website and Facebook page – The Compassionate Cook: Food for the Soul.

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