Remember how I mentioned that I'm staying at a house with a well-stocked larder? Well, that is most definitely an understatement. Just off the top of my head (pre-coffee), I know we have canned goods including beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, tuna, and vegetables; frozen fruits and vegetables; pasta galore; jarred sauces (tomato sauce, salsas, thai curry sauces); bulk goods like rice, lentils, baking staples (flour, sugar, baking soda) and popcorn; oils and vinegars; condiments up the wazoo; frozen ground meats and sausages; salamis and cheeses; potatoes and onions (no garlic!); trail mix, chips, crackers; and fresh fruits, veggies, bread, deli meats, eggs, milk, hummus, and butter. I'm probably forgetting a bunch, honestly. This means that I have a LOT to choose from, but generally, even in my tiny kitchen, I have a lot of this stuff on hand (in smaller quantities). I cannot stress the importance of having a well-stocked pantry generally, but particularly when times are tough. The NYT has a great article on stocking your pantry, and I found collections from Budget Bytes and Smitten Kitchen on pantry cooking.
Yesterday was a great example of pantry cooking. I made lentil soup for lunch, but left out the celery, garlic, and cumin (which we don't have) and added two links of chorizo that were in the freezer. Snacks were some cheese, crackers, salami, and these corn nut things that Nagib likes (I have no idea what they are called). For dinner, we had a salad alongside pasta arrabbiata, made with jarred Rao's sauce -- it had been recommended to me and was really good for jarred sauce, with a spicy kick. Leftover brownies for dessert.