Because dried vegetables from the kitchen cabinet and meat from the freezer have saved many a writer from having to go out shopping on a winter day, and they can be purchased when the money is flowing in and kept on hand for the days when it isn’t.

Pantry Staples Beef Barley Soup

  • 1 slice of cross-cut beef shank
  • 1 cup, more or less, of pearl barley
  • a bit under a quarter cup of dried onion flakes
  • a generous shaking of dried chopped garlic
  • a good handful of dried champignon mushrooms
  • a good handful of dried porcini mushrooms
  • a moderate sprinkling of mixed dried vegetables
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cups of beef stock
  • 1 packet of onion soup mix
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pinches of dried rosemary
  • soy sauce (a couple of tablespoons, I suppose)
  • about a tablespoon of tomato paste

Throw it all into the crockpot at about 10 in the morning and let it cook all day.  At dinnertime, fish out and discard the shank bone, then bring the soup to the table and serve it forth.