A pantry is your foundation for cooking. When you see a recipe, you don't want to have to buy every ingredient on the list. Determine what kind of cook you are and then stock your pantry with the items below. It will save you so much time and stress. Each level builds on another. Notice there are not so many fresh items in the pantry; a pantry is meant to have items that will typically last a month or longer.
Basic: I just need to eat
This pantry is built for super survival cooking, which means more shopping if you decide to cook more extensively.
Fridge: Eggs, milk, butter, cheese, tortillas, mustard, ketchup, and mayo
Pantry: Salt, pepper, olive oil, all-in-one spice mix, one vinegar, and bread (freeze to preserve)
Intermediate: I feel like being fancy
This pantry is for the average cook who cares slightly about variety and creativity.
Fridge: Yogurt, relish, and BBQ sauce
Pantry: Garlic, onion, soy sauce, flour, sugar, brown sugar, five or more spices, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, canned beans, rice, and pasta
Advanced: I'm trying to impress (myself)
This pantry is for people who love to cook and try new things, and do so often.
Fridge: Cream cheese, miso paste, and herbs
Pantry: Bread crumbs, apple cider vinegar, baking powder, baking soda, lentils, tomato sauce