When did you last really clear out your food cupboards? Not just the tins of beans at the front, but that collection of bizarre edible products lurking in the shadows behind the beans.
Our wartime-born belief that chucking out food is 'wrong' can bind us to some odd foodstuffs.
Jars of unsavoury cook-in sauce, novelty holiday purchases and unseasonal Christmas fare remain stubbornly on the shelf, while at the same time, we're binning fresh food once a week.
As Judith Wills, author of The New Home Larder, points out, we'll happily chuck away half the contents of our fridge, before we touch that bottle of curried fruit from Thailand.
Having ruthlessly transformed her chaotic larder into an efficient storage system, the cook says people are usually embarrassed by the contents of their shelves.
"I like to have a nose, but other people don't like it because they're ashamed of their cupboards," she says.
Judith adds that most people have got out of the habit of stocking their store cupboards with useful food.
"We tend to buy things and stick them in the fridge or freezer. All we'll have in the cupboard is flour, sugar, baked beans and tomato ketchup."
But living off fresh food and endless trips to the supermarket spells disaster for the environment and our wallets.
In her new book, Judith challenges our hoarding habits and revisits the idea of the larder.
"Many people have forgotten that you can make a meal from scratch from your cupboard. I've got quite a few recipes which require no fresh food or just one fresh ingredient," she says.
If Judith hasn't been to the supermarket (a trip she only makes once a fortnight) she'll rustle up a little almond soup.
"I might have it with cous cous and dried fruits, nuts and spices. That's terrific."
But she admits to still having a few naughty cupboard secrets.
"Last week I found a can of Icelandic fish balls in one of mine," she giggles.
Here are Judith's top 12 store cupboard essentials and some recipes that will get the most out of your larder...
1) Light olive oil: The light types are ideal both for cooking and in salad dressings so you needn't buy separate bottles for different purposes.
2) Dried pasta spirals: More versatile than spaghetti or tagliatelle as their compact shape means they can be used in bakes, soups, stews and salads.
3) Harissa paste: This hot North African pepper paste - a more-ish mix of red chillies, herbs, spices and oil - can be used instead of fresh chillies, lazy chilli, paprika, cayenne or even curry powder or paste. Also tastes great thinned with oil and brushed over steak or chops, added to mayo for a quick dip or to yoghurt for a marinade.
4) Honey: A great substitute for sugar in baking, hot drinks and delicious on toast, honey also makes a great quick drizzle for breakfast cereals, yoghurt and fresh fruit. It can be used as a marinade ingredient for grilled chicken, roast gammon and lamb, or simply added to salad dressings.
5) Canned cannellini beans: Quick, cheap and easy protein source - ideal tipped into vegetable soups, meat stews (to eke out the costly meat) and good for three-bean salad, or blended with lemon juice and seasoning for a quick dip.
6) Ready-to-eat apricots: Poach in water for breakfast (puree leftovers for a great sauce for icecream), eat as healthy snacks, or chopped and added to couscous or rice salads, cakes or home-made bread.
7) Blanched almonds: The most versatile of all the nuts, they can be chopped and sprinkled on yoghurt, fruit or breakfast cereal, flaked and added to chicken or pork stir-fry, added to cakes and biscuits or ground and added to crumble topping, sweet pastry and cakes or made into a delicious soup with milk, chicken stock and seasoning.
8) Dried lentils: Make a delicious soup from scratch in 30 minutes with brown, green or puy lentils, chopped carrot, onion and celery, vegetable stock and seasoning. Simmer the ingredients then blend. Also great cooked and stirred into rice salad, or used as a side dish instead of potatoes.
9) Sun-dried tomato paste: Gives a more intense hit to all kinds of stews, casseroles, soups and sauces than ordinary tomato puree or canned tomatoes. Stir some into mayonnaise for a tasty dip or baked potato topping.
10) Microwaveable rice: A pouch of brown or white basmati rice that will cook in just two minutes in the microwave is the ideal store cupboard standby. Use not only for an instant curry accompaniment but also cooled to make a great salad with chopped cucumber/onions/peppers/dried fruit/nuts.
11) Canned tuna in water: More versatile and less fatty than tuna in oil and healthier than high-salt tuna in brine. This makes a great lunch with sliced tomatoes, red onion and cannellini or butterbeans, all dressed in vinaigrette.
12) Balsamic vinegar: Ideal all-round vinegar, great for salad dressings (even on its own), add a dash to onions, tomatoes or mushrooms while they are sauteing to bring out the flavour. Use with olive oil or on its own as a dip for bread - or sprinkle over strawberries instead of sugar.