I supplied the desserts this year for dinner at my SILs. Late Wednesday night, I baked a pie, it didn't turn out, and I needed to make something pie-like to replace it. I didn't have a big enough supply of any one suitable fresh fruit to do a whole pie; it couldn't be a milk-based or custard pie, due to guests' dietary issues; and this group doesn't like pumpkin pie, although I have puree in the freezer. Sooooooo...I took a sheet of frozen puff pastry, a jar of apricot preserves, an apple, a can of mandarin oranges, a handful of chopped fresh cranberries, a splash of brandy, and baked sort of a rustic (very rustic, LOL) mixed fruit puff-pastry galette. It actually turned out well enough so that my BIL wouldn't let me bring the left-over piece home with hubby, so I guess that was an endorsement. :-)
The point is...I've never been one for keeping "emergency" ingredients or supplies on hand. I'm just not that organized. I got lucky this time. I had bought the puff pastry to make breakfast turnovers for hubby last weekend. I had the mandarin oranges only because I had gotten a good deal on a case to donate to our local food bank and had decided to keep one can because I like them for a snack.
So what I learned this year is that, yes, all of you who keep some "just in case" ingredients--just in case company drops in, just in case a dish fails, etc.--in inventory are right. From now on, I'm going to keep that in mind while shopping and make sure I always have a few versatile pantry and freezer ingredients here for such situations.
What did you learn?