Don't give up on staining those cabinets, you just need the right product. Due to the cell construction of pine, it will always take stain unevenly. It used to be that pre- treatments or "wood conditioners" were the only solution, which meant you had to guess at what the resulting shade would look like. A better way to go is to use a gelled stain- it is in it's nature to penetrate slowley and evenly. Bartley's is one manufacurer, but there are others as well.