There is no greater contentment than a well-stocked pantry. Every pantry is different too. If you’re not a cook your pantry staples will be very much different from a gourmet. Age, income, and even gender can come into play.
When Greg and I lived 300 miles apart, I was appalled at the
crap, um…stuff he had in his pantry. All of it was purely convenience food, no raw ingredients. He worked 12 hour days and didn’t want to spend his free time cooking. It was either convenience food or carryout.
The important take-away is that regardless of your lifestyle, your pantry should be well stocked according to your needs. You never know when a storm, sickness, or a broken car will strand you at home.
I’ve reached a point in my life where I much prefer to eat my own cooking than eat restaurant food. Mine is simply better. The knife in the back is that I still dislike cooking. LOL! It’s one of my least favorite activities, probably because I get no love for my effort, but it’s cheaper than eating out, so there I am. Ces’t la vie.
I’d like to share with you my personal pantry. While I keep more than these ingredients, these are the things I need for every day cooking. Notice too, that I will use some prepackaged ingredients like sausage gravy.
So help me, I’ve never been able to make a nice, thick (non-lumpy) gravy. It’s the one luxury I afford myself because I’m too impatient to make a decent gravy. Baking bread and making gravy. There you have it. My two Achilles’ heels when it comes to cooking.
• Sugar, brown and white
• Baking powder
• Corn starch
• Sweetened condensed milk
• Oils, canola and olive oil
• Milk (dry)
• Beans, variety of white, red, and pinto (canned and dry)
• Rice, variety of Jasmine, long grain white, and sushi rice
• Canned corn
• Broth, I freeze the broth I make myself, but I also buy canned and dehydrated bouillon cubes.
• Pasta, variety of shapes
• Potatoes, fresh, dry, and canned
• Canned tomatoes, sauce, whole, and crushed
• Mushrooms, canned and dried
• Soy sauce
• Vinegars, white, apple cider, and red wine vinegar
• Mustard, yellow and Chinese mustard
• Hot sauce
• Sausage gravy
• Pickled peppers
• Canned salmon and crab
• Canned chicken
• Wine, red and white
• Hoisan sauce
• Hot chili-garlic paste
• Garlic powder
• Chili pepper
• Fish sauce
• Oyster sauce
• Lemon juice
In the interest of full disclosure, I grow most of my own herbs, but I use dry when fresh isn’t available
This list isn’t inclusive, but if you’re starting housekeeping in a new place and you’re a fairly good cook, these are the must-haves for a working kitchen.
Even though I cook most meals from scratch, I will use convenience foods as long as they taste good and are fast. For instance, I’ll always have a box of cookie or muffin mix in the pantry in case of drop-in company. They are super fast and I can add things like nuts and dried fruit into the mixture to make it tastier.
Soup is another convenience food. I’ll be honest, after eating my homemade soups, I really detest the canned stuff, but if I’m the one that’s sick and I need soup, the canned stuff is there in a pinch.
Anything special in your pantry? Is there any food that you can’t make well? Go on and tell me. I confessed my sins. It’s your turn. 🙂