Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What Goes Into a Well-Stocked Pantry?

A few months ago when I decided that I was going to do this cooking thing for real, I stocked my pantry because apparently this is a thing. You're supposed to have a well-stocked pantry as a cook.

Now, given the fact that I'm in a studio apartment and I don’t have an actual “pantry,” this was a challenging endeavor.

So I bought this little contraption at Ocean State Job Lot for 20 bucks or so. It’s cute, don’t you think? 

It fits my space and it has (most) of the items one should have in a well-stocked pantry, including: 
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Beans/chickpeas – lol I will likely never use these but figure they will help someone during the zombie apocalypse when they raid my apartment
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Brown sugar
  • Chicken stock
  • Cooking spray
  • Cooking wine
  • Cornstarch
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Honey
  • Hot sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Maple syrup
  • Mayo
  • Mustard (yellow and Dijon, because I'm fancy)
  • Oats
  • Olive oil (virgin and extra virgin, even though I can never remember the difference)
  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Pepper
  • Pizza sauce
  • Rice
  • Rice vinegar - NO IDEA WHAT THIS IS FOR
  • Salt (I have various kinds—sea, kosher, table with iodine. I have no idea what the difference is.)
  • Soy sauce
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable oil - (I have basic Canola, but you can get fancy with your oils; I've been reading more and more recipes calling for sesame oil)
  • Walnuts - I use these in my oatmeal every morning
  • Worcestershire sauce

The concept of a “well-stocked” pantry is that you should have all the staples required of most recipes, eliminating the need to run out to the store every time you want to cook.

There are fridge and freezer basics as well (butter, milk, eggs), but I don't use milk and eggs regularly (at least, not yet), so I usually have to buy those as I go. For the freezer, I will be tackling that, at some point. I keep some frozen meals (being real, here) and some frozen veggies (peppers, spinach) and frozen blueberries, which I use every day in my oatmeal for breakfast.

Here's a great list from The Food Network called "Basic Pantry 101," which breaks things down into fridge, freezer, dry, storage produce, etc.

For the most part, it's worked out well. As in, I'll look at a recipe and I find that I have most of the ingredients. Today, for example, we're expecting a snowstorm here, and because aliens have apparently taken over my body, I thought, "Maybe I'll make oatmeal cookies. I think I have all the ingredients." 

See, I made a chicken dish the other day that required eggs and so I got a half container of eggs, but the recipe only needed two eggs and one egg broke, so now I have three eggs I need to use up. This is where I suck at stuff because I should really use those eggs and I am not an egg person (I don't eat eggs for breakfast). I do like omelets, but that requires milk (I think? I don't know, but I don't keep milk in the house), and cooking omelets is beyond my skill set at the moment.

But cookies? I could make those and use up two of the eggs.

I also have a spice rack that I picked up at Walmart (DON'T JUDGE) with basic spices. 

And then I have a drawer with other herbs/spices: garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, etc. And I have to keep things like garlic and onions on another rack across the room.
My spice rack has items that I have no idea what to do with, like crushed mint. I will be googling "recipes with dried mint" to see what comes up. I love minty things, so this might be a fun thing to explore. Sweet Jesus, did I really just say that? #definitelyaliens

I also have minced garlic, pesto, and maple syrup. Not all of the stuff is on my little pantry. For example, I’ve used the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce recently and now those items are the fridge.


If you're starting to cook, definitely consider stocking up the pantry. You will likely feel quite accomplished and chef-like without even having to turn on the stove or oven.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments welcome. But let's all play (somewhat) nice in the virtual sandbox, shall we?