Do you have a shopping list of what the essentials are when stocking a pantry? I’m exactly the kind of person you wrote for: not a terribly bad cook, but unsure and insecure in the kitchen. I loved The Kitchen Counter School and am inspired to try on my own, but I’m not sure what staples I should have on hand. Please help! – Gean
Hey Gean, I turned to my food friends on Facebook and posed the question to them. What appears below is a complete list offered by more than a dozen good home cooks and professional chefs. What this shows is that there is no definitive list; a pantry reflects your palate. If you’re keen to learn to make various Asian foods, your pantry will be different than if your tastes run to Italian or French. I’ve never Piri Piri on hand but I couldn’t live without good mustard.
It’s always best to start buying anything for your pantry in small quantities, notably oils. Pay attention to what you actually use before you opt for the “economy” size. Find a place that sells herbs and spices in bulk; it will save money and avoid waste. You can order online from World Spice.
Pantry items in regular type were recommended by one or more cooks. Items listed in bold were recommended by two or more cooks. Items listed in bold underline were recommended by even more cooks — and reflect my own personal thoughts on standard essentials.
boxed beef stock
boxed organic/homemade chicken stock
boxed/homemade vegetable stock
So what’s in your pantry that you can’t live without?
On a similar theme:
- A Quick Primer on Herbs & Spices
- How to make chicken stock
- How to make vegetable stock
- How to Outfit a Kitchen on a Budget, or 14 Essential Items for Every Kitchen
Originally published in May 2019; it has been updated.