A few years ago, while still in college, my daughter traveled to Spain to study for a semester at one of the universities of Andalusia. One day, after she found an apartment and moved in, she called to ask me if I could make her a list of items she should have in her pantry all the time, for emergencies. She wanted to know what a pantry should look like in case you come home late and are in need to cook something simple and fast.
I found her question to be extremely mature for a college student at that time and I was very proud of her. She was not cooking much while at home, but as soon as she moved out and started to live on her own, she proved to be an amazing cook with a huge interest in new or old recipes. I know, like her mother, right?
While the list I gave her at that time was very short, I thought it might be useful to share with you what you can find in my pantry on a regular basis. I do understand that many of you might not need every item on the list. After all, this list reflects my personal taste and needs, but could also be a starting point for you. The trick is to understand what kind of foods you tend to cook more often and buy the ingredients you need to cook that kind of meal. As someone who has Eastern European roots, I always have thyme, paprika, and garlic in my pantry, but if you like Chinese food, then you will need soy sauce, ginger, rice, sesame oil. For Indian food, you will need for example to buy cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, mustard seeds, garlic and ginger among other ingredients.
The conclusion is that you can take this list and make it your own or you can adjust it according to your needs. Having things handy, you will be able to put together a delicious meal in no time. It is cheaper to eat at home, more delicious and also healthier. Enjoy!
PANTRY STAPLES CHECKLIST- MY WAY
Herbs and Spices
baking powder– make sure it’s aluminum free
unsweetened cocoa powder-( this is my favorite brand for cocoa but I also buy organic one when I find it)
different flavors(orange, lemon, almond, rum etc)
OILS & VINEGARS
GRAINS & PASTA
seeds ( poppy, sesame, sunflower)
FRUITS & VEGETABLES
onions white, red
meats – pork, beef, chicken
frozen vegetables (green beans, spinach, peas, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower)
bread that you can buy or make your own
cheese (parmesan wedge, cheddar, feta etc)
What do you have in your pantry? What are the items you cannot live without?