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How to Stock Your Pantry

 What are some basic cooking ingredients that are good to have on hand in your kitchen at all times?

 Why not just ask us to name your first-born child? There are an awful lot of variables in your question, and we don’t know you that well.

But whether you’re a vegetarian, Muslim, busy mom, or newlywed, the goal is to have enough of the right ingredients on hand so that you can feed yourself (well) without running out to the store (or the fast-food joint) each time your stomach growls. As Rosemary Brown says, "A well-stocked pantry is one of the best keys I know to being able to prepare good meals in a hurry. Having plenty of ingredients tucked away in your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry will add hours to your week."

With that in mind, we looked through our own cupboards and turned to two books that offer advice on stocking a kitchen — The Kitchen Survival Guide, by Laura Brody, and Rosemary Brown’s Big Kitchen Instruction Book. Brody’s book is for beginners, and includes 130 "hand-holding" recipes. Brown’s book is more comprehensive, in both its general information and the number and caliber of the recipes.

Some of these choices you can certainly live without; others you’ll have on hand at certain times and not at others. And many cooks will notice items missing from this list that they consider essential to life. All in all, we’d rather pick a name for your child. But the cumulative suggestions are as follows:

Baking & Spices

baking soda
baking powder
cornstarch
yeast
flour
salt
pepper
peppercorns
sugar
confectioner’s sugar
brown sugar
light corn syrup
vanilla extract
ground cinnamon
nutmeg
ground cloves
powdered ginger
basil
oregano
chili powder
dry mustard
paprika
thyme
tarragon
dill
bay leaves
poultry seasoning
beef, chicken & vegetable bouillon cubes
cream of tartar
unseasoned bread crumbs
Bisquick or pancake mix
powdered milk
unsweetened cocoa powder
unsweetened baking chocolate
chocolate chips

 

General & Condiments

rice
pasta
dried onion soup mix
tomato paste
tomato sauce
canned tomatoes
peanut butter
jelly
canned tuna
raisins
chocolate syrup
cereals
chicken or beef stock
canned soups
canned beans
olives
canned pears
canned peaches
applesauce
vegetable oil
olive oil
red wine vinegar
white wine vinegar
vegetable shortening
nonstick cooking spray
mayonnaise
ketchup
mustard
salad dressings
soy sauce
hot pepper sauce
Worcestershire sauce
barbecue sauce
salsa
honey
maple syrup
white wine
red wine

 

Refrigerator

milk
eggs
butter
cheese
yogurt
cottage cheese
cream cheese
sour cream
meats/fish
deli meats
bacon
juices
carrots
celery
lemon
mushroom
lettuce
peppers

 

Freezer

orange juice concentrate
corn
green beans
spinach
peas
mixed vegetables
ground beef
chicken breasts
shrimp
dinner rolls or bread
ice cream
pie crust
nuts

 

Fresh

oranges
apples
bananas
tomatoes
potatoes
garlic
onions
bread

 



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