The Cook’s Pantry

by Josée
I’m not a professional chef by any stretch of the imagination, but I do spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I enjoy cooking a lot and sometimes give people quizzical looks when they tell me they “hate to cook!”. I try to understand but I don’t. Cooking appeals to the artist and scientist in me. I’m not a famous artist or chemist but I do have vivid memories of that vinegar-baking soda volcano I made for the science fair in elementary school (it was so cool!).

I started cooking in earnest at University for my fiance (now Hubby) and his roommates. At that time we had a good rotation of fajitas, stir fry, beef stew, soup and spaghetti. Occasionally we’d throw in some crepes for good measure. I started to accumulate different ingredients, spices and herbs to fill my pantry. Having them on hand gave me the chance to try new recipes and get creative. I’ve come to realize that having a pantry of basic ingredients is a good first step to spark that inner cook. Basic ingredients in the pantry are to a cook what canvas and primary colour paints are to an artist: endless possibilities!

Here is our latest kitchen improvement. I needed the extra cupboard space for my growing collection of rice, noodles and other pantry items.
My FIL and I designed it together and he built it. Hubby helped with the set and added the hooks. 
Here is a list (I love lists!) of basic pantry items for cooking:
  • salt and pepper
  • flour 
  • cornstarch
  • sugar (brown and white)
  • honey
  • maple syrup (this is must in a French Canadian pantry!)
  • dijon mustard
  • spices (curry, cumin, ground ginger, chili powder, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg)
  • herbs (basil, oregano, dill, rosemary, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, tarragon, sage)
  • bouillon cubes (chicken, beef and vegetable) 
  • oils (olive, Canola, coconut, sesame)
  • butter and lard
  • vinegars (white, apple cider, wine, rice)
  • wine (another must for the French Canadian)
  • canned tomato paste
  • canned whole tomatoes
  • canned flaked tuna
  • canned coconut milk
  • dried beans (kidney, black, white, pinto) 
  • dried lentils (red and green)
  • dried noodles (an assortment)
  • grains (barley, a variety of rice)
(please feel free to add on in the comment section below)

1 comment

cindyswobblog January 20, 2011 - 11:08 pm

This was a great post – I always love reading lists like these because so often I feel like I don't have the basics, but don't know what to add to complete my pantry. According to your list I'm doing pretty well 🙂

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