I participate in a couple of Facebook groups for self-proclaimed home chefs. I really enjoy seeing what other home cooks are putting on the dinner table. To be honest, most of them put me to shame! One of my favorite groups is The Home Chef’s hangout. The members are very positive and encouraging. I asked them to be my research sample for this blog post and they responded with gusto.
My question to them was: What are your three go-to pantry items you cannot live without as a home cook?
As you can imagine, it was not easy for many to keep their list down to three. 50 home cooks participated. These four items were leaders by a wide margin: olive oil, garlic, pasta, and tomato products. I am beginning to confirm my suspicions that by and large, the group prefers Italian cuisine!
It makes sense when you consider how many dishes you incorporate at least one of these components into. I start nearly every savory dish with a splash of olive oil!
Of course, any home cook knows you need more than four items at the ready when cooking. Take a look through your pantry and fridge and make sure you have at least the ones listed below. (Please excuse the mess. These were not staged, but probably should have been!)
various rices, pastas, flour, sugar, grains, oats, crackers, beans, bread crumbs
olive oil, stock, beans, tomato products, tuna, peanut butter, olives, hot sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, artichoke hearts, anchovies, roasted red peppers, various vinegars, coconut milk, evaporated milk, Sriracha, chili paste
salts, black peppercorns, various dried seasonings/spices dry rubs, creole seasoning, crushed red pepper, pure vanilla
carrots, onions, celery, peppers, jalapeños, potatoes, eggs, lemons, limes, fresh herbs, butter, plantains, avocados, cheeses, frozen peas
baking powder, baking soda, yeast, pure vanilla, cocoa powder, brown sugar, powdered sugar, baking chips, honey, raisins
Another day I will highlight a few pantry items I think you should have to really enhance your home cooked meals! Stay tuned. And, feel free to add your three favorite must-have pantry items in the comments below!