Pantry Stocking: YOUR opinions
You see everyone's ideal pantry stocking of dry goods and flavorings, etc in their cookbooks...but what about us real chefs/home-cooks/wannabes?
What do you always keep on hand that you know you can always turn to to deliver a great meal? Do you keep things that have been considered by your grandmom's mom to be in-substituteable (if that's a word...haha), or do you have other staples in your pantry?
Care to share?
Here's some of my basics:
Sweet Baking Chips (chocolate, PB, etc)
Pepper (Powdered and Whole)
An assortment of pastas.
Vanilla (Pure and Extract)
Hot Sauces (all types)
Canned tomatoes for sauces
Beans and veggies (frozen)
Okay...so, is this pretty good, or what would you do differently?
I'd LOVE to compare with you guys/gals.
I love this topic!
Actually, I think my overlap with my grandma is pretty slim. It all depends what you cook!
I don't usually have baking chips on hand because I'd eat them if they were there, and I keep a package of instant dry yeast in my freezer (it costs about the same as two 3-packs of yeast, and yields way more, and can obviously be used in variable quantities more easily). I have honey (4 kinds at last count) and maple syrup (grade A and B) as well as brown and white sugar. I really must have maple syrup around.
Additionally, I virtually always have oil (plus butter in the frig/freezer), several types of flour (inc whole wheat and chickpea), oatmeal, cocoa powder, four kinds of rice at the moment (yeah, I know), various other starches (bulgur and couscous, I think), dried fruits (raisins, prunes, dates and apricots), nuts (almonds, walnuts, and others as required) and canned coconut milk.
I've got some other extracts hanging around (almond, lemon, etc, and anise oil which my grandma insisted I buy to make some cookies but rarely sees the light of day, plus rose water and the more rarely used orange flower water). I have a wide range of spices [black pepper, powdered ginger, chili powder, green cardamom (pods + powdered), whole nutmeg, cloves (whole + powdered), cumin (seeds + powder), coriander (seeds + powdered), anise seeds, fennel seeds, dried mint, plus spice mixes, both purchased and mixed and ground by me, and some other spices I use on occasion but not often] and usually have tamarind in block form.
I also keep several types of dried beans and lentils on hand as well as cans of beans for quick cooking.
I also keep condiments like soy sauce, vinegars, ketchup, jams, peanut butter, and salsa around in my frig, and cans of tomato paste in addition to canned tomatoes. I try to have tahini around because my son used to be hummus crazed and the jar of tahini takes me a long time to go through.
I also have expanded my "pantry" to include my freezer, where I also try to pre-cook ground onions for faster cooking during cooking emergencies, and frozen chopped herbs. I like having frozen berries, but I'm not sure if this is really a "pantry" item?
Spices (paprika, cayenne, chili powder, etc etc etc)
Canned beets, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, olives
A quick rummage through my pantry shows:
Dry: all-purpose flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, Splenda, white sugar, brown sugar, gelatin, rice (wild, basmati, jasmine), bulgur wheat, couscous, pasta (linguine, macaroni), nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, slivered almonds), dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, apricots), bouillon (beef, chicken, vegetable), sugar free pudding (pistachio, butterscotch, white chocolate)
Wet: Coconut milk, corn syrup, vanilla extract, orange extract, oil (corn, canola, sesame, olive, peanut, chili, wok), vinegar (cider, white, red wine, chardonnay, chili)
Seasonings: Cinnamon (ground and whole), allspice, nutmeg, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, ground ginger, thyme, oregano, yellow mustard, black mustard, bay leaves, cayenne, red chilies, paprika, black pepper (coarse ground, fine ground, whole), salt (table, seasoned and sea), garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, achiote
Canned: tomato paste, stewed tomatoes, tuna, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, creamed corn, SPAM, corned beef, anchovies, curry paste (red, penang, green), beef stew, lentil soup
If I went through my fridge and freezer, there'd be even more basic goods, though I'm still a ways off from my ideal larder as a few of the dry goods and most of the canned goods are my roommate's.