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Only 15 ingredients week-in, week-out

Okay, here's the question: Imagine that as a cook (and eater) you are limited to 15 ingredients, week-in and week-out, year after year, and for the rest of your life. What 15 ingredient would you choose? (By the way, forgive me if this has been the topic of a previous discussion board, but I couldn't find it.) By the way, this is not 15 ingredients plus fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish! This is 15 ingredients TOTAL - so obviously a limited diet is implied. Water is free...

For me: brown rice, eggs, flour, sugar, pepper, salt, navy beans, garlic, almonds, milk, parmesan, chicken, kale, broccoli, red onion (I guess...)

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  1. We're vegan and I'm gluten-free and currently low vitamin K (so no greens, broccoli, asparagus, etc :-( so not interested in further restriction, even as a mental exercise. I did, however, about a year of very (self-)limited diet years ago. I ate millet or brown rice, green peas and an avocado or two nearly every night for supper. Breakfast was usually a smoothie of banana and one other fruit (blackberries or strawberries usually) and lunch was usually a red bell pepper and some nuts (often pistachios), or dried papaya or dried pineapple. I think this was also the phase when I was eating lots of dates and probably using kelp. That's 13 but I've probably forgotten a couple. I still like all these ingredients but currently have a lot more variety even as a GF vegan who is temporarily (I hope!) green-free. We probably use 15 or more ingredients in homemade GF vegan pizza...

    Of your 15 we couldn't go long without the brown rice, garlic, (kale, broccoli except under medical necessity, and that's not easy), onion, and almond (mylk). We use lots more black beans and garbanzos then navy beans and already do or easily could do without the others.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lgss

      Yes, I suppose my question was a little like an unnecessary writing prompt. But, I thought it would be interesting...

      1. re: lgss

        i'm with lgss. while my dietary restrictions aren't as severe as hers, i've already had to give up enough to abhor the idea of having to consider further limitations! as others have stated, i easily use at least 15 ingredients for most dinners. heck, my breakfast typically has at least 6 or 7!

      2. Ooh, fun experiment:

        1. Coffee
        2. Whole chicken
        3. Rice
        4. Black Beans
        5. Eggs
        6. Garlic
        7. Onion
        8. Chili powder
        9. Salt
        10. Pepper
        12. Lime
        13. Milk
        14. Zucchini
        15. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

        1. 1. rice 2. onions 3. eggs 4. chili peppers 5. garlic 6. apples 7. sugar 8. soy sauce 9. ginger 10. parmesan 11. tomatoes 12. olive oil 13. mango 14. balsamic vinegar 15. arugula

          The overlaps are going to be interesting. I'm predicting lots of eggs, rice, onions and garlic.

          1. how specific are we getting?

            1. beef
            2. chicken
            3. beans
            4. oil
            5. rice
            6. corn
            7. carrot
            8. onion
            9. garlic
            10. peppers
            11. tomato
            12. salt
            13. sugar
            14. milk
            15. lemons

            requesting an additional 6, 21 seems like a good number
            16. fish
            17. spinach
            18. cheese
            19. flour
            20. eggs
            21. yeast

            1. Red chile, pork, garlic, corn, pinto beans, beer, flour, lamb, lettuce, tomato, onion, potato, rice, fish, beef.
              Holy Guacamole, I still need avocado!

              1. 1. Plain yogurt
                2. Garlic
                3. Salt
                4. chickpeas
                5. tomatoes
                6. spinach
                7. olive oil
                8. lemon
                9. fresh mozzarella
                10. basil
                11. vinegar
                12. tofu
                13. garam masala
                14. onion
                15. rice

                I think, if forced, I could live on chana masala and spinach salad for a long, long time.

                2 Replies
                1. re: anakalia

                  okay anakalia...I'm not the ingredients police or anything, but... I must say that garam masala is not a single ingredient!

                  1. re: lifespan

                    when your making curry and the recipe calls for garam masala the say garam masala not list each spice

                    1. sirloin
                    2. chicken breast
                    3. onion.
                    4. olive oil
                    5. spepper (its a now product you can look it up)
                    6. garlic
                    7. potatoes
                    8. flour
                    9. yeast
                    10. tomatoes
                    11.whole milk
                    12. pomagranates
                    13. lemon
                    14. romaine lettuce
                    15. coffee

                    as you can tell with this i can make breads beer salads lasanga pizza and alot of other stuff including a peppered bacon made out of beef

                2. What a depressing thought! I normally use about 15 ingredients per meal! But, since it's all hypothetical and in the name of carrying out an experiment, here's my go:

                  1. Natural Yogurt
                  2. Ricotta
                  3. Flour
                  4. Eggs
                  5. Brown rice
                  6. Tomatoes
                  7. Onions
                  8. Garlic
                  9. Basil
                  10. Coffee
                  11. Olive oil
                  12. Mangoes
                  13. Chickpeas
                  14. Spices (does it have to be one???)
                  15. Fish

                  1. 1. onions
                    2. carrots
                    3. garlic
                    4. spice
                    5. rice
                    6. EVOO
                    7. tinned Italian tomatoes
                    8. chickpeas
                    9. herbs
                    10. kale
                    11. cabbage
                    12. squash
                    13. chicken
                    14. pork
                    15. fish

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Gio

                      GIO! #4 is cheating!!! ;-D. oooh, so is #9!!!!
                      sneaky gio!

                      1. re: alkapal

                        I put it to you: If I only use ONE each night, although not the Same one..... is that cheating?

                        1. re: Gio

                          ask lifespan. i can't even begin to want to think of only 15 ingredients for the rest of my life.

                          1. re: Gio

                            well Al., I think the ingredients police would nab Gio for trying to slip those in the list...

                      2. 1. coffee
                        2. lemons
                        3. plain yogurt
                        4. almonds
                        5. basil
                        6. basmati rice
                        7. prawns
                        8. garlic
                        9. olive oil
                        10. chillies
                        11. salt
                        12. black pepper
                        13. spinach
                        14. tomatoes
                        15. onions

                        1. - adobo (spice mix... this isn't cheating, is it? Parmesan also contains component ingredients)
                          - tomatoes
                          - cherries
                          - blueberries
                          - basil
                          - garlic (with scapes)
                          - asparagus
                          - eggs
                          - whole milk (from which I, Swiss Family Robinson-like, would make my own butter, yogurt, cheese -- esp. raw milk tarentaise and cow's milk mozzarella)
                          - yellowfin tuna
                          - trout
                          - rice
                          - masa harina
                          - rice wine vinegar, pre-seasoned for sushi
                          - coffee or nori -- it's a tossup... or both if yellowfin and trout get to count as "fish"

                          1. 1. garlic
                            2. evoo
                            3. crushed red pepper
                            4. salt
                            5. pepper
                            6. pork
                            7. ground turkey
                            8. string beans
                            9. pasta (angel hair if we're being specific)
                            10. shallots
                            11. ginger
                            12. soy sauce
                            13. eggs
                            14. fish or shrimp
                            15. balsamic vinegar

                            Wow that was hard...I'm giving myself five more :)
                            16. mixed salad greens
                            17. lemon
                            18. tomatoes
                            19. apples
                            20. spinach

                            1. ok this is gonna be tough.... I'm one of those 20 different ingredients in a meal people.....

                              1. tomatoes
                              2. zucchini
                              3. baby spinach
                              4. vidalia onions
                              5. garbonzo beans
                              6. garlic
                              7. chilis
                              8. neon chard
                              9. salt
                              10. pepper
                              11. eggs
                              12. greek yogurt
                              13. lemons
                              15. fish

                              and yes i know 15 is cheating a bit.... but would a fishing pole and a worm have been a better answer??

                              damn this was hard

                              1. 1. All-purpose hard wheat flour (assuming I have to be specific about one type): for making bread and pastes (pasta and noodles) and other things
                                2. Active Dry or Instant Yeast (I am not relying entirely on wild yeasts in a continental climate)
                                3. Sea salt [to me, this is not an ingredient as such because like water it is not derived from a carbon life-form, so I will give myself the choice of 15 other ingredients]
                                4. Whole unhomogenized goat’s or cow’s milk (from which other dairy products would be derived), slow-pasteurized or raw
                                5. Chicken eggs
                                6. Yukon-Gold type potatoes (again, assuming I have to be specific about a type)
                                7. Grey French shallots (ditto)
                                8. German or Alsatian Riesling wine (the most versatile wine in my book)
                                9. Extra virgin olive oil
                                10. Savoy cabbage
                                11. Black pepper
                                12. A Phaseolus vulgaris species TBD that is good both fresh and dried
                                13. SunCrisp Apples (a newish hybrid, better than HoneyCrisps, keeps so well I had a good one in the fridge in early June that was picked in October) (also for making cider and vinegar)
                                14. Minneola tangelos
                                15. Superfine cane sugar
                                16. San Marzano tomatoes

                                This omits important things like greens (other than the outer leaves of cabbage), herbs and non-pepper spices, flesh (no bacon!) and baking soda (which is very very useful) before even getting into nice things.

                                Btw, in terms of vegetable kingdom crops, these are the 40 most important crops by weight in terms of megatons of production (at least as of a few years ago, including the primary form of use of the crop):

                                1215 sugar cane sweetener
                                586 corn cereal/sweetener
                                580 wheat cereal
                                564 rice cereal
                                297 potatoes tuber
                                264 sugar beet sweetener
                                165 cassava tuber
                                152 barley cereal/beer
                                139 sweet potato tuber
                                135 soybean legume/oil
                                90 citrus fruits fruit
                                88 tomato fruit
                                85 banana/plantain fruit
                                58 grape fruit/wine
                                57 cottonseed oil
                                54 sorghum cereal
                                54 apple fruit
                                49 cabbage vegetable
                                48 coconut nut/oil
                                38 onion vegetable
                                34 rapeseed oil
                                32 yam tuber
                                30 peanut legume/nut/oil
                                30 oats cereal
                                28 millet cereal
                                26 cucumbers fruit
                                25 sunflower seed oil
                                23 rye cereal
                                23 beans & peas legume
                                19 mango fruit
                                18 carrots vegetable
                                17 melons fruit
                                17 palm kernel oil
                                16 eggplant fruit
                                16 chillies fruit
                                14 pumpkins fruit
                                13 olive oil
                                13 pears fruit
                                13 cauliflower vegetable
                                11 garlic vegetable

                                1. 1. Coffee
                                  2. Milk
                                  3. Oatmeal
                                  4. Cinnamon
                                  5. Apples
                                  6. Oranges
                                  7. Chicken
                                  8. Onion
                                  9. Carrots
                                  10. Tomatoes
                                  12. Beans
                                  13. spinach
                                  14. Wine
                                  15. Cheese


                                  1. Coffee
                                  2. Ginger Haagen Daz Five
                                  3. Ginger Haagen Daz Five
                                  4. Ginger Haagen Daz Five
                                  5. Ginger Haagen Daz Five
                                  6. Ginger Haagen Daz Five
                                  7. Asparagus
                                  8. Steak
                                  9. Corn on the cob
                                  10. Lobster
                                  12. Chocolate
                                  14. Champagne
                                  15. Cheese

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: rworange

                                    Wow! I was beginning to wonder when someone would mention chocolate...

                                    1. re: lgss

                                      Heh, I was wondering, too. I think the SO would die of withdrawal within a month of not having it.

                                      1. re: cimui

                                        I was wondering when someone would mention wine - not only to drink but as an ingredient.

                                        I eat chocolate maybe twice a year.

                                  2. I'm not counting salt & pepper. Gotta draw the line somewhere.
                                    1 - eggs
                                    2 - goat cheese
                                    3 - cornmeal
                                    4 - bread
                                    5 - tomatoes
                                    6 - butter
                                    7 - spinach (figuring it works as salad or a veggie)
                                    8 - I'm tempted to cheat and say aliums, but I think I'll go with shallots.
                                    9 - chicken
                                    10 - pasta (not sure what shape, though)
                                    11 - flour
                                    12 - sugar
                                    13 - peanut butter
                                    14 - apples
                                    15 - baking soda (because then you can have cookies)

                                    I can see some nice potential in this list - from souffles to chicken noodle soup.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: cyberroo

                                      You MUST include salt & pepper on the list, if you choose to include them in your diet...

                                      1. re: lifespan

                                        If water is free, they could make their own salt out of salt water.

                                        1. re: DishDelish

                                          good point; but I think the experiment takes place inland... ;)

                                      2. re: cyberroo

                                        Why would you have pasta on this list when you already have eggs and flour? Lifespan said nothing about the MACHINES you can have, so you can (if you put salt back on your list) make any shape you like, and with the spinach and tomatoes, you can even make flavoured, coloured pastas.

                                        Similarly, if you change the baking soda to yeast, then you can drop bread from your list, as you can make it yourself. This allows you to add pork loins, which you can prepare all kinds of ways, depending on how you cut it, from a cured and smoked "bacon" to pork tenderloins stuffed with apples to pork chops. I mean, I LOVE chicken but only eating that for protein every day?

                                        And, as someone else pointed out, if you change out the goat cheese to raw milk, you can make cheese, butter, and have milk to drink. Finally, if you change out the peanut butter to plain peanuts, you can make your PB and have roasted or boiled peanuts for a snack. So that makes my list:

                                        1 Eggs
                                        2 Raw Milk
                                        3 Flour
                                        4 Tomatoes
                                        5 Spinach
                                        6 Onions (I actually like Bermudas best)
                                        7 Chicken
                                        8 Pork Loins
                                        9 Brown sugar
                                        10 Peanuts
                                        11 Apples
                                        12 Yeast
                                        13 Salt
                                        14 Pepper
                                        15 Balsamic vinegar

                                        Just for fun, I started thinking what a couple days worth of menus would like (assume you have a choice of milk, apple juice, apple cider, tomato juice and water at all meals) :

                                        Breakfast, day 1:
                                        Some of my quasi-bacon with eggs
                                        Toast from my freshly made bread with my homemade butter
                                        Tomato slices

                                        Croque Monsieur - fried sandwich of pork and homemade cheese dipped in egg
                                        Homemade ketchup (tomato, salt, vinegar, diced onion - blander than I'm used to, but still..)
                                        Salad of chopped spinach, cheese, onion, and tomato

                                        Roast chicken stuffed with apples, and served with an apple glaze
                                        Creamed spinach
                                        Onions roasted with balsamic vinegar
                                        Bread and butter

                                        Day 2
                                        Dutch apple pancake (you can make these without baking powder - they don't puff up as much)
                                        Caramel sauce from heavy cream, sugar, butter
                                        Roasted tomatoes
                                        Pork rillettes if you're hungry

                                        Peanut butter with apple butter sandwich
                                        Caprese style salad of tomato, cheese, and spinach leaves with balsamic vinegar

                                        Country style ribs from the pork loin, marinated in juice, and glazed with brown sugar
                                        Onion rings fried in peanut oil pressed from our peanuts
                                        Peanut butter ice cream with caramel sauce

                                        That's only two days, of course, and I think I would end up not eating very much after a month or so. If Lifespan would relent, and allow us five extra spices in addition to salt and pepper, the possibilities become very much interesting. I'd add ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, basil, and oregano. Ginger glazed chicken, a nice tomato sauce with pasta, cinnamon apple sauce to go with pork chops - it's amazing how having a few teaspoons of these little powders give you so much more variety.

                                        1. re: FrankDrakman

                                          I'll concede the peanuts vs. peanut butter, but I'd much rather have baking soda for cookies & cake and buy my bread (at least in the summer - it's too hot to bake bread in my house in the summer). And yes, if I have to count salt, then I'd give up the prepared pasta (but I do generally prefer dried pasta than fresh, personally).

                                          1. re: FrankDrakman

                                            Why would you need yeast? Sourdough is very easy to start, at least it has been for me with organic wheat berries? I did this for over a year until I finally found one type of Red Star yeast that doesn't have corn fillers added to it. Also consider if you have wheat berries, they can be sprouted to increase their sweetness & protein, or even grown into wheatgrass. I have a recipe in one of my cookbooks for making rice syrup out of rice, water & wheat sprouts.

                                            I'd also recommend almonds instead of peanuts- much more versatile, including making almond flour for baking. Your apples could give you Apple Cider Vinegar. I'd say the whole pig/pork, not just the loin- you need a source of fat to cook with & what it better then lard? And if we can change 'chicken', to live chickens, they you have your eggs & chicken in one.

                                            I haven't sat down & listed out my 15 ingredients, but I think I'd do pretty well. Being allergic to corn and all its derivatives & living in the US, I pretty much have to make everything I eat from scratch- from the most whole, raw forms possible. Something has more then 3-4 ingredients, it goes back on the shelf.

                                            1. re: anniemax

                                              Sourdough is OK for many types of bread, BUT is more variable with highly variable climates (like we have in New England) and the measurability and reliability of cultivated yeast has utility over a wider array of uses. That's why it's on my list. I use sourdoughs, but there's a very good reason they went into decline with the advent of cultivated yeasts; anyone who's had to depend on sourdoughs with no alternative eventually understands why.

                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                I understand the highly variable climates, living in Michigan- and always on the western side of the lower peninsula, anywhere from 15 miles inland from Lake Michigan to 60 miles. Sourdough can be easier to work with then most people think, if that is truly all they have to rely. Sure its easier to grab a package of commercial yeast, if you can, but if that is not an option, you learn really fast to work with your sourdough culture and how to cultivate it. Even now that I found I can use Red Star, in the 3 strip pack that is labeled 'cereal free', I still use my sourdough most of the time. Some of it comes down to cost- buying yeast in those 3 strip packs is not the most cost effective way, but its the only safe version I can get. The other is taste preference- sourdough just taste better.

                                                1. re: anniemax

                                                  The taste of your sourdough will vary. It's not always pleasant in all uses. I like it in sourdough pancakes, but not in yeast-raised waffles.

                                                  Btw, if you buy SAF yeast in the large package and keep it in the freezer, you can use it indefinitely. Very cost effective, probably more cost effective over time than having a starter and sponge fail, as they invariably do from time to time.

                                                  1. re: Karl S

                                                    Buying yeast in a larger size is not an option for me, with my severe corn allergy. The problem is that as soon as Red Star puts their regular yeast in any larger package, they add sorbitan monostearate, ascorbic acid & other ingredients to help keep the yeast dry & flowing- all corn derived ingredients. Other yeast companies do the same, but even worse, their yeast can be grown on corn sugar, or corn maltodextrin can be used in the yeast drying process. Check the label on yeast the next time you're at the grocery store.

                                                    For a long time, there wasn't a readily available, safe yeast for those of us with severe corn allergies in the US. When you don't have an option of making regular yeast bread, let alone buying a safe bread, you get very good at developing your sourdough skills. Or you go hungry. Or make a lot of soda bread. I only recently let my starter go, with the plan to start up a new one as soon as I get fresh wheat berries from a local organic farm. In the mean time, I'm doing a lot of minimal yeast+sourdough-light type techniques, primarily because I now prefer sourdough flavor over a too yeasty bread.

                                        2. I FORGOT OLIVE OIL -- it was on my original list -- don't know how I omitted it... I'll have to remove WHAT? I suppose I trade onion, so I can have olive oil...

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: lifespan

                                            No, you need only not include salt: it's a rock, not a food.

                                          2. (1) pork
                                            (2) beef
                                            (3) fish
                                            (4) salt
                                            (5) black pepper
                                            (6) bay leaf
                                            (7) sugar
                                            (8) onion
                                            (9) garlic
                                            (10) Vegetable oil
                                            (11) Limes
                                            (12) Habeneros
                                            (13) Water
                                            (14) Curry? or turmeric
                                            (15) Cinnamon
                                            That is perfect needs not be tweaked unless you are a vegan then you get better stuff

                                            1. 1. Olive oil
                                              2. Apples
                                              3. Beef
                                              4. Broccoli
                                              5. Onion
                                              6. Ginger
                                              7. Lime
                                              8. Bacon
                                              9. Almonds
                                              10. Milk
                                              11. Plain Greek yogurt
                                              12. Chicken (whole, so I can make stock, too)
                                              13. Brown rice
                                              14. Potato
                                              15. Soy sauce

                                              This was really hard. I was willing to give up butter for apples. That was surprising. Since this was about eating, I didn't put in my alcohol choices. I could limit that to two: gin and wine. If I had to sacrifice something on the 15 list for them, I'd probably give up milk and potato.

                                              On the salt topic, I need it. I have freakishly low blood pressure. Medication could solve that problem but my doctor doesn't like the idea. I'm (happily) under strict doctor's orders to have as much salt as I like and then some. Several people in my family have the same requirement.

                                              1. 1. Rice.
                                                2 - 15. Ingredients for Kimchee.

                                                That's it. My dad always said we could survive on just Rice and Kimchee. I'd like to test that theory.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: soypower

                                                  well, soypower, YOU'LL definitely be having enough fiber! ;-)). <yikes, LOOK OUT!>

                                                  1. re: soypower

                                                    I love it! Kim chi power!! Potaoes to make So Ju too? No fish?

                                                    1. re: soypower

                                                      So Korean! I love it!

                                                      I actually believe Koreans could survive on just rice and kimchi. They are a tenacious (if somewhat odiferous) bunch.

                                                      1. re: moh

                                                        moh, YOU ARE WRONG! Koreans could survive on rice, kim chi, but w/out so ju their "spirits" would die.
                                                        Send me an email if you want to see chow photos of our recent 3 week visit to the Seoul area. TWO of our sons now teach there and I got to see my new grandson.

                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                          but Passa, I am not wrong! With rice, I can make my own so ju! It might not be so good, but it would do!

                                                          1. re: moh

                                                            I thought so ju was potato or sweet potato based, no?

                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                              I believe you are correct for the most part, as commercial soju is usually made with potato, sweet potato or other grains. But it was traditionally made with rice, well at least according to Wiki.

                                                              1. re: moh

                                                                I know the only so ju Scargod could find in New Haven (There' none in Maine.) was rice based, but made in Japan. And I passed.
                                                                Now mokkili, the farmers rice based drink w/ yogurt bacteria, soo cheap and sooo good. I need to add rice to my list.

                                                            2. re: moh

                                                              have to go traditional and make makoli or dongdong ju, which is rice based.

                                                      2. I can't do 15 without excluding salt and pepper!

                                                        1. Butter
                                                        2. Wine
                                                        3. Garlic
                                                        4. Onions
                                                        5. Lettuce
                                                        6. Tomatoes
                                                        7. Melon (can't choose one!)
                                                        8. Bacon
                                                        9. Flour
                                                        10. Yeast
                                                        11. Oranges
                                                        12. Beef
                                                        13. Chicken
                                                        14. Buttermilk
                                                        15. Cornmeal

                                                        Oh no! I left out grits and turnip greens. And pork. Pasta!! --help

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                                          cross off butter and buttermilk, and just say "milk"; that'll get you cream, butter and buttermilk (and cheese).
                                                          and nix bacon and just say pork
                                                          say corn instead of cornmeal, and that will include grits.
                                                          pasta? you've got flour!

                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            Whew - thanks! Consider those changes made!

                                                        2. I'm too lazy to go back and count but there seem to be a lot of vegetarians participating here. Do you think the demographic here represents the overall CH demo? It seems to me that there are loads of carnivores on CH. Do they not consider this thread interesting?

                                                          1. pork
                                                          2. garlic
                                                          3. arugula (I can live without other greens!)
                                                          4. cheese
                                                          5. olive oil
                                                          6. vinegar
                                                          7. cheese
                                                          8. eggs
                                                          9. flour
                                                          10. yeast
                                                          11. butter
                                                          12. pepper (is salt a rock not a food?)
                                                          13. tomatoes
                                                          14. wine
                                                          15. coffee

                                                          I really need a few more but will obey the rules :)

                                                          12 Replies
                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            Hey! You get one more, you put cheese twice, #4 and #7 :)

                                                            1. re: enbell

                                                              Haha. Shows how important I consider cheese!

                                                              Rather than edit, I'll say milk. Thanks for the help, enbell.

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                I am coming to your house your list is better than mine I thought I had it nailed but??

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  you also have #6 vinegar, but then you have #14 wine. if you have wine, then you have vinegar (in a couple days)-- so you get another freebie.

                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                    I wish. But no. I am now addicted to sherry vinegar and there's no turning back once I tasted some of the better stuff.

                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                I see only 3 with vegetarian lists (whipppet, anakalia, enbell) and one vegan (me) out of about 24, which is indeed a higher percentage than the general population. Soypower didn't say whether the kimchee includes fish (most/many do) so wasn't included in the veg count. Some here may be flexatarians. Several pescatarian lists. I wonder what percentage of chowhounds are vegetarian/vegan...

                                                                1. re: lgss

                                                                  It seemed higher than that, perhaps because, at least in my case, I picked ONE meat so I could have plenty of other things. I picked pork because it's so versatile.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    c.o., actually, didn't you pick pork because you're a southerner?

                                                                    1. re: lifespan

                                                                      Certainly my love of pork started in the South but, no, I really did pick it for versatility. Bacon, sausage, roasts, chops, pancetta, salumi. Now I need some pork for breakfast :)

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        The versatility of pork is without question....

                                                                        It's difficult for me, more-or-less a native North Carolinian, to separate the culinary necessity of pork from my personal love affair with pork. Growing up, we consumed pork, in one form or another, five or six times each week. (Ours would not have been an unusual eating pattern in our neck of the woods.) By comparison, beef - even steak - seemed second-best.

                                                                        Having said that, still, I am not convinced of the indespensability of pork...

                                                                  2. re: lgss

                                                                    Completely blind guess but maybe 15 % vegetarian, and of that 5 % total vegan. But honestly, just a guess.

                                                                    1. re: lgss

                                                                      Oh yes! My kimchee must include oysters and fermented baby shrimp!

                                                                  3. 1. salt
                                                                    2. pepper
                                                                    3. olive oil
                                                                    4. vinegar
                                                                    5. yeast
                                                                    6. flour
                                                                    7. garlic
                                                                    8. lettuce
                                                                    9. broccoli
                                                                    10. cauliflower
                                                                    11. grapes
                                                                    12. tomatoes
                                                                    13. soybeans
                                                                    14. garbanzo beans
                                                                    15. milk or eggs I cannot decide

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: enbell

                                                                      Eggs of course as I have soy milk capability - only took me a day to realize.

                                                                    2. O.K I'll play....
                                                                      1. Rice
                                                                      2. olive oil
                                                                      3. Garlic
                                                                      4. Shrimp
                                                                      5. Pork.
                                                                      8. Cheese
                                                                      10. Flour
                                                                      11. oranges
                                                                      12.white cannelli bean
                                                                      13. Tomato
                                                                      14. chicken
                                                                      15. wine

                                                                      Now my Husband wants to know if he can play....pick another 15 items and we'll be all set !!!
                                                                      Here's hoping a Divorce would not ensue...and the battle over ingredients in the split...Now that could get ugly.
                                                                      This was a fun discussion for us over dinner prep last night...(The ingredients.....not a Divorce)

                                                                      1. This was really tough, and no matter how hard I try, I cannot get down to 15. No way.

                                                                        This is as close as I got (with the benefit of other CH's lists to guide me):
                                                                        Pork Loins (Yields chops, ground pork, sausage, bacon)
                                                                        Beef Chuck Roasts (yields braised beef and burger meat)

                                                                        And I don't have room for: Apples, Oranges, Bananas, Vinegar(!), Fresh Corn(!), Beans, Cucumbers, Canned Tomatoes (for Pizza -- HOW would I live without Pizza? Oregano and Basil didn't make the cut, either), Thyme, Rosemary, Paprika, GINGER, Rice, Maple Syrup, Blueberries, Almonds, Cashews, Lamb, Shrimp, Lemons, Cinnamon, CHOCOLATE?
                                                                        I have a feeling I'd be engaged in Seasonal and/or incessant mourning for the Missing...

                                                                        1. This is sooo hard. I think my brain hurts now, but here it is. I don't think I could really do it though...

                                                                          1. Black Beans
                                                                          2. salmon
                                                                          3. Chicken, and everything that comes with it (I need my eggs)
                                                                          4. Coffee
                                                                          5. hot peppers
                                                                          6. Spinach
                                                                          7.Tomatoes (will make my own paste, fresh marinara sauce and salsa)
                                                                          8. Yeast (for bread and beer)
                                                                          9. Wheat (would make my own bread, tortilla shells, and beer)
                                                                          10. Avocados (gonna learn to make my own oil form it)
                                                                          11. Basil
                                                                          12. Garlic
                                                                          13. Apples
                                                                          15. Sugar

                                                                          And if I was to pick 6 more:
                                                                          1. The whole cow (would make use of the milk for making my own yogurt, sour cream, cheese, and butter, and it would be my coffee creamer)
                                                                          2. Huckleberries
                                                                          3.Cocoa beans
                                                                          4. Limes
                                                                          5. sage
                                                                          6.Onions (sweet maui I guess)

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: DishDelish

                                                                            That's an interesting concept - I wonder if livestock fits in with the rules of the game? And, you'd need a rooster with your hen, a bull with your cow, and a boar with your sow. Or, is artificial insemination allowed? If it is, I would change my list:

                                                                            1 - Cow - milk, cheese, butter, etc., plus all cuts of beef - steaks, roasts, etc.
                                                                            2 - Sow - As the Chinese say "Everything but the tail"
                                                                            3 - Hen - As you note, eggs, and all the chicken parts
                                                                            4 - Salt
                                                                            5 - Pepper
                                                                            6 - Apples (to eat alone, juice, cider, cider vinegar, apple sauce, apple butter, and with entrees)
                                                                            7 - Onions
                                                                            8 - Flour
                                                                            9 - Yeast
                                                                            10 - Tomatoes
                                                                            11 - Brown sugar
                                                                            12 - Peanuts (PB, peanut oil, snacks)
                                                                            13 - Spinach
                                                                            14 - A spice - after twenty minutes, couldn't choose between cinnamon, basil, or garlic
                                                                            15 - A fruit - again, after long deliberation, couldn't choose between a citrus (lemon? orange? lime?) or grapes (to eat alone, jam/jelly, and maybe even wine?)

                                                                            What's amazed me about this exercise is how much more variety you can get in your diet from a few ingredients the closer you get to the food source. Of course, this list would require you have a small farm, and an enormous refrigerator and pantry.

                                                                            1. re: FrankDrakman

                                                                              ""how much more variety you can get in your diet from a few ingredients the closer you get to the food source"'
                                                                              frank, i've been thinking the same thing since this thread came up. your idea of going to grapes instead of just listing wine is a stroke of brilliance -- even though we've all been taking *other* products back to their "source."

                                                                              btw, i'm working on my list, and it has peanuts, too! and spinach. and i, too, was deliberating about *which* citrus fruit to choose. with an orange i can get juice, desserts, and a "tart" flavoring for soups, marinades, etc. but nothing really takes the place of lime. i guess i could add vinegar (made from my wine) to the orange....

                                                                              yes, this thread is very thought-provoking. job well done, lifespan!

                                                                              1. re: FrankDrakman

                                                                                OK, FD, now you DO realize that if the cow gives you "steaks, roasts, etc." that it can't then give you "milk, cheese, butter, etc." Right?!?!? :) But maybe I should change my list to include a dairy cow and then I could open up a slot.

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  Reminds me of the old joke:

                                                                                  Traveling salesman passes a farm house. He sees a pig with a wooden leg. He says to the farmer, "What's with the wooden leg?" Farmer says, "Well, that's a very special pig." A few months back our house caught fire, the pig came and woke us up and saved my whole family.

                                                                                  So, the salesman says, "But why the wooden leg?" "Well, hold on," the farmer says. "My little girl was playing in the road and one of those logging trucks lost his breaks and the pig ran up and dragged her to safety." "Well, that's amazing," says the salesman. "But why the wooden leg?"

                                                                                  "Well, says the farmer, you don't eat a pig like that all at once."

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    Yep, that's why I mentioned the "insemination" part; if the cows aren't pregnant, no milk. But if they are, you get a calf which you can use for veal, or let it grow for a couple of years for full-fledged beef. And that repeats every year (and you have to eat a *lot* of beef to eat an entire steer in a year!). Same thing with the pig - you keep the sow, and when it litters, you get to enjoy roast suckling pig, and raise the others for lots of pork choices.

                                                                                  2. re: FrankDrakman

                                                                                    OK, you got me. =) I am going to have to talk my hubby into including the mates to my animals so they can keep breeding. ;) I also had to choose between if I wanted wine or beer and went with beer since I could also make bread with those ingredients. I do so love wine though, so maybe I will move next to your farm and we can trade, I'll trade you something for your wine. ;)

                                                                                2. Why imagine it....just do it.
                                                                                  Maybe not for the rest of your life, but for a week or two. You'll learn a lot about yourself, your list, and your culinary abilities.

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Infomaniac

                                                                                    I think that's a really good idea. I have yeast on my list although I almost never bake. But if I HAD to limit myself to 15, baking would be a necessity. Same with making pasta. In addition to being fun, this HAS been thought provoking, hasn't it?

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      I think it would be very challenging and I might give it a try for a week or two this winter. I don't think I could make the sacrifice right now with all the fresh local produce available. I think after Thanksgiving would be a good time to give it a try. I really need to think about putting together a list though.
                                                                                      I'm not much of a baker either and I would be lost without my bread making machine or local bakery.

                                                                                      1. re: Infomaniac

                                                                                        It's also about time, isn't it? I mean, clearly if you were going to try it for two weeks, the live cow/raw milk, make my own cheese and butter route just isn't going to be practical. If you have a bread making or pasta making machines, that makes those jobs easier, but I have neither.

                                                                                        It's not hard to make fresh peanut butter from peanuts (pain to clean the food processor, though!), but pressing my own peanut oil? Making my own apple cider/juice/butter? Lots of time and equipment that I doubt most of us have, and all of them take time that most of us don't have either.

                                                                                        But I like the idea. Maybe we should start a new thread - "15 days, 15 ingredients - Go!". I know my list for sure would change.

                                                                                    2. re: Infomaniac

                                                                                      Actually, my original list is what I do live on when I'm not eating out, well, my winter list ... with the exception of spinach. I rarely buy that. I'm more likely to have lettuce and squash for veggies. I just figured spinach would give me salad and a veggie

                                                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                                                        Like you, I don't stray very far from my regular routine. 5 days a week, it's cream of wheat or oatmeal for breakfast. Lunch is usually a salad or slice of pizza, and dinner is usually chicken, rice, and veggie of some sort.
                                                                                        It's when my kid comes over or I'm traveling when I eat out most of the time.

                                                                                    3. 0.salt
                                                                                      2.whole hogs
                                                                                      3. wheat
                                                                                      4. carrot
                                                                                      5. cabbage
                                                                                      6. whole (laying) fowl-- i actually think duck would edge out chicken. egg bonus!
                                                                                      7. pepper
                                                                                      8. whole raw milk, or i'd take a dairy cow, if this is permitted.
                                                                                      9. potato
                                                                                      10. apple
                                                                                      11. wild rice
                                                                                      14.chickpea/white bean/pinto/fava/lentil
                                                                                      15. snap peas--so if salt counts as an ingredient i have to give up the snap peas. bugger.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                        soupkitten, you made me laugh!

                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                          me too - out loud "'whole hog'" hahaha

                                                                                        2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                          No, you're clearly an engineer or related to one. They always start numbering at "0".

                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                            Oh that is good! I like your 0. LOL!

                                                                                          2. 1. garlic
                                                                                            2. red onions
                                                                                            3. extra virgin olive oil
                                                                                            4. eggs
                                                                                            6. salt
                                                                                            7. chicken
                                                                                            8. salmon
                                                                                            9. spinach
                                                                                            10. cantaloupe
                                                                                            11. dark chocolate
                                                                                            12. milk
                                                                                            13. tomatoes
                                                                                            14. spaghetti
                                                                                            15. extra sharp cheddar

                                                                                            1. trying
                                                                                              1. coarse kosher salt
                                                                                              2. garlic
                                                                                              3. butter
                                                                                              4. green beans
                                                                                              5. sweet onions
                                                                                              6. cottage cheese
                                                                                              7. chicken
                                                                                              8. dried spaghetti
                                                                                              9. tomato sauce
                                                                                              10. black beans
                                                                                              11. flour tortillas
                                                                                              12. cheese
                                                                                              13. coffee
                                                                                              14. DIET COKE
                                                                                              15. honeycrisp apples

                                                                                              1. 0) salt :D
                                                                                                1) pepper
                                                                                                2) whole cow
                                                                                                3) garlic
                                                                                                4) flour
                                                                                                5) sugar
                                                                                                6) unsweetened chocolate
                                                                                                7) heavy cream
                                                                                                8) ground coffee
                                                                                                9) pasta
                                                                                                10) potatoes
                                                                                                11) eggs
                                                                                                12) pesto
                                                                                                13) baking powder
                                                                                                14) canned tomatoes
                                                                                                15) cheddar cheese

                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Popkin

                                                                                                  I don't think pesto counts as an ingredients since it's made from several different ingredients...

                                                                                                  1. re: lgss

                                                                                                    that's not cheating. it is one ingredient, though made of different components. it's not like one can disassemble it to have four separate ingredients.

                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                      pesto=basil (or spinach or parsley), pine nuts (or walnuts or pepitas), garlic, olive oil, salt. Some of us make our own....

                                                                                                      1. re: lgss

                                                                                                        In the spring I like to make a pesto with dandelion greens.

                                                                                                        1. re: Infomaniac

                                                                                                          Interesting! I'll have to try that if I ever get to eat greens again....

                                                                                                      2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                        Sorry, I'm extra cantankerous since I find out that even avoiding greens we've had to increase my blood thinner med again (been on it two months and still haven't gotten it stable enough to reduce the need for blood draws, which I continue to find traumatic, to every two weeks) and can't figure out why. The longer my levels are unstable the more likely I'll have to be on it for 6 months instead of 3. :-(

                                                                                                        That would make choosing ingredients easier if things like salsa counted as one ingredient...

                                                                                                        1. re: lgss

                                                                                                          Okay, count salsa as one ingredient :) Re blood draws, look away. I've drawn blood from others a gazillion times but when done to me I look away. Good luck to you. What a pain :)

                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                            Salsa's on the list. We're having lots of zucchini, snow peas, bell peppers, carrots, green peas, green beans, and sweet potatoes.

                                                                                                            I always close my eyes (and turn away) but still find it traumatic. Using Emla cream helps some.

                                                                                                          2. re: lgss

                                                                                                            lgss, i'm very sorry to hear of your continuing plight! i can't recall if hounds were able to find some green things that you could eat....
                                                                                                            (i hope you've got a good specialist!)

                                                                                                            as to the "15".... go ahead, girl -- choose salsa! ;-).

                                                                                                    2. Answering spontaneously, I would say...

                                                                                                      1. Lemons, 2. Apples, 3. Bacon, 4. Chicken, 5. Eggs, 6. Milk, 7. Butter, 8. Flour, 9. Potatoes, 10. Onions, 11. Garlic, 12. Brussel Sprouts, 13. Beets, 14. Corn, 15. Cheese

                                                                                                      But on second thought...(without overthinking it)

                                                                                                      1. Fish, 2. Whole Chicken, 3. Potatoes, 4. Cheese, 5. Bacon, 6. Onions, 7. Lemon, 8. Eggs, 9. Corn, 10. Flour, 11. Brussel Sprouts, 12. Milk, 13. Peanuts, 14. Honey, 15. Rice

                                                                                                      1. Lemons, Rice, flour, tomatoes, butter, chicken, okra, lettuce, mushrooms, milk, garlic, salt, eggs, yellow lentils, olive oil.

                                                                                                        I love pasta but I figured with eggs and flour I could make my own.

                                                                                                        Butter and flour is good for pastry, along wtih milk or water.

                                                                                                        Butter, flour and milk is good for cream sauces

                                                                                                        I could use the lemons and milk to make a farmers type cheese. Lemons too for salad and I don't think I could live without them anyway!

                                                                                                        Mushrooms are very versatile as a side dish, or made into a soup with the milk and flour or for stock with the chicken.

                                                                                                        Rice is my staple. Eggs are just good to have on hand for a number of reasons.

                                                                                                        Tomatoes are extremely important to me, for stews which is a staple to go with the rice.

                                                                                                        Could do without the oil really if I made clarified butter from the butter. If so I'd probably replace that with another veggie like spinach. If I could take whole milk and learn how to make butter, yogurt and other stuff out of it and have live chickens and animals then that helps a lot too in giving me more ingredients to choose.

                                                                                                        1. Given my allergies to gluten, dairy, casein, yeast/mold/fermented foods, it's probably easier for me... and this is assuming I'm not worried about getting my FDA recommended levels, and based purely on taste...

                                                                                                          1. Salt
                                                                                                          2. Cauliflower
                                                                                                          3. Tomatoes
                                                                                                          4. Eggplant
                                                                                                          5. Eggs
                                                                                                          6. Broccoli
                                                                                                          7. Lettuce
                                                                                                          8. Bragg's Amino Acids
                                                                                                          9. Lemon Juice
                                                                                                          10. Green Beans
                                                                                                          11. TVP
                                                                                                          12. Onions
                                                                                                          13. Carrots
                                                                                                          14. Apples
                                                                                                          15. Melon

                                                                                                          I use veggie broth on so many things, and I can make it from my other ingredients! Yay!

                                                                                                          1. In college I once lived for several months on

                                                                                                            1, eggs
                                                                                                            2, white bread (5 loaves for a buck at the bakery outlet shop)
                                                                                                            3, popcorn
                                                                                                            4 winter squash (from the farm stand, also 5 for a buck)
                                                                                                            5, butter
                                                                                                            6, milk,
                                                                                                            7, sugar
                                                                                                            8 Italian seasoning
                                                                                                            9, salt
                                                                                                            10, pepper
                                                                                                            11, sugar
                                                                                                            12, beer

                                                                                                            Not a diet I would recommend to anyone, however I think the squash (baked with butter and sugar) kept me from complete nutritional collapse.

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                              Take away the squash, add pizza, Chinese food (OK, not one ingredient, but one food group in 1970's London, Ontario..), and burgers and fries, and you've replicated the university diet for virtually every off-campus male at the University of Western Ontario in the 70's. ....

                                                                                                              1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                                I cashed in my meal card and lived on Pot Pies, 10 for a dollar, so I could taked glider (sailplane) lessons. They are now right up there w/ Spam.

                                                                                                                1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                                  What did you use the Italian seasoning on?

                                                                                                                  1. re: DishDelish

                                                                                                                    popcorn and fried eggs. The only reason I had it is because someone left it in our house the year before.

                                                                                                                    1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                                      I was so lucky to still be living at home and eating a pretty healthy diet in my late teens. I know most of my friends were living off of Ramen noodles. Any time I had friends over they ate enough for 3-4 people. =)

                                                                                                                2. 1. Rice (Lao sticky)
                                                                                                                  2. Fish (salmon or tuna)
                                                                                                                  3. Vegetable oil
                                                                                                                  4. Garlic
                                                                                                                  5. Chiles
                                                                                                                  6. Black beans
                                                                                                                  7. Spinach/kale
                                                                                                                  8. Blackberries
                                                                                                                  9. Bananas
                                                                                                                  10. Whole milk
                                                                                                                  11. Red onions
                                                                                                                  12. Squid
                                                                                                                  13. Soy/fish sauce
                                                                                                                  14. Limes
                                                                                                                  15. Masa harina

                                                                                                                  1. Okay. I can cut it down to four ingredients:

                                                                                                                    1. Animals
                                                                                                                    2. Fish
                                                                                                                    3. Plants
                                                                                                                    4. Minerals

                                                                                                                    I'm good! '-)

                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                        Plants and a few minerals for me.