Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Apr 12, 2013 10:48 AM

A 5 THINGS LIST: 5 inexpensive things your mom/family cook Could Not have had on hand when you were growng up that you Always do

1. kimchi

2. frozen edamame

3. pink Himalayan salt

4. fresh cilantro

5. Coke Zero

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 1. Coconut milk
    2. Organic milk (maybe it was around but I'd never heard of it)
    3. Lentils
    4. Spiced chai
    5. Fresh ginger

    4 Replies
    1. re: Hobbert

      That's interesting Hobbert: your list has all the things that my mom's kitchen did have when we were growing up, because those are the local ingredients.
      Coconuts were plentiful; extract your own coconut water and coconut milk.
      All the milk was organic in the sense that this was before the days of large scale commercial milk production, hormones, etc. The problem was that unless your supplier was reputable, the milk was likely watered down.
      Without dals and spices there would be no kitchen.
      Powdered ginger (sonth) was a specialty, fresh was more common.
      My parents were more coffee drinkers than tea drinkers, so masala chai was not a staple, but it was widely known.

      Everything was inexpensive because we had to stretch the paycheck and buy seasonal.

      Not in my mom's kitchen:
      canned food,
      boxed food (other than cornflakes),
      frozen food,
      soya based products (similar to TVP) were just emerging, but things like tofu, tempeh, soymilk etc unknown.
      International foods (pasta, olive oil, Thai, Mexican etc ingredients)

      I realize now that this is why my pantry has twice the contents of my parents': I have all their staples as well as all mine.

      1. re: Rasam

        1. Baking supples (mom hated to bake)
        2. Marshmallows (there were no truly kosher ones back then)
        3. Quinoa
        4. Almond milk
        5. Trader Joe's ground beef style soy crumbles

        Plus various canned tomato prducts (mom only had tomato sauce), seitan, light mayo, 'exotic' apples like Gala and Fuji, lots of dufferent cheese and Coconut Blss ice cream.

        1. re: Rasam

          Where did you grow up? I've only lived in the rural VA/MD/WV area so the idea of "international" food was met with skepticism. Even now, there's a distinct difference between my kitchen and my parents'. We always bought half a steer every year and rarely bought meat at the store. Interestingly, my husband grew up in the same area but in suburbia and thought the concept of buying meat from an actual animal we had seen was just bizarre. Funny how different families have such different experiences.

        2. re: Hobbert

          Crystal Lite
          Diet Coke
          Broccoli (fresh or frozen)
          Almond Milk
          Fresh peppercorns/grinder

        3. 1. sriracha
          2. curry powder
          3. ginger
          4. ice cream cones
          5. marshmallow fluff

          1. 1. Olive Oil
            2. Old Bay
            3. Margarine
            4. Dinner wines
            5. Fresh fish

            1. 1. Wagyu Hot Dogs
              2. Texmati Rice
              3. Broccoflower
              4. Diet Dr. Pepper
              5. to some extent Coor's Beer (we lived in NJ)

              1. I grew up in the sixties/seventies. We had one large "national" grocery store and one small family owned market. There were no fast food restaurants and the closest we had to an "ethnic" one was a red sauce Italian place. The grocery store had no "ethnic" section and even the vegetables were as American as they come. Needless to say there was no online options.

                So basically all of my "inexpensive" pantry staples were unavailable to my parents except on the rare trip into the city to hit Chinatown and the specialty markets.

                So top 5?

                1. unusual dried pasta shapes-farfalle, etc
                2. Asian hot sauces
                3. fresh ginger
                4. frozen edamame (for that matter any edamame)
                5. all my indian and Asian spices
                6. frozen "gourmet" pizza ala TJ's alsacian tart
                7. jarred artichokes

                1 Reply
                1. re: foodieX2

                  You just described my existence in Petaluma Ca. in the 1960's and 1970's.