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That "what to stock your pantry with" topic


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My space in the dorm is pretty small too, but I've expaned my pantry out of the kitchen into the living room. I don't know if these are must have's but I find these items pretty handy to have around.

Right now I've got:

Salt (kosher, regular, coarse sea, fine sea, and fleur de sel)


Dry Spices (a bunch)

Oils: canola, grapeseed, EVOO, peanut, toasted sesame, white truffle

Vinegars (balsamic, white wine, red wine, champagne, sherry, taragon, rice (seasoned and



Soy Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce


wasabi (in tube)

Cans of San Marzano Plum Tomatoes

Dry Chile Peppers

Dry Chipolte

Dry Porcini

Capers (in salt)

Roasted Red Peppers (in jar)

Red Peppers in Vinegar

artichoke hearts (in can)

Sugars (granulated, in the raw, 10X, light brown)


Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, pine)

Liquor for cooking (red, white, marsala wine, dry sherry, vermouth, brandy, cognac, etc)

Rice (wild, basmati, sushi, forbidden)

pasta (all kinds)

bread crumbs

chicken broth

fish sauce (that stinks)

sesame seeds (black and white)


and a whole bunch of more baking stuff


The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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Off the top of my head . . . (Hopefully, others will fill in the gaps)



Salt (kosher & sea)







Anchovies--canned or jarred

Garlic (fresh)

Ginger (fresh)


Beans (dried & canned)



Soy sauce

Some fresh veggies (bell peppers, broccoli, etc.)

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I'm in New Bedford Massachusetts. This is near the cape and Rhode Island. There is a wonderful produce and specialty food store called Sid Wainer and Son around here somewhere, but I don't know how to get there yet ;) I've been at Johnson and Wales in RI since September and moved in with my boyfriend last month. So I'm pretty new around here.

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I'll try not to duplicate what has already been mentioned, so here are the things I currently HAVE to have in my cupboard

  • Pimenton - smoked spanish paprika. I am probably overusing the stuff at the moment!
  • Dried Chilli flakes - These go everywhere! Just the thing for pasta dishes.
  • Mustard seeds - I just love these things.
  • Mustard powder - For the proper palate clearing effect
  • Dry sherry - This alternates being stored in the cupboard for cooking and being chilled when I am in the mood for a glass.
  • Vermouth - Keeps better than white wine for general cooking/deglazing use
  • Decent Tinned sardines and tuna
  • Stock powder(shock horror!) - The swiss marigold vegetable stuff is actually quite good
  • Risotto rice (I normally use Carnaroli, don't know why)
  • Basmati. Lots of Basmati
  • One long, One tubular, one Flat and one other pasta should get you out of most fixes! I currently have Penne, Linguine, Maldafine (My current fave, it's like pappardelle with crinklier edges) and raddiattori (Little car radiators!) I think
  • Tinned Chick peas and Cannelini beans
  • Lentils (Puy and red normally)

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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For kosher salt, keep a small supply in a (small) container near the stove. Keep the big box on the top shelf in the back of the pantry (or just out of the way). Don't work directly from the box or the accumulated steam from pouring salt directy from the box will eventually clump everything up.

Add to list:

Frozen tiny peas

Cornmeal (did ya get that cast iron pan yet? unseasoned but cheap available at any hardware store, seasoning's no biggie)

Anchovie paste is good, keeps better in than an open jar or can if you don't use a lot at a time, and hence have leftovers from the jar or can)

I don't bother with brown sugar. Just keep white & molasses on hand.

Tea - for all the asian meals people are going to have you make with all that soy & mirin.

Couscous is always handy

Highly recommend getting the sesame oil - brown or toasted not black - a little bit added at the end of a stir fry goes a long way.

Better Than Bouillion if you can find it, I keep the beef & chicken around.

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How did I forget my old friend cous-cous!

May I also recommend Bulgar wheat (Although you probably only need one of the two at a time). Get some Harissa sauce on the list and you are almost there!

Some Ras-el-Hanout might be good if you are going with the north african theme as well.

I second the frozen peas, if that counts as a pantry item. One of the few things (Apart from vodka) worth using a freezer for.

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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It's worth having a few "cheats" around, too. Especially when unexpected guests arrive . . .


Roasted red peppers (jarred or can your own)

Cornichons (jarred)



If you're up for a book, check out Marlena Spieler's From Pantry to Table: Creative Cooking from the Well-Stocked Kitchen.

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Kimchi my dear

though I spend my days in conversation


Remember me Kimchi my love

Don't forget me Kimchi my dear

Hold your head up you silly girl look what you've done

When you find yourself in the thick of it

Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you

Silly Girl.

Take a good look around you

Take a good look you're bound to see

That you and me were meant to be for each other

Silly girl.

Hold your hand out you silly girl see what you've done

When you find yourself in the thick of it

Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you

Silly girl.

Kimchi my dear you have always been my inspiration


Be good to me Kimchi my love

Don't forget me Kimchi my dear.

In other words, don't forget the kimchi.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Kate, I hope you're using the above only as a GUIDELINE. These are in no way imperative things so don't feel pressured to purchase them. Some of these thngs are also pricey, and you don't need them anyway.

Think of what you like to eat, what your boy likes to eat, make a list and write down what you'll need and use up.

Remember people, she's got really limited space.

For me, I'd say:




pasta and lots of it





parmesan cheese

whatever condiments you like

That's all I'd start with.

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Also, keep in mind Elyse, she didn't even have flour in the house. But you are right about not needing everything on the lists. Figure out what you'd like to cook in the next few days/week. Buy the stuff you need for them, plus a few extra pantry staples. Each time you go shopping for something specific, buy a few more pantry items. That way it's not a huge shot to the pocketbook all at once.

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Yes I forgot about the baking type things. I suppose that's because we were talking about dinner etc. and not dessert yet. Flour still would not be high on my list for most savory dishes.

I have a TON more stuff in my pantry, but I've been here for 29 years!

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Made a list, went out and came home with most of the things on the list and a lot of things that weren't. I'll never learn not to go grocery shopping when I'm starving. I picked up some bottled marinades, as well as some things to make fresh marinades with. Flour, sugar, molasses. Some meals in a box to please my SO. Chicken breasts and more ribeye (it was SO yummy last time). Some hummus and some kind of cheese for myself. I thought it was fresh mozz but it isn't. It's kind of sour, a little more creamy than fresh mozz, but in that same shape in a plastic tub of water. Stoned wheat thins, more margarine, diet soda (for SO), club soda, cold cuts, bread. Rice and couscous. Tortellini, canned tuna, sardines, cornmeal, chili powder, ginger powder, cumin and red pepper flakes. Eggs, red wine vinegar. Kitty litter...lol

That's about it. I wanted to get more interesting things but my cart was already almost unmanagable.

Tonight I think I'll improve a box of hamburger helper by making meatballs with it instead of ground beef.

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Not just any rice - if it's "white" rice you want, then you need to seek out Texmati. Nothing else cooks like it. I'm constantly disappointed by what I find in the bulk bins where I shop, and most boxed rices too!

King Author high gluten flour for your bread.

Corn meal, both blue & yellow.

Capers in salt's already been mentioned. Anchovies in salt hasn't.

And dried pasta, in the cabinet, is never a bad thing.

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All of the above to your tastes and cooking style as it develops. I do have one trick. when the garlic comes in fresh and plump (and cheap) I buy a bunch of it, slice the tops off, drizzly with olive oil and roast up a whole big roasting pan full. Then, I squeeze it out and put it into small jelly jars and freeze it. I do the same thing with red bell peppers when they are cheap... cut into quarters and char under the broiler (you have to get real close and watch carefully) then into the fars with a little olive oil and into the freezer. The small jars don't take up much room and then you always have tose ingredients ready. Jars keep them from flavoring the whole freezer or picking up other flavors. I also have limited space now so when I make stock, I concentrate it, into the jars, into the freezer. There might be other things you find you like to use. Just think in terms of when the ingredients are good, prepare ahead even if you are not using them immediately. They don't take much effort and are a good thing to do when the weather is lousy.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Corn meal, both blue & yellow.

The girl is still buying margarine and you want her to have two kinds of cornmeal???

I forgot to mention something about the cornmeal, if you bought the Quaker cereal kind it might not work well if you are making cornbread. You need cornmeal with the germ. I get it from the bulk bins at Whole Foods. Natural food stores may have it in the refridgerator.

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Trust me, I would rather buy butter, but the SO is convinced it's better for him than butter. I don't really mind. I use oil most of the time anyway.

Yeah I did buy the Quaker cornmeal. I'll probably use it for breading more than anything. I don't do a lot of baking.

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Trust me, I would rather buy butter, but the SO is convinced it's better for him than butter.  I don't really mind.  I use oil most of the time anyway.

Yeah I did buy the Quaker cornmeal.  I'll probably use it for breading more than anything.  I don't do a lot of baking.

clarify it before you use it, and tell him you're skimming off the calories and cholesterol :wink:

Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

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LOL no, but he thinks being healthy means drinking diet soda and cooking with margarine. I guess I can't really complain, because he's pretty skinny and eats the worst food imaginable.

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