Essential Food Pantry – Part 2

By 3 m read
Pasta and rice (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
Pasta and rice (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

 

I hope you’ve had a chance to digest Essential Food Pantry – Part 1, because we’re ready to move on to Part 2. Today I’ll discuss my condiments, sauces, and fridge items. I was just thinking about something funny while writing that last sentence: Condiments and sauces, once open, become fridge items, too 🙂

 

Fridge Items

Let me start with classic fridge items. We mentioned butter as a fridge item in Part 1, but I keep it in a covered dish on my counter. I think that’s a European thing I grew up with.

 

Brown eggs from our local farmer (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
Brown eggs from our local farmer (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

 

Eggs  

I wrote an article about eggs a couple weeks ago, but in summary: Try to find a road stand or farmers market that sells eggs. Somehow they just taste better and it makes me think that the birds are having a better life as well.  

 

Dairy

I don’t really stock milk, but I have half and half (for my coffee) and heavy cream (for my cooking). I also like to stock sour cream (have you tried my shrimp tacos yet?

 

Now it gets really complicated: Cheeses

What kind of cheeses would you stock? As many as fit in the fridge would be my answer. But then again, I grew up in Switzerland. Jokes aside, I like to have a nice medium-sharp cheddar handy that can be used pretty universally and melts pretty good as well. And then I have to have a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano – not Parmesan, which is a generic term for a similar made cheese outside of Italy – but the real thing, and the real thing only. Yes, it’s more expensive than the copycats, but because of the intense, nutty, concentrated umami flavors, you’ll also need less. Sometimes there are shortcuts in life, but in this case there isn’t. It’s called Parmigiano-Reggiano.

 

Parmigiano Reggiano (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
Parmigiano Reggiano (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

 

Cans and Jars

Pretty straightforward in my essential pantry: Tomato sauce, tomato paste (get the tube, not the can), peeled plum tomatoes in a can (preferably San Marzano), and chicken and mushroom stocks. They say box-packed stock tastes better than canned, but I use neither. I either make my own or use cubes from Knorr. And of course some cans of tuna and a jar of anchovies, plus all your favorite canned beans.

 

Grains and Starches

Another easy one for me: Plain breadcrumbs, long-grain white rice, and dry pasta (one long for light sauces and one short and chunky for ragù-style sauces).

 

Pasta and rice (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
Pasta and rice (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

 

Condiments and Sauces

Now it gets tough again, but let’s start with what we can agree on: Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard (I prefer Dijon), and soy sauce. Here’s what else I absolutely need: Fish sauce, hot sauce, and miso paste – when used sparingly, any of these three ingredients can really add flavor depth to your dishes.  

 

Mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
Mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

 

This is part 2 of a 3-part series. In my last installment, I’ll talk about freezer items and what produce I like to have handy and how to store it.

 

I’m really curious about your favorite pantry items. I’m sure you have your own little “secrets” that I would like know, so please share them! 🙂

 

Fish sauce (Photo by Erich Boenzli)
Fish sauce (Photo by Erich Boenzli)

 

Fridge Items

Butter

Eggs

Heavy cream

Sour cream

Medium cheddar

Parmigiano-Reggiano

 

Grains and Starches

Long-grain white rice

Dry pasta (one long, one short)

Plain breadcrumbs

 

Condiments and Sauces

Ketchup

Mayonnaise

Dijon mustard

Soy sauce

Hot sauce

Fish sauce

Miso Paste

Knorr bouillon cubes

 

Cans and Jars

Tomato sauce

Tomato paste

Peeled San Marzano plum tomatoes

Tuna

Anchovies

Beans

 

What else do you keep in your pantry? Let us know in the comments below!

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