I love this quote. Well, except for the part where it assumes the cook in question is female. But no matter. That's another battle for another day – what we're going to tackle is your sad, empty pantry!
Do you every find yourself in the mood to cook, except you don't have the ingredients you need? Kiss that problem goodbye, because you're going to the grocery store this weekend to stock up. If you love cooking, all of these should be in your pantry (or fridge, freezer, etc.) at all times!
Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This is the essential of essentials. I use olive oil every single time I cook dinner. Sautées, salad dressing, marinades... there is no end to its usefulness.
I always have at least three on hand: balsamic, red wine, and white vinegar. Balsamic is great for salad dressings and marinating chicken. Red wine is my go-to my both savory and sweet salad dressings. And white vinegar, when diluted with 50% water, makes an excellent, all-natural cleaning agent!
Honey (or Agave Nectar, for vegans)
Great natural sweetener for salad dressings. You can use it as a substitute for sugar in baking too, particularly when using whole wheat flour – just replace sugar with an equivalent amount of honey, and reduce baking temperature by 25°F.
If you don't have eggs, you're doing it wrong! Unless you're vegan, of course. But otherwise, eggs make a fantastic, protein-filled breakfast or snack. Scrambled, omelets, frittatas, hard boiled, sliced over a salad, stirred into oatmeal. And that's not even to mention baking!
What if they forget to include the little packets with your delivery sushi order? And of course, use it to add pizazz to stir fries, ramen, and marinades.
Buy a pound and keep it in the freezer, pulling out sticks as you need them. That way, you're never short for baking.
Cheap, cheap, cheap. Go for black beans, kidney beans, lentils, and chickpeas. An excellent, healthy source of protein and fiber that can be used in spur-of-the-moment soups, salads, homemade hummus, and Mexican food.
Quinoa turns a simple salad into a meal. It's a perfect protein, meaning it contains all 20 amino acids – even the 9 our bodies can't produce on their own. Plus, it takes only 15 minutes to prepare! Because it can be a bit expensive, try to buy in bulk.
I'm Italian, so for me, there's no question: garlic makes EVERYTHING better. Buy a lot of it and store in a cool, dry place. Or even better, buy a jar of crushed garlic to make cooking with it a breeze.
The easiest snack! Banish sugar cravings by eating one of these instead of those cookies you're lusting after. Adds sweetness to plain cereals, yogurts, and smoothies.
Another craving solution. Need chocolate? Dark chocolate satisfies the cocoa craving, without all the fat and sugar in milk chocolate. Also useful for baking.
It's got higher trace mineral content than regular salt. This is such an obvious one it shouldn't even need to be on the list!
Another item to buy in bulk, and store in a cool, dry place. They're great in pretty much anything – stir fries, sauces, vegetable side dishes, soups, quiches, sandwiches, etc.
MSG-Free Boullion Cubes
Most regular boullion cubes/powder has monosodium glutamate (MSG) in it, so beware. Whole Foods is a great place to find an all-natural one. These are the alternative to buying broth – it's way easier to store and carry, and you can whip up as much or as little broth as you need at a moment's notice. And you can crush it into a powder and use it to season vegetables, grains, and meats!
Adds umami, without all the calories. Add to stir fries, soups, grains, and curries for richer flavor.
Raw unsalted walnuts or cashews can add crunch and protein to salads and pilafs. Chop them to stretch them further.
Cheese (and Crackers)
Always have some fancy cheese and sophisticated crackers on hand. Whip them out to impress your house guests. Guaranteed to make you seem like a classy adult! Plus, it makes a great snack.
They elevate any dish to new heights of class and flavor.
Dry White Wine
For cooking. Or for drinking. For last-minute pasta, chicken, sauces, etc.
As a beauty product, coconut oil works wonders. But it's also great for low-heat cooking. Even better for you than olive oil!
Bakers will also need...
Flour, sugar, yeast, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and canola oil.
Did I forget any staples? What else do you keep around the house?