Written by adam on Dec 26, 2004
In just about every cookbook you pick up, the author starts out with a list of ingredients, cookware, or whatever that you absolutely must outfit your kitchen with. Much of it is no-brainer stuff like herbs & spices and fresh produce. Some books go as far to tell you what kind, shape, and size of saucepans to use. Now, I think that is going a bit too far for what we're trying to accomplish here, though I do appreciate the sentiment. If you want that extra oomph ... that extra je ne sais quoi, then maybe you should invest some money.
Thing is, not everyone has a career in cooking .. or chefistry as my wife once said. And more importantly, not everyone can afford a 15-piece All-Clad or Emerilware set. We're just ordinary joes trying to cook a meal in our homes with whatever we have to cook it in.
One thing that bugs me about some cookbooks is that the authors write their lists of ingredients with the assumption that number one: you'll be able to find them; and number two: you'll be able to afford them. I think it's good to keep our list on the general side so that it contains items that can be found at virtually any mega-mart in the country, and so you don't have to hawk your firstborn to obtain them. For my money, black truffles found in only on a certain type of tree that grows in the Black Forest of Germany are a bit out of my price range.
Other items, in my opinion, don't need to be stated ... like salt and pepper.
- A cast iron skillet, well-seasoned.
- Various saucepans and skillets of differing sizes.
- A non-stick skillet
- A food processor or blender
- A wooden cutting board
- Very sharp knives
- Dried herbs and spices (may include: Salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, paprika, curry powder, basil, marjoram) Every kitchen should have these, I don't care who you are.
- Tabasco (Regular and Chipotle flavor)
- Onions. There is alway a stash of different types of onion in my house.
- Meat (beef, pork, chicken, sausage, all kinds)
- Olive Oil (can be regular, virgin, extra virgin, or more-pure-than-the-pope virgin)
- A well stocked pantry with plenty of canned goods (may include corn, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Ro-Tel Tomatoes, Campbell's cooking soups, etc.) Hey, we're realists here. This is America and we have canned goods. Not everyone has time or effort to put forth into making their own marinara every day.
- Dried rice and pasta
- Beer and Wine. For drinking and cooking. And drinking.
And that's it. Let's not muck up this list by making it look like a Y2K survival list. Many recipes include ingredients that you may only purchase for that specific recipe. No one needs to keep fresh mint and basil in their fridge 24/7. Stuff like that in my fridge goes moldy faster than Emeril Lagasse's audience can cheer for that 27,000th piece of garlic.
Responses to "M.I.A. Essentials" ...
Tell Ken he needs to write more stories. I was trying to find one to respond to and couldn't.... not that I don't like yours, don't think that. I was just trying to raz my bro and couldn't find much "raz"ing material... and don't ask me to define raz. He'll know.