10 steps to (better) cooking: The basic pantry

Pantry 2011

What do you really need in your pantry to be always ready to cook something?

Of course the answer to this question is different for any and each of us, but there are some basic staples from which you can build your own pantry.

The Basic Pantry

Matchbox, 1, especially if you have a gas cooker or if you plan to flambé something (and one day you’ll plan to flambé something, I assure you!)

Coarse salt, 1 kg or 2 kg if you have a dishwasher. If you buy a peppermill you can use it to grind the salt and avoid to buy table salt

Sugar, 1 kg, white or/and cane, as you like

Honey, 1 jar

Extravirgin Olive Oil, 1 lt, good quality, better if Italian, but I’m partial 😉 A good one so you can use it both for cooking and dressing

Seeds or nuts oil, 1 lt , to fry, cook and make desserts. Better choose a 1 seed or 1 nut oil, instead of mixed seeds or nuts.

Wine vinegar, 1 lt, white or red, as you please

Soy sauce, 500 ml

White wine for cooking, 1 bottle; it doesn’t have to be expensive, but not too cheap either!

Coffee, 250 g, if you drink it. If you prefer, a small jar of instant coffee it’s perfect e versatile, as often dessert recipes demand for instant coffee

Tea, in leaves. No sachet, but the real thing, the leaves. A gunpowder is perfect for a morning or afternoon tea and in the case you have to make a cup to rehydrate prunes or raisins.

Pasta, 2 x 500 g pack of short pasta, like penne and macheroni (no farfalle, butterflies, as you’ll never never never get the right cooking out of that shape!) and 2 x 500 g pack of long pasta, like spaghetti and linguine, good Italian quality

Rices, 1 kg of arborio or carnaroli, for risotto, and 1 kg of basmati

Flour 00, 1 kg

Baking powder, 4 sachets. If you can find even dry yeast, for pizza and bread, that would be a perfect addition to your pantry

Stock cubes, 2 packs, 1 pack of meat based and 1 pack of vegetable based

Canned tomatoes, 2 cans of chopped or whole, and/or 1 lt bottle of purée

Cookies, 1 pack of good ones, for a discomforting moment or a last minute cake

Milk, 2 lt of long-life

Juice, 2 lt , 100% fruit, one of your choice

Wine, 1 bottle, good one, for a discomforting moment!

Onions, 2

Garlic, 1 entire bulb

Potatoes, 1 kg

Assortment of dry fruits, as raisins, prunes and apricots, in individual packages, no sugar added

Assortment of nuts, as hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds, in individual packages

You can download this list in pdf, to carry it with you on you mobile device (or printed) to the super market.


Of course this is not a comprehensive list and none the less a list that takes in consideration allergy options. Adapt it to your style of living and taste.