8 Kitchen Cupboard Staples You Need

November 3, 2000

Print this list out and take it to the supermarket the next time you do your grocery shopping:
Canned beans. An excellent source of fibre and non-meat protein. Quality can vary among brands, especially for cannellini beans, which can be mushy. However, chickpeas are generally good.Bacon, cured meats and sausages. Bacon or smoked ham are great in pastas, soups like a hearty vegetable soup, and with fresh greens. Cooked sausages can be used with beans for a quick casserole.Herbs and spices. Most major supermarkets carry at least several fresh herbs. I suggest buying mint, basil, thyme, chives and cilantro and flat-leaf or Italian parsley. Grind whole spices like cumin, allspice, dried ginger root, black pepper, and nutmeg for more intense flavor.Parmesan cheese. This is definitely the most versatile and important cheese in the world. Use the real thing, Parmigiano-Reggiano; it’s worth the extra cost. Though freshly grated Parmesan is always best, for convenience buy it already grated (or grate a large amount yourself) and store it in the freezer where it will it keep for a few months.

Eggs. Amazingly versatile and not as fattening as you may think. Always store them in their containers in the refrigerator, but not in the door, which is not cold enough.

Olive oil. Use the more flavorful extra virgin type in cold preparations like salads, or in cooked dishes where the oil is drizzled in at the very end to enhance the flavor. Find the specific oil you like, regardless of where it comes from, by experimenting — much like tasting wine. Always go for intense flavor. For sauteing or frying, pure olive oil or a lower grade of extra virgin is fine.

Pasta. Dried pasta is the best staple for any home as well as being incredibly convenient. Include dried capellini, primarily because it cooks the fastest.

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