My Kitchen Essentials

These are the things I keep in my kitchen, always. The list is growing, and has been since I started living on my own in 2006. But with these things around, I am pretty well set for weather disasters, feeding myself, and feeding unexpected people who may drop by.

This did NOT start out this detailed: but now it’s these things that I really need to have around. This cuts down on “oh, crap I don’t have that” shopping (ESPECIALLY when baking, since I tend to bake on the spur of the moment) and enables you to make things quickly without running to the store. Plus, it’s not that much to stock up on once you have it all. A jar of the peppercorns from Williams-Sonoma can last me three years!


  • Flour–All-Purpose, either Trader Joe’s or King Arthur
  • Sugar–white, confectioners’, Splenda brown sugar mix (you can use less of it and it doesn’t get hard!)
  • Cornmeal
  • Jiffy cornmeal mixes, to make cornbread fast
  • Jarred pasta sauce (1 or 2 jars. This is for immediate, impromptu dinners. I like Prego the best.)
  • San Marino tomatoes: 1 28 oz. car crushed, 1 28 oz jar peeled, for making my own sauce
  • Cans of diced, whole, fire-roasted, etc. tomatoes from the store. These are very versatile
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • Anchovies in EVOO
  • Tellicherry peppercorns
  • Kosher salt
  • sea salt
  • I keep a LOT of spices on hand, because they are important in my cooking. It’s taken awhile to build up my stock, and this is something that will be unique to what you like to cook. That being said, here’s some of mine: basil, tarragon, thyme, Saigon cinnamon, bay seasoning, dried red chile pepper, Italian seasoning, ginger, chili powder (various ones), curry powders, cilantro, oregano (“It was a dime-bag’s worth of oregano!”), herbes de provence, bay leaves.
  • Mac and cheese. Hey, you never know….
  • Yeast
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (hershey’s)
  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • butterscotch chips
  • unsweetened chocolate bars
  • capers
  • olives
  • artichoke hearts
  • sundried tomatoes
  • panko bread crumbs (DELICIOUS!)
  • tea
  • coffee
  • EVOO
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • sesame oil
  • yeast packets
  • Soups: clam chowder, tomato


  • Milk
  • butter. LOTS OF IT. Unsalted. And a big block of Kerrygold butter, too!
  • eggs
  • coffee creamer
  • heavy cream
  • shredded cheeses: sharp cheddar, mexican mix
  • tortillas
  • Worchestershire sauce
  • soy sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • Whole grain mustard


  • Onions: red and white
  • garlic. LOTS OF GARLIC! Instand meal: garlic, EVOO and red pepper flakes as sauce, over spaghetti. YUM.
  • Bananas
  • Fresh tomatoes: in season
  • Fruits: in season



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