Comment permalink

Cooking After the Move: Part II

Help! What spices and cooking staples should I get?

I recently moved and have started to cook for myself.  I came to a few conclusions after the move that I probably should have learned at a much younger age.

After cooking my first meal in my new place, I realized that either:

a.)   I was a much worse cook than I thought I was.

b.)  I was still in need of the tutelage of El Chef.

c.)   Spices actually do add taste to meals.

d.)  I was in desperate need of a trip to the local grocery store.

e.)   All of the above.

Unfortunately, the answer given to me after I phoned a friend—I really, really want to be a millionaire—is e.) all of the above. My cooking is not all that great, I do benefit from advice more than I’ll ever admit, spices are great, and I need to do some more grocery shopping.

The problem, of course, lies with the grocery shopping. I have no idea how to re-stock a kitchen from scratch. I have utensils and pots and pans (although I’ll probably have to get better cooking gear once I reach sous chef status), but I need the basic cooking staples to get me through the day.

That’s where you come in. I am in desperate need of advice and recommendations on what kinds of food to keep in my kitchen at all times.  I need a grocery shopping list of spices and other staples that are necessary.  I’m on a limited budget, so can’t splurge on 50 or 60 of your favorite spices, and don’t have enough dinero on hand to buy everything that you think I need to get myself through the month cooking on my own.

Of course, you’ll need to know a little of my personal preferences to advise me on what to buy at the grocery store.

1.     I like all kinds of meat, but don’t eat meat every day.

2.     Squash is only good in soups.

3.     I prefer a little spice to my meals over blah.

4.     A sandwich is ok for lunch, but not for breakfast or dinner.

5.     French food is too complicated and time-consuming for me to cook. I’m likelier to stick with a simple meal.

6.     I like to disguise my vegetables with strange spices (and costumes) so I forget that I’m eating vegetables.

7.     I like ethnic food.

8.     Did I mention that I’m on a budget and can’t afford to pay $100 for an ounce of truffle oil and that my palate isn’t refined enough to notice the difference between fake truffle oil and real truffle oil?