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?