A & E

Kitchen Staples: Basic Cooking Essentials You Should Always Have on Hand

This is the first in a series to help students learn the basic staples in your kitchen and how to  cook smart, simple and delicious meals, when you don’t have a lot of time or money, so stay tuned!

Amidst the chaos of class, grades and homework, and for some of us, work, the basic necessities of self-care often fall to the wayside. One of the first places students start making cuts is in the kitchen. Too often, students feel they have to sacrifice quality, substance and quantity to save money in the kitchen.

Certainly, when students become used to eating only pre-packaged meals, with scant knowledge of food preparation, a home menu can be daunting. To minimize stress, it is best to have a plan.

The foundation of frugal cooking lies in maintaining certain important staples in the kitchen.

The grocery store can be overwhelming and people buy unnecessary items that go to waste. A little bit of pre-planning can make your grocery shopping experience much more fruitful and far less wasteful.

To be the most effective, one should always have certain staples on hand. Staples are usually the least perishable items in the kitchen. They are the items that will save you in a pinch. Many people automatically think of five to seven basic items such as milk, eggs or potatoes when staples are mentioned.

However, it is better to think about the kitchen as a whole and break it down into sections. There are the pantry, spices, fridge and freezer. Each one has its own essentials. Personal needs vary by household, so it can be difficult to button down a master list, but with a little ingenuity, the simple list provided below can easily become the backbone of your grocery shopping experience.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Essentials are basic cooking ingredients, most can be used to make many different dishes.
  • Spending a little bit on these items beforehand can really help you in a pinch.
  • Shop around, don’t be afraid to find deals around town.
  • Use the bulk bins, certain grocery retailers even stock dry spices which can save a great deal of money.
  • Avoid buying random food items. Only buy what you know you will eat.

The basic list you can use and adapt to your own purposes can be found here.

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