There really is nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of cooking and realizing that you don’t have some essential element of your meal. Or perhaps you’re sitting down to dig into something you made and it just feels as though it’s missing something. The truth is that a well stocked kitchen is an important ingredient to a healthy and delicious cooking experience. With that in mind, here are some essential ingredients that every kitchen needs. Some of them might seem obvious but they’re often worth thinking about far more closely than you might have previously considered.
This might seem like the most obvious thing in the world. Of course you have salt in your kitchen! But did you know that there’s actually a whole lot more to salt than you might think? Table salt is a fantastic option for things like baking and salting pasta water, but for cooking you may well be better off with something like kosher salt which is a lot larger and gives you more control over how much you put into a dish. If you’re looking to get really fancy then why not consider something like smoked salt from SaltWorks which can bring all kinds of excitement to a dish. Salt might be a staple of pretty much all cooking but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to explore it in more depth.
Once again, pepper might seem like something that it’s not even really worth thinking about but there’s a lot more going on with it than most of us bother to consider. Having a pepper mill to grind over your food is obviously essential (I love my pepper mill). But it’s also a good idea to have some whole peppercorns in the kitchen for when you’re making things like stocks and broths. Not only that but white pepper is something that you may not use all the time but when it’s necessary, it can make a huge difference to a dish.
A lot of people make the mistake of having one kind of oil that they do all of their cooking in. The problem with this is that different cooking oils actually function very differently. Something like vegetable oil can reach a seriously high temperature before it starts to smoke. This means that it’s perfect for cooking things at high temperatures or even deep frying. Olive oil on the other hand has a much lower smoke point and cooking at too high a heat can produce a bitter, acrid flavor. But used at lower temperature is can bring a whole lot of flavor to a dish. There are also all kinds of variations within both of those types of oil. Experimenting with them in your cooking is the best way to find which you prefer.
One thing to remember is that the kind of supplies that you have in your kitchen is going to come down pretty heavily to your tastes and your personality. Being able to develop those things is a wonderful way to express yourself in the kitchen alongside finding new dishes and cooking methods.