The Essentials

So very many of you have written to me asking for a list of my kitchen essentials, I couldn’t not write a post about it. You’ve been asking about it for a while and now that I’m moving, my kitchen is down to its bare bones. I can’t really debate with myself over what is essential or not- the answers are right here in front of me! To make it a little more fun, I’ve partnered with Bob’s Red Mill for a giveaway! We’ll send one of you a box full of my 15 favorite dry goods. All you have to do to enter is DM me a screenshot on Instagram showing that you have subscribed to the Pantry Raid podcast. You can enter a second time by posting about the podcast in your stories and tagging me, @hmmessinger. The giveaway closes today at noon CST.

For the most part, you’re Noah and your kitchen is the ark. Pack in two of everything. Preserve biodiversity.

2 seeds
Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (sometimes plain, sometimes in togarashi)

2 nuts, neither salted nor roasted
Usually almonds and walnuts, sometimes peanuts or pistachios

2 beans
Black beans and canellini beans- one dried, one canned

2 salts
Kosher and flaky

2 pastas
Long and short

2 oils
A good, flavorful olive oil and a neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil

2 vinegars:
One mild, like rice wine, one strong like apple cider or red wine

2 flours:
All purpose, cornmeal, sometimes almond flour

2 raising agents:
Baking powder, baking soda

1 thickener:
Cornstarch or arrowroot powder

2 sugars:
One liquid sugar (like honey or maple syrup) and one dry sugar (like raw cane sugar or brown sugar). I also really like coconut sugar for balancing out coffee and salad dressing.

3 Whole Grains
This is my best cooking advice to date, and will be probably ever: make a pot of grains every Sunday. Cold grain salads throughout the week. are. the. bomb. They can go into soup or be reheated at the end of braising meat for an easy one pot meal. Once they’ve gone a little dry, make a fried rice type dish to bring them back to life.

Always farro and oatmeal, sometimes rice and barley. I also like keeping puffed rice cereal on hand.

10 condiments shelf items or less!
You know those shopping experts (or maybe it’s just my Mom?) who say you should have a set number of hangers so that every time you buy something new, you have to give something away? Follow that kind of logic with your condiments. I know I know, they’re so damn interesting, but work through a whole jar of one thing before you purchase the next.

for me: miso, dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, hot sauce, sesame oil, mayo, capers, olives (castelvetrano, please), pickled red onions, tahini

Other good options include: tomato paste, anchovy paste, kimchi, homemade chutney, preserved lemons, orange marmalade (put it in a stir fry, trust me)

buttermilk or yogurt, eggs, one melty cheese, one hard cheese, unsalted butter, wine

homemade chicken stock, bag of food scraps for making more stock, sourdough breadcrumbs or loaf of bread

SHALLOTS (DUH), lemons or limes, parsley, green onions

A note on dry spices: I’m not that into them. They lose pungency before I ever get my money’s worth. I always have bay leaves, whole white peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and whole cloves (which are excellent for pickling red onions). If I need a certain spice for a dish, I go to a store with a bulk section and buy a very small amount. Pro tip: smell before buying! The aroma should slap you in the face if it’s fresh. Buy whole and grind yourself whenever possible.