#1 Pasta. This is true basically across the country because every region uses pasta in some way it seems. Try a variety of flavors and styles to find your family favorites. Dry pasta lasts for a very long time in the pantry so don’t be afraid to buy more than a couple to have on hand.
#2 Flour. This is again most likely across the country because of how often flour is needed in recipes whether it is bread, cake or a thickening for gravy. What would biscuits and gravy be without the flour……. Well runny. The exact type will be personal preference and they offer so many more than twenty years ago it seems. Most can be used interchangeably so you don’t have to keep a lot of variety in the pantry.
#3 Sugar. How would we be able to stay in sweet tea without our sugar. There are a lot of sugar substitutes and if you want them who are we to judge, but I would recommend standard white sugar to have in the cupboard. Sugar can be called for in all types of recipes you may not think of in small amounts but if you don’t have it, you don’t have it. I would recommend storing it in a container rather than the bag it comes in though to help it from getting any moisture or critters especially if you don’t go through it quickly.
#4 Rice. Long-grain rice is the most common but there are many varieties to choose from. Rice can be made on the side or served beneath many traditionally southern dishes to help fill up a crowd.
#5 Oils & Vinegars. Of course on and always have canola or vegetable oil along with a great Olive Oil. Always recommend having the three basic vinegars including red wine, cider and balsamic. These fundamentals are the corner stone of many marinades and salad dressings.
#6 Stock. Basics such as chicken or beef stock are a must have in the pantry at all times. A large majority of recipes will call for the appropriate stock as a recipes base but any time you are throwing something together stock is a go to ingredient. This is especially true in the fall and winter when soups can be tossed in the crockpot for a quick and easy home cooked meal.
#7 Bacon. Bacon is extremely versatile. There are different varieties so be sure to have one that goes with everything on hand such as a hickory. Here at Broadbent we offer Hickory Smoked Bacon, Peppered Bacon, Applewood Smoked and Maplewood Smoked. We highly suggest cutting it into smaller pieces or ordering our bacon seasoning pieces’ package. This will allow you to utilize bacon in cooking without unfreezing a whole package and wondering what to do with the rest (though I mean I just eat it…can you really worry about having extra bacon??)
#8 Tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are another wonderfully delicious base ingredient. Now you may not be thinking store brand canned tomatoes are what I want to eat. In the south, plenty of us have beautiful gardens and a surplus crop of tomatoes so canning is popular. This allows you to have your own garden fresh tomatoes all year long. Tomatoes are base in a lot of creole dishes which are very popular here.
#9 Potatoes. Potatoes are stored in cool dry places for longevity but don’t forget about them so store them near the front of your pantry. Potatoes are also versatile and great for large families or a get together. Whether you want to fry, bake, boil or sauté them I personally recommend the red or yellow varieties as they are less starchy than the traditional Idaho potato but choose what your family prefers.
#10 Onions. Onions can be added to just about any dish to give it a punch of flavor. They should be stored near your potatoes in a cool dry place for a longer life. They are popular in creole dishes but are great additions to pasta dishes, soups, or grilled with any meat varieties. I even utilize them at breakfast from omelets to breakfast burritos.
A well-known part of being a Southerner is the great tradition of being a gracious host/hostess. Having these staples will help you be prepared whenever extra company is added at the last moment. You can make extra beverages, and stretch a meal further utilize these ingredients. They can also help you have the ability to create a few dishes at the last moment. Right now, Fall and Winter are on their way so be sure to stock up on these items. That way when the weather gets dicey there is less need to travel to the store for these basic items.