I’m a creature of habit. In the kitchen, when I find an ingredient that works for me, it becomes a staple. This post is a list of all the standards/staples in our house so that, for example, every time I say “flour” I don’t have to say “all purpose flour, ideally King Arthur brand.” If you reference this site for a recipe, know that using these products will give you the intended result.
Note: This is not an exhaustive list, and will be added to over time.
Unsalted unless otherwise noted.
- Standard: Kerrygold
- For when I’m broke or making a lot of buttery dishes for lots of people (read: Lord of the Rings day or Thanksgiving, but even then the butter-is-important-things like pie crust still get Kerrygold): Challenge
- For when I’m feeling fancy and want the really good stuff on a slice of bread: Hand-rolled butter from the farmer’s market or Nordic Creamery Summer or Harvest Butter. Yes, it’s bougey. But you’re worth it.
All-purpose (AP) flour. King Arthur brand. Yes, even for bread and pizza dough. Trusted resources have convinced me that using bread flour just because you’re making bread is a lie.
Whole. Always. And typically Oberweiss because it’s delicious and if you return the container you get deposit money back and they reuse them. Yay environment.
Lefas for anything that’s not “a fancy drizzle of $40-a-half-liter (AKA significantly more than I’m willing to spend on wine) bottle because I’m feeling like I deserve it or am trying to impress.” If the latter, then it’s something crazy yummy I taste-tested out of a tiny little paper cup like you used to mouthwash with at the dentist, at a fancy specialty store. #selfcare.
Tellicherry peppercorns from The Spice House. And you better believe we’re grinding that isht fresh.
Kosher. Diamond Crystal. I have a coworker who also likes to cook, and when discussing salt he said “we’re a Morton’s house, not a Diamond Crystal house.” Game recognize game, bro, even if our go-to crystallized rock base for all that is holy is a different brand. Pro tip: Diamond Crystal is significantly lighter and flakier than Morton’s, so say the Charcuterie gods Ruhlman and Polcyn. This matters a lot if you’re cooking by volume (e.g. cup) rather than weight (e.g. gram). Which maybe isn’t a huge issue with something you typically use as little of as salt, but after getting used to one in my kitchen I find that I have to use a little less Morton’s than I would Diamond. Or the other way around. Frankly I can never remember until I’m in the zone and ruining meals for a week or two, hence we a a Diamond Kosher house. Also, I’m saying that from now on. Thanks, Anand.
We get all our spices from The Spice House. I don’t use anything else. Luckily, they’re in Chicago for easy access but honestly, it’s not the most convenient place for me to get to so 90% of the time I’m ordering online. You can get free shipping (at least anywhere in the US) for any order over $45. Trust me, your pantry deserves it.
Important note on the validity of these recommendations:
I am not nearly cool enough for this to be sponsored content or use affiliate links. But I am using Amazon Smile links when relevant in hopes that while Bezos takes over the world, your favorite charity can at least get a little bit of love. Also, please don’t trust for a second that you can’t get better prices on these at your local grocery store, or that I’m sending you to the best price in every case on Amazon. Don’t you have Honey yet?