We’re looking down the barrel of another snowstorm that is due to begin this evening. The first thing I did when I saw the weather report was start a grocery list. The Evil Genius will be doing the shopping since he works right in ‘The City’ and we live in, well, ‘Far From The City’. The poor man will be wandering through Wegman’s with a glazed look on his face, muttering ominously about the prices of thyme and heavy cream.
I’m the prepared type. I like to be assured that -within reason- I can satisfy most of my food whims whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot. Or whether the weather is dumping a foot of snow in just 8 hours or not. (Rhyming feels good. Give it a whirl.)
I come from a family of contingency planners. I was discussing this with one of my bazillion little sisters (actually it’s only three, but if all four of us are in a room together we sound like a bazillion. You should see the brothers’/husbands’/fiance’s eyes…) yesterday. Christina, a.k.a. Aunt Tuna, was visiting her fiance in Beantown during the last real storm. K-Thrash, a.k.a. Kevlar (because he, too, has a name), had ventured out in the storm to procure the necessary ingredients for her to make beef stew with dumplings for him and his roomies. He returned with the groceries and Christina set about prepping. She went to the pantry to find the herbs and spices she assumed were present. As in the herbs and spices that you need to eat on a daily basis, and dang if those guys didn’t lack thyme in their pantry. Thyme was pretty crucial to that dish. Christina characterized the resulting dish as ‘something that looked like stew with dumplings but didn’t taste like it’. And I’m just obsessive compulsive enough for the idea of stew without thyme to haunt me at night a teensy bit…
K-Thrash. I would like to address you personally for a moment. Please keep my little sister in thyme when you two are married. Because, really, all you need is thyme. Thyme waits for no man. You can save thyme in a bottle. Thyme, oh give me thyme. ‘Cause thyme makes lovers feel like they got something real. (Sorry about the Culture Club reference. I’ll make you a rockin’ wedding cake to atone for it.)
I apologize for the tangent. I’m constitutionally incapable of staying on-point. The idea of this entire post was to ask you all something thought-provoking but not deep. If you were snowed in for a week, what are the six pantry ingredients you would need to stay sane? Why six? It’s a nice round number. (Actually, it’s because I was going to say five, but realized I really needed dried beans on the list.)
For the purposes of making this interesting I’m excluding salt, pepper, sugar, flour, tea and coffee, and herbs from the discussion. They’re pretty ubiquitous. Unless you’re a starving photography school grad student in Beantown, apparently.
Here’s my list:
- Canned tomatoes
- Dried beans (black, pinto, cannellini, kidney, garbanzo, etc…)
- Dutch process cocoa powder
With those five ingredients I could, with assistance from the meat stored in my freezer) turn out a week’s worth of three meals a day and dessert in the evening. I could make pasta sauce with the garlic, onions, and tomatoes. I could make fried, baked or boiled potatoes with onions and garlic. I could make chocolate pudding, chocolate cake, or brownies with the dutch process cocoa powder. Throw in some ground beef with the first five ingredients and I’d have some respectable chili or a pretty-good-soup.
What about you? What are the five ingredients you wouldn’t want to do without? What would you make with them?
P.S. Don’t tell Kevlar, but I ran out of thyme yesterday…