a few of my favorite (pantry) things

what to stock in your pantry

We take a break from our not-so-regularly scheduled programming to bring you…

Julie Andrews and the Von Trapp children?

Well not exactly. They have, however, inspired me to root through my pantry and share a few of my favorite things. Even if the dog doesn’t bite, and the bee doesn’t sting, it still does some good to dig around in what you have and think about why you love it so much.

So without further ado (to you and you and you!) I give you a few of my favorite pantry things:

olive oil

stock your pantry with olive oil

because it’s an essential, can’t-live-with-out-it item. and it’s been around for a really, really long time. it’s got major bragging rights as far as kitchen essentials go.


what to stock your pantry with pistachios

because it’s always good to have nuts in your pantry, and the pistachio is what i like to call, the fancy nut. That’s right, cause it’s fancy.

powdered wasabi

stock your pantry with wasabi

because sometimes you need a quick wasabi fix. just add water and let sit. there’s nothing like that excruciating burn through your nostrils as your life flashes before your eyes.


stock your pantry with panko bread crumbs

because it’s always good to have bread crumbs on hand, and panko is my all time fav. it’s an unbeatable texture. thank you japan.

chili flakes

stock your pantry with chili flakes

because they pack a real punch and add a delicious kick to all manner of dishes. my favorite go-to for chili flakes is tossed with shrimp, garlic, and cracked black pepper, tossed on a grill. sound ridiculously simple? it is. that’s the beauty of chili flakes.

smoked sweet paprika

stock your pantry with smoked paprika

because it is my actual favorite. this is my desert island spice. the spice of my life. the only spice for me… ok well i use other spices. lots of them. but if i could only have one? i choose smoked paprika.

sea salt

stock your pantry with sea salt

because really, i love all salt. but big grains of sea salt are amazing, and a total pantry must-have. where would we be without salt? i shudder to think of it. plus, i’ve actually been to camargue! so, that’s fun. and random.


stock your pantry with olives

because olives rock. it’s an addiction i’ve had since childhood. i can’t even talk about how much i love olives. not right now. another time.

red curry paste

stock your pantry red curry paste

because thai curry (of any color) should be available to you at any moment for consumption. it’s as simple as that.

coconut milk

stock your pantry with coconut milk

because coconut milk must be added to thai curry and slurped hungrily from a gigantic bowl. (no spoon necessary.) i realize there isn’t a strong presence of coconut milk on the blog, but i’ll be straight with you. it’s 4 bucks a can. i cannot afford to take opening that can lightly. but it’s in my pantry, and when i do, you’ll know about it.

maple flakes

stock your pantry with maple flakes

because i don’t have maple syrup. if i did, i would list it here. i’ll take whatever real maple flavor i can get. these flakes are yummy sprinkled over vanilla ice cream. or sprinkled in your mouth.

ras el hanout

stock your pantry with ras el hanout

because of chef richard blais. does that seem weird? it’s not.

green peppercorns

stock your pantry with green peppercorns

because when you’re craving a steak au poivre, it’s a heck of a lot easier to find the steak.

herbes de provence

stock your pantry with herbes de provence

because it’s the perfect blend of dried spices and it smells like provence. really, it does.

sparkling wine

stock your pantry with sparkling wine

because you should always be ready to celebrate! why is this a pantry item and not something to be stored in the fridge? simple: if it’s already chilled you’ll crack it open for any old reason. if it’s collecting dust in the pantry, you’ll put it on ice for a really good reason. (true story. note the dust on mine.)


stock your pantry with popcorn

because a movie night is incomplete without this pantry staple. i love buttery popcorn, but this stuff is so good it’s fabulous just sprinkled with salt. albeit, lots of salt. plus it’s an excuse to eat out of a bucket. love that.

If I could I would go on to list dozens of other items I love, but those are a few of my top picks. They all taste good to do-re-mi! (oh I went there.)

So tell me, what are some of your pantry must-haves?

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32 Responses to a few of my favorite (pantry) things

  1. Crystal says:

    Orange lentils for a quick and delicious dal!

  2. Popcorn for the win undoubtedly 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  3. kyleen says:

    I’m totally with you on the olive oil and the green pepper corns. Olive oil for salads, and green peppercorns because they make steak taste amazinnnggg.

  4. donna picard says:

    Olives, olives and their oil, plus Feta cheese

  5. Liz says:

    What a great theme for a post…I loved seeing your favorite pantry items. I must have olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garbanzo beans, crushed red pepper flakes, Dish D’lish French seasoning salt, Whip It (whipped cream stabilizer…the list goes on and on 🙂

  6. Why does Blais remind you of ras el hanout? (Or vice versa?) He lives in my hometown! I love his new restaurant, The Spence. Foie Gras Pineapple Upside-down Cake is epic.

    • kale says:

      he is my all time fav chef from top chef and he would always put ras el hanout in everything! i first heard of the spice from him using it, and i love it. it’s my richard blais spice. 🙂

  7. Can I come over? Love all those things. But why don’t you have any anchovies in your pantry?

  8. just reading the word wasabi stung my eyes. my spicy tolerance is so low ahaha

    my favourite pantry item is chocolate, surprise surprise 😛

  9. Emma says:

    Ah, the Camargue! How I miss it:)

    I never have pistachios, I always have panko, and we just bought some popcorn last night and some paprika last weekend. Mmm, p words.

    I’ve never seen maple flakes before…. I’m very curious now. I want them in my pantry! – – which is filled with items for baking. Plus Cheez-Its. Plus a lot of beans. Plus this bottle of Grand Marnier that I’m never, ever, going to be able to finish.

    • kale says:

      maple flakes are excellent. most all flakes, actually. maple flakes, chili flakes, sea salt flakes, corn flakes, snow flakes …

  10. I completely cracked up when I saw this video, because my family LOVES that song. As in, we sing it while doing mass loads of dishes at holidays. Nice reference!

    Totally with you on the chili flakes. I need to find a jumbo bag.

  11. Brittany says:

    I would fit right in with you and your pantry! Especially with that olive oil, pistachios, popcorn, and wine!! I MUST MUST MUST always have peanut butter, and some sort of snack. Mainly just peanut butter..and a spoon.

  12. Terrific list – panko bread crumbs are my go-to pantry item as well. I also love chili-garlic sauce. It’s low in calories and packs a big punch!

  13. cquek says:

    This sounds like a really tasty meal!

  14. Parsley Sage says:

    Maaaaaaan, when you posted that red curry followed by the coconut milk I just wanted to hug you and say ‘BLESS YOU!’ You’re helping spread the gospel of sweet/savory and I thank you for it 🙂

    You’ve also reminded me that I’m out of fancy nuts…

  15. Really interesting selection of pantry things. I’m not sure what I’d put on mine…paprika, cumin, wild rice, soy sauce and who knows what else!

  16. Love it! Most of these are staples in our pantry as well, minus the spicy stuff (I am a major spice wimp!). I especially will make sure my fridge is stocked with champagne in the coming couple weeks to celebrate our new baby (and to finally have a drink after being pregnant for 3/4 of a year!). YAY!

  17. I’m seriously so mad at you right now for getting that song stuck in my head.

    Ok, not that serious;)

  18. Lesley says:

    Cumin. It’s the ‘secret’ spice that makes people go ‘just what is in there anyway?’ over and over again.
    Rice vinegar and sesame oil. Every oriental dish I make has a little of both. And the horrible-smelling-but-great-in-a-dish fish sauce.
    Nuts. Pecans. Walnuts. Almonds. Macadamia (which never last because i pour them down my throat). My hubby likes a little ‘crunch’ in a lot of dishes so I add them to a lot of my dishes.

    As for Richard Blais, sigh, he has ruined me forever for other chefs, and there have been many. His name being mentioned reminded me of how I love you for loving him the way I love him … maybe Julie Andrews can sing a song to this effect?

    • kale says:

      i miss sesame oil! i should have stocked up when it actually showed up in a store here. i bought one measly bottle, like a chump! and then of course it went missing from the shelf of the store, never to be restocked. tragic.

      julie andrews just wouldn’t get blais like we get blais, you know? the lady’s good, but she has her limits.

  19. Great post idea! I’m so inspired by your must have pantry list, I might have to start stocking some of those things. My secret pantry ingredient staple is ground cloves. I put it in everything– it adds that mysterious warm flavor to meat dishes, takes the bitterness out of leafy greens, and complements cinnamon in sweet dishes.

    Off to buy some coconut milk! Thanks!

  20. Geoff Moss says:

    Fantastic blog, if ever you drop into the Maritimes again, you guys should drop by for a meal sometime. I’m Head Chef over at the Cafe Archibald in Dieppe. It would be my pleasure to cook for you/catch up, I haven’t heard from you in over 10 years.

    Once again, great job on the blog/keeping so positive.

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