FOOD fit for a Rockstar

Deena Kamm's recipe book and always evolving food philosophy

Old Mother Hubbard was really just an over indulgent dog owner – Day 13 of my Food Journey


When I was younger (and much MUCH poorer.) I used to look at my tragically bare cupboards and think “When my cupboards and fridge are full of food is when I will know that I have achieved success.”  That was my measuring tool and my goal.  When you go to sleep hungry more often than not, food becomes a very desired end goal. Well – I am happy to say that I have arrived… at least as far as Old Mother Hubbard is concerned.  And I’m actually a lot like that gray haired, crotchety, old broad. When you really dig into the story about the dog and the bone and cupboard you’ll see that the poor lady busted her ass day after day to make sure that her goofy dog was happy.  I know I feel like that sometimes. I crank out dish after dish so that my boys can eat healthy and satisfying meals, deserts, and snacks throughout the day.  I’m not complaining… actually I think that Hubbard went way too far trying to please that lazy ass, prank playing, manipulative, sneaky dog.  Nursery Rhymes are the worst, aren’t they?

We are fortunate that now our pantry is very large. About as big as our last house was. We are also fortunate that it is full almost all the time with multiples of everything we could ever need to make anything we could ever want – I call it our grocery store.  My husband, Son, and our numerous house guests are fortunate that I behave like I am running a barrack in the military when it comes to how it is maintained, organized, and stocked.  I do have OCD issues, but they serve me pretty well when it comes to stuff like this.

Here’s a little photographic proof I am nuts about the way my cupboards function:




The actual reason I am posting this is not to tell you about what a whack job I am with cleaning my fridge out three times a week or how I might be slightly insane enough to be compared to a nursery rhyme nut job from 1805.  No.  It’s because I know now, after 5 years of cooking relentlessly, that you MUST have a completely stocked pantry (and fridge) to cook delicious food.  The only thing I always need from the grocery store is fresh food like fruit, veggies, tofu… As long as I have a few fresh items in the house I can always make a GREAT meal, and because I cook slightly off center from the majority of the flesh eating world, I thought it might be a good idea to share what I feel are the absolute Pantry Must Haves if you are going to maintain a healthy diet for any length of time.  So here’s that list now… and I can promise that you will find nary a bone on it:

Pantry staples:
brown rice
long grain rice
sweet brown rice
Basmati rice
red/yellow/green lentils
black beans
white beans
black eyed peas
split peas
yellow/white popcorn
rice/soy/almond milk
coconut milk
apple juice
apple sauce
pure fruit jams and jellies
steel cut oatmeal
rolled oats
brown rice cereal
maple syrup
brown rice syrup
local raw honey
hazelnuts (filberts)
pine nuts
flax seed
chia seed
sesame seeds
sunflower seeds
shredded coconut
agar agar
dried daikon radish
extra virgin olive oil
coconut oil
avocado oil
sunflower oil
walnut oil
red wine vinegar
sesame oil
Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acid
ume plum vinegar
champagne vinegar
brown rice vinegar
mirin (rice cooking wine)
liquid smoke
Franks red hot
bread crumbs
nutritional yeast
jar salsa
vegetable broth
mushroom broth
quinoa flakes
all purpose flour
sprouted spelt flour
whole wheat flour
millet flour
semolina flour
almond meal
coconut palm sugar
vegetable shortening
silken tofu
brown rice pasta
multi grain pasta (quinoa or quinoa blend)
olives (variety)
sun dried tomatoes
canned pumpkin
sweet potatoes
My refrigerated staples:
umoboshi plums
miso (3-4 kinds)
Dijon/Yellow/German mustard
peanut butter
almond butter
Spice cabinet:
garlic powder
onion powder
celery seed
bay leaves
ground sage
ground ginger
ground coriander
curry powder
chili powder
ground mustard
red pepper
chili powder
black/white pepper

(Preachy side note: All of the above are without any kind of added sugar and organic unless it’s not possible to get an organic version.)

This list is constantly evolving, but most of it is almost always in my kitchen all the time. If you don’t cook much and want to try cooking more (you can do it!!) just buy what you need when you need it and eventually it will build up. Don’t buy things that you don’t know if you’ll use unless you have a recipe that calls for it. Food goes bad (what a concept) and I cook almost everyday multiple times a day. If I’m not cooking, my husband is cooking, and lately so is my 5 year old. We go through this stuff all the time and fast, and I find myself at the store at least 3 times a week, but that’s not the point here… The important thing to focus on is that we are always able to have home-made food from scratch, even when we aren’t prepared, because we always have the majority of the ingredients on-hand. It’s a classic case of how to avoid planning to fail. If you have the food and are prepared to cook, you are most of the way there.

I’m not perfect at this by any means.  I still manage to eat a bag of delicious sodium charged Snapea Crisps for lunch and then 5 oatmeal cookies that were supposed to be for my kid.  But I’m much less likely to follow it up by going out to dinner at some random restaurant and eating even worse if my house is stocked with choices… so it is.

I’d love to know what’s in your pantry that you consider staples and why. I love learning new things and trying new food and creating alternative healthy recipes. Let’s all help each other get inspired!!  Show me your pantry!!!  Let’s go – let’s do this!!

Happy cooking!
Note: I’m not sure if the comment feature is working on this blog – I have been told it is not. I am getting tons of feedback, comments and replies to these posts via Facebook, email, etc… so if you have trouble leaving a the comment please let me know. Thanks!

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