Day 5: Restock Ingredients

The Kitchn Cure Fall 2013

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Day 5: Friday, October 4
Assignment: Restock Ingredients

Let's reflect: your refrigerator and freezer have no moldy food and both are completely clean, right? Are your cupboards and drawers organized and grime-free? No more rancid oils, spoiled condiments, extra wooden spoons, useless uni-tasker gadgets and never-used appliances? Good. Then you're ready to move on.

This assignment involves ingredients. Some people have a budget and are doing this Cure so that they cook more, so this assignment includes a shopping trip. These are folks who might not even have a canister of flour or a bottle of olive oil. Others were faced with a cupboard full of expired spices and baking ingredients and want to replenish. Or, maybe you don't want to spend any money—that's ok. There are other ways to work with your ingredients.

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Today's Assignment (estimated time: 10 minutes to 2 hours)

1. Re-post or take a quick before photos of your food areas; we want to see the scene before you weed things out. Show us your countertops, cupboards and other places you keep your kitchen tools and equipment. In the "before" shot, DO NOT clean things up for the camera. Post them to social media using the #kitchncure hashtag.

2. Make a list of all the ingredients you need. It all begins with having a well-stocked pantry. The best thing about having a well-stocked pantry is that you arm yourself with the tools you need to cook by feel, instead of always following a recipe.

  • The Buy Stuff Path: If you're starting from scratch, this means spending some money. But in the long run, it will allow you to cook more with the small amount of fresh extras (like meat and produce) that you buy daily or weekly. Otherwise you will shop for each ingredient needed for a meal and run the risk of collecting duplicates—so what if fish sauce costs $2/bottle? You don't need three bottles of it!—or you are caught off-guard without having what you need to make a complete meal. Here are a few lists we made with recommended ingredient staples geared toward savory cooking, baking/desserts, and vegetarians/vegans.
  • The Buy Nothing Path: If you feel well-stocked already, or simply don't want to spend any money, use this time to think about how you want to cook going forward. What kinds of dishes do you like? Can you rearrange your cupboards very mindfully, making sure that the ingredients you use most are most accessible? Make a list of dream ingredients and add one each week to your shopping list, then it won't seem like extra spending.
3. Show off your newly stocked or organized kitchen on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. (Don't forget to tag your work with #kitchncure so we can find you.)
4. Admire your work! My gosh you've come a long way. Dare you play around and cook a nice meal? Don't blow too much of your energy; a big cook-fest is coming up. For tonight, eat somethign simple and fresh using your revamped arsenal of ingredients.

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(Images: Leela Cyd | Kimberley's Food Blogging Haven)

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The Kitchn Cure Fall 2013

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