Mark Bittman is good at getting down to brass tacks on what you really need in your kitchen (we still refer to his 2007 list of essential, inexpensive cookware and tools). In today's Times, he's paring down the pantry, telling us what we need to throw out and what to have on hand for easy, top-notch dishes. See if you agree...1. Toss the canned beans; buy tomato paste in a tube. All of Bittman's suggestions made sense to us, but some were more surprising than others. Freshly grated parmesan instead of the green can? Old news. (Although his tip that fresh parmesan can keep in the fridge for a year was pretty revelatory.) But some substitutions, like tomato paste in a tube instead of a can and sherry vinegar instead of inexpensive balsamic, were great hints. We also really liked his off-the-cuff recipe suggestions for using some of the ingredients.
4. Eat more squirrel. Would you? We're not sure. But in an attempt to control the grey squirrel population in the UK, chefs are serving it up as a new meat. Reports of its greasiness turned us off, though.