Which Ingredients Can You Not Live Without?

We're gearing up for the Kitchen Cure's third week when we'll be talking a lot about ingredients. Those who are participating (wow, almost 700 of you!) cleaned out the fridge and pantry during Week 1.

The pantry/fridge-cleaning exercise shows which ingredients we keep for vanity (I love Japanese packaging,) to feel exotic (who else found rose-scented water and saffron?) or because it seemed like a good idea at the time (two-for-one deals on something you rarely use.) It also sheds a lot of light on which ingredients we keep in constant rotation.

Even if you're not participating in the Cure, you are probably well-aware of what ingredients you use most. It's hard to answer the question of what one ingredient is essential in any kitchen. I have a handful that are neck-in-neck: olive oil, butter, chicken stock, onions, black pepper and sea salt. Those things alone don't make a meal, but they help make whatever is in season taste delicious.

Leave us your list of essential ingredients, we might just surprise each other.

(Image via flickr member Robert S. Donovan licensed for use under Creative Commons.)

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