When it comes to stocking your home pantry like a professional chef, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better adviser than Alice Waters. Her new book, aptly titled My Pantry, is an eloquent exploration of what Waters keeps on hand in her kitchen all the time. It explores how to make several staple ingredients, like vanilla extract, candied citrus peel and ricotta cheese. It also gives recipes that utilize items from a well-stocked pantry, like superfood granola or Chocolate Nut Bark (recipe below for you to enjoy at home).
My Pantry blends Waters’ lovely writing with her highly craveable food and speaks to how a home pantry can evolve its staple items over time. “My travels to Morocco, Australia and Mexico have influenced what I keep on hand, especially spices,” Waters told FN Dish. “My pantry has also changed through my thinking about the importance of school lunch nutrition — whole grains, fruits and vegetables first.” You can find more about her work improving youth nutrition through better food resources for schools with her Edible Schoolyard Project.
What does Waters say every home cook needs to keep in a well-stocked pantry? The list is surprisingly simple. “You must always have olive oil, vinegar, garlic and spices,” she said. “Plus brown rice, farro pasta and preserved tomatoes.” According to Waters, a good home cook keeps 10 to 15 items on hand at all times, and with My Pantry you’ll find yourself making delicious meals from your pantry shelves multiple times a week. How does Waters choose what to make when she’s cooking from her pantry? “I pick whatever looks inspiring to me or what works with what I have on hand. You can make a delicious simple meal with only three or four ingredients.”
You can order your own copy of My Pantry here.