|So, not those.|
Bear in mind that the original idea for this blog is to share what I've learned through some, at times bitter experiences. I may have a well-stocked pantry now, and loads of kitchen toys, but I have spent much of my learning time both broke and proud, starving but refusing to go to food banks. I have also acquired some of my pantry supplies through less-than-ethically-allowed means; when you're the one receiving and portioning the deliveries in a restaurant where you slave away at minimum wage, you learn what can go under the radar and keep you fed. No pride, but no shame either.
I've also fed myself on ten-to twenty dollars a week, and I have spent quite a few periods dinning on dry bread and tea; you tend to develop a more open palate in that state, which comes in useful later. So all this revelation is to say, I know all too well what hardship is, friend, I've been there often. I pulled through, and so can you.
So, staple; what do I mean by that, exactly. Essentially, these are things that are sufficiently basic to be necessary, and flexible enough that several different variations can be brought out of basic things. Given that there are several areas that need to be dealt with, I'll separate this theme into different posting, along the following lines: dry goods, proteins, vegetables, flavors, and condiments. The last two may seem to be close enough to be pretty much the same, but when you'll get to the post, you'll see why two individual sections are available.
One thing I will also introduce in those postings is what I call upgrades: things that you can pick up when you are confident both in your budget and your skills. Sometimes those upgrades have more to do with some specific uses, but some are just more expensive, even if they are quite worth it. One lesson that comes in handy is when you make natural quality over quantity; but in the meantime, it may be bigger is better!