Delicious home-cooked meals are easier with the French Pantry Checklist: a guide to stocking your pantry with quality ingredients used in France.
The belief behind it? If you start with really good ingredients, you don’t have to do much for a dish to taste delicious.
That’s the philosophy I’ve observed in great French home cooks since moving to France years ago: Simple Recipes + Top Quality Ingredients = “Restaurant Quality” meals at home.
The importance of top-quality pantry staples:
For easy, everyday cooking, the French understand the value of using high-quality pantry staples: they let them do the work to make great tasting meals – so that they don’t have to. Sure, they’ve got loads of complicated dishes that require every pan in the kitchen to make. But those are reserved for weekend cooking or special occasions.
For weekday meals (which are the majority of the cooking we all do), they rely on simpler fare. But they still want great taste. How do they get it? By relying on great ingredients.
So you don’t need a technically complicated recipe for a great meal – you’re not going to make it after a long day anyway,
Quality and variety are the keys to the French Pantry Checklist:
I created The French Pantry Checklist and The Finest of France Cooking Essentials Course because I wanted to give you a varied list of basic, top-quality products for your pantry. You can use them at home to make simple dishes taste fantastic.
The ingredients on the Pantry Checklist provide the building blocks for home cooking to deliver great taste and health benefits with easy execution. You won’t need to turn to unhealthy take-out food or restaurants as default options when you’re too tired to cook. When those choices become the default solution to the “I-don’t-feel-like cooking-tonight” dilemma you’ll get a bad deal financially and healthwise, as I discuss here…
These high-quality French ingredients are ready in your pantry
To get you started, the French Pantry Checklist suggests a variety of oils to have on hand to up-level your everyday cooking. Great olive oil, walnut oil, and hazelnut oil can be used to make different salad dressings.
I also list a variety of
Why ruin good vegetables – and your noble efforts to eat a healthy salad – with average bottled dressings from the supermarket? They’re highly processed and often filled with chemicals: Have you ever read the ingredients in many of the bottled salad dressings? What a shame to ruin a healthy salad with “cellulose gum” or “calcium disodium EDTA!”
For example, top-quality olive oil mixed with raspberry vinegar, salt, and pepper and drizzled over sliced raw mushrooms with parsley leaves makes a delicious starter dish. It’s a quick go-to dish for me in the Fall and Winter. Vegetarian and Vegan friends love it too because it’s a raw, simple, and healthy recipe with no hidden chemicals or preservatives.
The French also use the vinegars and oils on the Checklist in a variety of other ways to elevate average dishes to fantastic. I discuss that in detail in The Finest of France Cooking Essentials Course.
The goal is to have a variety of staples in your pantry and to follow the rhythms of nature by choosing seasonal produce. That way you’re not cooking the same thing all year.
That’s the French secret for great home-cooked meals.
Elevate simple home-cooked dishes by seasoning them well:
My French Pantry Checklist also covers different seasonings to elevate the flavor of your food.
The French know that they’ll up-level simple food if they season it well. So in the Cooking Essentials Course, I go through each of the French Pantry Checklist ingredients and discuss how to use them every day.
French sea salt, pepper, and herbs:
I even discuss salts and peppers because not all salt is created equal. And the grey dust that often passes for black pepper is not going to elevate the taste of your food.
I also go over some of the herbs the French use, both dried and fresh. Dried herb blends like Bouquet Garni are present in many of the great sauces the French make.
You can easily elevate the flavor of your food by using fresh herbs like a perfume to cook with (so French!) or to finish a dish by adding them just before serving.
Herbs are low maintenance, but the power and flavor impact they deliver is a game-changer for your meals: you could say they punch above their weight class.
It’s best to buy herbs intact: once they’ve been cut they start to lose flavor after 24 hours. So in my Cooking Essentials Course, I show you in what form I buy the main herbs used in French cooking. Some can be purchased dried, but others must be purchased fresh.
French spices and condiments:
The French Pantry Checklist also covers a few spices:
Certain spices, like Piment d’Espelette, are produced in France and have an AOC or “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” translated as P.D.O.: “Protected Designation of Origin.”
The green lentils on the Checklist called “Lentilles Vertes du Puy” also have this special label. In the video series, I discuss why an AOC designation makes a difference for you in taste.
There’s also a Condiments section on the Checklist. In the Cooking Essentials Course, I discuss how the French use their traditional condiments like Dijon mustard and Creme Fraiche to add a special element to a simple dish.
The same is true for flower-infused waters: orange blossom water is on the Checklist. The French have been using flowers in cooking since the 18th century to add “panache” to simple and not-so-simple dishes.
The French Pantry Checklist and The Finest of France Cooking Essentials Course for beginner to advanced chefs:
To keep it simple, The French Pantry Checklist is divided into 3 levels: Apprentice, Sous-Chef and Master Chef.
And so it’s not overwhelming, I’ve curated the list down to just 10 ingredients for each level. All the ingredients on the French Pantry Checklist are from my kitchen and I use them every day.
In The Finest of France Cooking Essentials Course you’ll do a walk-through with me of all the Pantry Checklist ingredients. I give you tips on how to use them and show you the French artisan-made products I use. The back-stories behind several of the artisans are also discussed. The PDF which accompanies the video series contains recipes and links to online shops where you can find the same or similar products I use. You’ll also get a FREE 30-Minute call with me to answer any questions you may have.
The “French Pantry Checklist” and the “Finest of France Cooking Essentials Course” cover how, with a variety of healthy, high-quality staples, you’ll be rewarded with great taste. And you won’t have the chemical additives, colorings, and preservatives found in processed products.
This is a philosophy I adopted after I moved to France and observed how the French cook. It’s helped me create delicious, healthy meals that are light years away from the processed, instant food I grew up on.
Getting started with the French Pantry Checklist:
I’d love to help get you started by sending you my FREE French Pantry Checklist.
You can also download the Checklist from the sign-up box on this page, and get started with my Top 10 Ingredients on the “Apprentice” List.
After you sign up, I’ll send you a series of recipes using the ingredients from that Apprentice list. My favorite French-inspired ingredients will instantly up-level your cooking and get you moving away from take-out and processed foods.
Within 10 days, you’ll be feeling organized, inspired, and a whole lot healthier.
Then when you’re ready to promote yourself, start adding the ingredients from the “Sous Chef” and “Master Chef” Lists.
If you’d like to go more in-depth and have personal guidance from me then sign up for The Finest of France Cooking Essentials Course.
You’ll find tips and recipes on how to use all the French Pantry Checklist items, a downloadable PDF containing links to where to find everything online, and a FREE 30-Minute Prep Call with me to get the most out of the ingredients in your home-cooking.
Your home-cooked dishes will taste so good you’ll feel like a genius in the kitchen.🏆
And the ingredients will be doing all the work! 😎