Virtually anyone can go to the store, buy ingredients, follow a recipe, and make a decent dinner. It’s not that hard to do, and it’s something everyone–no matter how minute their passion for cooking may be–gets an inkling to do every once in awhile, right?
But simply following a recipe and churning out a decent meal does not a good cook make–sure, that’s part of it, but anyone can do this when given ample time, ingredients, and assistance. You know what a truly good (or even great) home cook’s secret is? It’s the ability to whip up something satisfying at any moment–without running to the store or missing a beat. This agile cook (or baker) is someone who can work with what they have on hand… and this is because, this kitchen master is one who knows what to keep on hand.
The only way to learn is through practice and personal experience. So if you’re like myself and aiming to reach this level of being an “effortlessly” exceptional cook rather than simply someone who can cook–start stocking your pantry with the ingredients that will get you there. Soon enough, miraculously concocting a rave-worthy meal from “nothing” will just be a part of the routine.
Here are the 10 ingredients you’ll want to make sure you’ve got on your shelves at all times:
This piece originally appeared on MyRecipes.