How to Stock the Essentials in Your Southern Pantry
We get many questions from customers about what our “secret ingredients” are, so we’re finally spilling the beans: we don’t have any. Really. Southern cooking was born out of necessity and uses simple ingredients like butter, cornmeal, and pecans to create comforting, wholesome meals. So while we put a twist on classic meals like our Cajun Jambalaya, Pimento Shrimp and Grits, and Lowcountry-inspired Fried Green Tomato Avocado Caprese salad, our dishes begin with the basics.
Just like all good Southerners, we hate to turn people away empty-handed, so we’ve put together a list of Southern cooking pantry staples you have to have on-hand.
- Sugar. Most Southern dishes are indulgent, which is why having a bag of classic cane sugar in your pantry at all times is a must. This sweet staple isn’t only used for cobblers, pies, and cakes but can be used to make sweet tea and barbeque sauce, too.
- Cornmeal. Where else do you think cornbread comes from? You can also use cornmeal to make delicious pancakes and cornmeal-crusted chicken.
- Grits. Not to be confused with cornmeal, grits is another ground corn product that’s the go-to breakfast item in many households. Keep it simple by boiling your grits and topping them with butter, or jazz up a basic bowl with cheese, bacon, or shrimp.
- Pecans. If you picture the pecan pie recipe your family has had for generations, you’ll know why these rich, buttery nuts made the list.
- Bourbon. This bold, caramel-sweet, Kentucky-born booze is essential for making classic cocktails like a Mint Julep or Sazerac and as a glaze or addition to your favorite desserts.
- Barbeque sauce. This is the ultimate way to make any cut of meat finger-lickin’ delicious.
- Hot sauce. Some like it hot, and if you’re one of those people, a healthy dash of hot sauce will take things to the next level.
- Jam. We top our flakey buttermilk biscuits with a pad of butter and delicious jam.
- Beans. Yes, the Southern pantry does include some vegetables. From baked beans and pinto beans to red beans and black-eyed peas, legumes are a great staple in your pantry.
- Honey. Use it as a natural sweetener or as a complement to savory or spicy marinades.
- Lard. The rumors are true: lard is a necessity in the Southern kitchen. You’ll be happy to have it when you want to make a pie crust or fry up some chicken.
- Mayonnaise. It’s not just for potato salad, slaw, or deviled eggs; any Southerner will tell you that spreading mayo on both sides of your bread is the way to make a perfect grilled sandwich.
At the Cottage, we pride ourselves on making elevated dishes that begin with fresh, local ingredients. Are you getting hungry? Join us for breakfast Mon-Fri (9-11 am), Sat (8-11 am), or for Sunday brunch (8 am-2 pm). We’re also open for lunch Mon-Sat (11 am-3 pm). We can’t wait to see you soon!