The Best Five Dollars

Did you know that a well-stocked pantry is like a good work horse? Your pantry can help you whip up something delicious to eat without too much effort. You only need a handful of ingredients and thirty minutes. That’s all! Think of it like this: there are 26 letters in the alphabet but those letters combine to make 275,000 words. I often wonder what a person could make with only 10 or 11 foods in their pantry.

Even if you keep a well-stocked pantry, I imagine that sometimes you wander into the kitchen feeling lost, and ask yourself “What shall I make for dinner?” This can happen even if your pantry and fridge are stuffed full. There is a cure for the “What’s for dinner syndrome”. Subscribe to New York Times Cooking.

For only five dollars a month, I get access to their incredibly well-organized website. I also get a daily email packed with recipes. Often the recipes inspire me and suddenly I will know what to cook. Though many of their recipes are geared for those fancy sorts of people who live in “hip” urban areas, they are still fun to read. Then there are those recipes that would seem to take forever to make. Well, if it takes longer than 30 minutes, I’ll pass, thank you very much. All that being said, NYT Cooking is a superb resource because there’s something for everyone.

Let’s say you have a pound of chicken breasts in the fridge and your mind goes blank. Tap on the “Ingredients” tab and on the drop down menu, click “chicken breasts”. All the recipes have pictures and some are marked “easy”. You can also use the search bar at the top of the page that asks “What would you like to cook?” Are you in the mood for cauliflower? Type that in and you’ll get so many recipes your head will spin.

Another wonderful feature is that below the recipes, there is space for comments. I love to scroll through them and read all the different versions cooks invent; the creative variations are endless. I get so many new ideas when I read these comments. Sometimes the ideas are just tiny twists, but those little ideas can pack big punches.

So you see, you get a lot of inspiration and creativity for your five dollars a month. My subscription is now the most essential ingredient in my pantry. It goes in the category of “Good Ideas”. Just as I finished writing this, I got a new email with the subject line “100 Quick Dinners”. There you go! Now food can whirl around, jump off the shelves and cook itself for you – well, almost!

A Famous Plum Torte 9.21.23