Spokesman Review:Pantry essentials: Spokane’s culinary industry shares must-have items and why they’re necessary

It’s a few weeks into the stay home, save lives order, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to shop at the grocery store – first for toilet paper and paper towels and now reportedly for ice, soups, pasta sauce, eggs, milk and more.

It’s a challenging and unpredictable time, and one industry that has been especially hard hit is the restaurant industry. Takeout from favorite restaurants is essential for many businesses to survive right now, but it might be unrealistic for some to order pick-up meals, especially for a family, seven days a week.

Members of Spokane’s culinary industry were asked to share their must-have items in their pantries at home (but not pantry fill or hoard) and why they’re essential, and here are their responses:

Desiree Seghetti-Sulpizio (Response), Co-owner, Commellini Estate Venue & Event Restaurant

Must-have pantry items: Fresh garlic, tomatoes, onions, olive oil, flour and eggs. Normally, my husband and I don’t prepare meals in advance but rather rely on using quick trips to the grocery store for fresh ingredients. However, with now limiting our grocery trips, we’ve tried to use this as an opportunity to get creative.

Recently, in meetings with executive chef Blake Caldwell discussing Commellini’s menus, I’ve been inspired by his passion for tradition and authenticity. So, at home, we’ve returned to family recipes (or more accurately, hand-scribbled notes from our grandparents and great-grandparents) for that much-needed culinary nostalgia. Childhood in the kitchen with grandparents who witnessed the Depression and WWII taught me that every ingredient matters – and, with a little creativity, nothing needs to go to waste.

Why: In times of uncertainty, I especially enjoy foods that are not only comforting, but also remind me of childhood. Most of my cooking has a touch of nostalgia, and these staples not only last, but also can serve as a foundation for most meals. Our house almost always smells of roasted garlic, which we add to everything from pasta sauces to my grandfather’s bean soup.

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