Ten Fridge Essentials for Every Man

Brian Brian says:
Whether you’re single or a happily married man with children, there are certain things that we need in our lives to keep us, well, grounded. For some, it’s the legendary and mythical “man cave”, for others it’s a fantasy sports team. For me, though, it’s the unchangeable list of ingredients and sundries that must occupy the fridge at all times. Consider them the proverbial “glue” that keeps your kitchen, whether well-stocked or not, together.

1. Bacon

Not the crappy, limp-noodle kind. I’m talking about the thick, extra meaty kind. Extra points if you have some pancetta lying around. Great for a late night snack or early morning meal, bacon is a staple that should never be in short supply in your kitchen.

2. Butter

Pounds of it. The saltier the better. They say that butter is the universal lubricant, you know? Okay, well, I’m not exactly sure who “they” are but I fully endorse their proclamation. Saute, bake and baste with it. Put it on a French baguette, croissant or just plain old sliced toast. Whatever you do with it, make sure you’re liberal. One great suggestion is to put a nice-sized pat of it on an oven-cooked steak to create a chef’s sauce that you can then pour over the finished meat. Delicious.

3. Lemons and Limes

Squeeze them on fish and roasted meats. Use the limes as the “cooking” agent for ceviche or a garnish for a summer, ahem, libation or two. Take it a step further and squeeze a bit in a kitchen cleanser for a fresh scent after you’ve thrown down in the kitchen.

4. Eggs

Large eggs or bigger. No compromise here. Perfect for everything under the sun. Crack a few to bake with or scramble some up for a 2:30 a.m. snack or perhaps an omelet or two. Cookies, cakes and everything in between.

Bonus – Goes well with bacon and pounds of butter.

5. Mayonnaise

In the south, it’s Duke’s. Mayo is perfect for sandwiches, binding other ingredients or you can even jazz it up to make a more flavorful variation of a culinary classic.

6. Champagne

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t need a grandiose reason to celebrate, then keep a bottle of chilled bubbly in the fridge is mandatory. Keep a couple extra glasses around for you and your spouse (or nice lady friend).

7. Dijon Mustard

Essential for creating an on-the-fly vinaigrette, because I’d like to think you make your own salad dressing every now and again, right?

8. White wine

Not that shoddy “cooking sherry”. A crisp and dry white wine. Perfect for anything requiring a white wine sauce (shrimp, mussels, etc.) and absolutely crucial for deglazing saute pans. Also never hurts to pour yourself a glass while slaving over a hot stove.

9. Cilantro

Truly an all-purpose herb. Salsa fresca? If you’re not making it, you should be. A staple in most Latino dishes, it perks up tacos, sauces, soups and stews. Oh, and did I mention tacos?

10. Parmesan cheese

Not the processed, crappy kind you get in the canister. Treat yourself and get a chunk of the good stuff, Parmigiano-Reggiano. Shave it on some penne and red sauce or if you have nothing else, some oil, garlic and a healthy shaving of Parmigiano does the trick every time.

Brian Wilder is a writer for Home Ec 101. You can also find him at Things My Grandfather Taught Me.
If you have a question you’d like Brian to answer send it to Brian@home-ec101.com.



17 Comments

  1. BrianJacobiWilder on July 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    @Bobbie Laughman Exactly! I didn’t think women would have a problem knowing what’s what. Trying to put men on the same page.

  2. BrianJacobiWilder on July 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    @bookchick Man eat meat. Meat good.

  3. HeatherSolos on July 28, 2011 at 10:38 am

    @bookchick Oh and while I’m just link spamming myself, I’ll throw in a breakfast skillet: http://www.home-ec101.com/how-to-roast-potatoes/ (yes I know it says potatoes, but they are an important part)

    http://www.home-ec101.com/use-it-or-lose-it-breakfast-skillet/

  4. HeatherSolos on July 28, 2011 at 10:36 am

    @bookchick Oh and the “slacker’s frittata” 🙂 http://www.home-ec101.com/cutting-kitchen-waste-and-sparking-creativity/

  5. HeatherSolos on July 28, 2011 at 10:34 am

    @bookchick Yes, but he does have lemon and lime to stave off scurvy. 😉

  6. HeatherSolos on July 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

    @bookchick I also have how to poach an egg. http://www.home-ec101.com/how-to-poach-an-egg/

  7. Bobbie Laughman on July 28, 2011 at 10:24 am

    @bookchick Besides the “how to fry an egg” tutorial, Heather did one on how to hard-boil an egg. I don’t think there are any others. Yet. Are there any methods you’d like to see?

  8. bookchick on July 28, 2011 at 9:38 am

    This may be on here already (I admit, i didn’t do a search) but a ‘how to cook eggs’ would be a good tutorial. I see how to fry an egg but not sure about other variations. I love eggs but for some reason don’t make them very often and often have to do the ‘float’ test to see if they are still edible.

  9. bookchick on July 28, 2011 at 9:37 am

    I eat parmesan like that too. I like to buy chunks of it, shred it in the food processer, and then chew on the rind chunks that remain. Yes I’m weird.

    I buy the cheap stuff for everyday ‘snacking’ and the good stuff to use when I”m cooking with it.

  10. bookchick on July 28, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Yes, I noticed there are no vegetables on this list. 🙂

  11. BrianJacobiWilder on July 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    @tybaltknight I tend to go through eggs rather quickly, so perishable items have never really been a major issue in the house. I mean, like, a carton a week.

  12. tybaltknight on July 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Is there a particular reason why eggs are preferable to egg substitute? I find the latter keeps longer which is important in a bachelor kitchen, as perishable ingredients spoil before use (happens in my kitchen entirely too often). Also, I don’t have to worry about cracking shells or dropping them while I rummage for that last cold drink in the back of the fridge.

  13. imabug on July 27, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Will pass on the mustard and cilantro, but everything else is good

  14. Bobbie Laughman on July 27, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I never buy champagne and only buy cilantro if I’ve already planned to use it in something, but the other 8 are items I always have on hand. Great list for EVERYONE, not men only.

    Of course, women know all this instinctively, right? 😉

  15. EricaMueller on July 27, 2011 at 9:29 am

    LOL @ not being endorsed by the heart assoc! I don’t think men are ever naturally inclined to healthy food choices. The more meat, starch, and grease the better! @HeatherSolos

  16. EricaMueller on July 27, 2011 at 9:28 am

    With the exception of the wine and champagne, this looks like a list from my husband…

    Especially the parmesan cheese… my man will eat it by the slice, devouring a whole block in a couple sittings. I HAVE to buy it at Sam’s Club to afford his addiction. lol

  17. HeatherSolos on July 27, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I’m pretty sure it’s apparent that Brian is not endorsed by the American Heart Association.

    That said, I have a hard time disagreeing with the list. It’s a rare day you don’t find all of those items in my fridge. Except the parmesan cheese, with 6 people who don’t understand price per lb, it’s the cheap stuff for us.

Leave a Comment