Is it getting monotonous yet?
The coronavirus pandemic, by forcing many of us into cocoon mode, is already making avid home cooks out of people who had never before attempted to boil water or toast bread. Recipes abound, and famous chefs like Massimo Bottura are offering quarantine tutorials on Instagram. But even for those of us who do have an abundance of experience at the stove, sheltering in place is reinforcing the truth in something that chefs like Bottura tell you all the time: Your cooking is only as good as your ingredients.
And cooking gets pretty tedious when you keep using the same stuff for weeks on end.
Maybe it’s absurdly obvious, but the mantra bears repeating. You can improve your rice and beans by using better rice and beans. You can elevate a simple dish of pasta, olive oil, and anchovies by using better pasta, olive oil, and anchovies. Stir-frying some vegetables? Premium soy sauce can make all the difference.
Opting for better ingredients is not some exercise in bougie excess. From the perspective of personal edification, it’s a way to use your free time during this bizarre global stalemate to go granular and learn more about food. What makes this bean different than this other bean? What makes that olive different than the olives we ate last night? And from the standpoint of saving the world, well, making a concerted effort to stock your pantry with higher-quality ingredients can be a way to help small, independent farmers, purveyors, craftspeople, and entrepreneurs during a time when vast numbers are struggling.
With that in mind, here we offer links to 12 of our favorite mail-order food sites that’ll ship nationwide.
At a South Bronx warehouse in New York City, Beatrice Ughi and her team curate and collect the finest olive oils, vinegars, tomatoes, anchovies, olives, dried pastas, and holiday cakes from Italy. Trust us, you can conjure a few days of kitchen masterpieces using nothing but stuff that comes out of a Gustiamo box.
Rare Tea Company
A calming cup of tea may just be everyone’s cup of tea during these nerve-shredding times. Author and tea expert Henrietta Lovell has higher tea standards than anyone on the planet—she’s the exclusive supplier to restaurants like Noma in Copenhagen and the Momofuku empire around the world. Here she is standing by to introduce you to Lost Malawi English breakfast tea, Chinese peony white tea, and South African wild rooibos.
Shop Rare Tea Company
For a quarter of a century, this Virginia-based, family-owned company has been the go-to portal for the best products imported from Spain, from paella rice to chorizo to jamón ibérico to Marcona almonds to the exquisite canned seafoods known as conservas. You haven’t lived until you’ve snacked on the José Andrés razor clams.
Shop La Tienda
Salty Pork Bits
Pittsburgh’s Justin Severino might make the best charcuterie in America—we’ve said so here at Esquire in the past—and through this website, you can have his morcilla anchorizada, his finocchiona, and his saucisson sec dispatched directly to your house.
Shop Salty Pork Bits
Fly by Jing
Look, those frozen Trader Joe’s dumplings are not going to elevate themselves. If your pantry doesn’t include Jenny Gao’s Zhong dumpling sauce or Sichuan chili crisp, you’re missing out on sure-fire cures for boredom.
Shop Fly by Jing
Russ & Daughters
To borrow from an advertising campaign from the ’60s and ’70s, you don’t have to be Jewish to love the Gaspe Nova smoked salmon (for my money, the best available anywhere), a 12-pack of potato latkes, and a dozen bagels (just freeze the ones you don’t eat right away). And if you’re feeling splurgy, there’s that American caviar sampler.
Shop Russ & Daughters
This sprawling Michigan landmark sells, well, just about everything: cheeses, mustards, dried fruits, fresh breads, peppermint bark, bacons, marmalades, spices, coffees. A typical Zingerman’s shopping list is longer than Middlemarch. Forget cooking—you could spend a whole day just browsing around the site.
You think you know honey? Okay. But have you tried grawa honey and geteme honey and bissana honey and abalo honey? Devote a week to exploring the nuances in flavor from one rare Ethiopian forest honey to the next.
Hey, we’ve got supermarket soy sauce in our fridges, too—no judgment—but once your palate has spent some time with the intense, handcrafted real stuff from these Korean-food specialists, you’re going to find it hard to go back. Also, if you’ve never considered dipping a spoon into a jar of fermented bellflower and pear, now is the time (it’s supposed to help people suffering through colds). Looking for primo gochujang, doenjang, and fish sauce? You’ve come to the right place.
Hawa Hassan, who was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, is an evangelist for the flavors of East Africa. Her tamarind date sauce and coconut cilantro chutney bring a zing of life to anything you cook, whether it be a bowl of rice or a juicy grilled steak.
So where do chefs actually get all of that foie gras and Wagyu beef and Berkshire pork and Muscovy duck? They get it from Ariane Daguin, who supplies American restaurants (and supermarkets) with world-class meat products and runs D’Artagnan. Have you thought about using all of this extra lockdown time to experiment with making the Gallic dish known as cassoulet? Well, guess what? D’Artagnan can sell you a whole cassoulet kit.
Salt & Straw
As its religiously devoted followers know, Salt & Straw specializes in ice cream that’s weird and wonderful. Bone marrow and smoked cherries! Pear and blue cheese! Strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper! Your kids might think these flavor combinations sound suspect, so, hey, keep the kids in the dark. Just serve up a few scoops and listen to the murmurs of delight.
Shop Salt & Straw
Source : Esquire