Favorite Brands of Kitchen Staples

This is what I buy.
  1. Olive oil: Trader Joe's California Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    It's cheap ($5.99 for 16.9 oz.) and good-tasting enough to use for drizzling. California Olive Ranch's Arbequina, in a square bottle, is a close second. Whatever you do, buy extra-virgin oil, preferably one from a recent olive harvest.
  2. Salt: Pink Himalayan sea salt in a grinder from Trader Joe's
    Don't buy any other Himalayan salt. This one is the best and the cheapest. Diamond kosher salt is a close second and comes in larger quantities.
  3. Flour: King Arthur All-Purpose Flour
    Budget-friendly hack: Trader Joe's all-purpose flour, in the blue and pink bag, is actually King Arthur, under the TJ's brand.
  4. Unsalted butter (for baking and cooking): Clover (local to NorCal) or Kerrygold (in the silver foil package)
    Note that Kerrygold is pretty expensive, so probably not great for big baking projects.
  5. Salted butter (for spreading and finishing dishes): Kerrygold salted butter or Trader Joe's French butter in blue foil.
    I currently favor the French one, which is slightly saltier than the Kerrygold.
  6. Coconut oil: TJ's or Spectrum
    ALWAYS buy unrefined, virgin
  7. Spices: Whole Foods' 365 brand.
    Reliably high-quality and great variety.
  8. Apple cider vinegar: Bragg
    Don't be grossed out by the floating glob of "mother" in each bottle. Give it a good shake before using and she'll disperse.
  9. Soy sauce: San J Tamari (reduced sodium)
    Handy for when you might be feeding gluten-free folks (unlike regular soy sauce, it is wheat-free), and plenty salty without being overly so.
  10. Peanut butter: Earth Balance Creamy Coconut & Peanut Spread
    I can't get over how good this is. The crunchy kind is good too, but the creamy variety has all the appeal of the super-processed Skippys and Jiffs of our childhoods, but with the goodness of coconut oil.
  11. Wildwood Sprouted super firm tofu
    The best for pan-frying or baking. Also available under the Trader Joe's brand for slightly less.