Friday, May 2, 2008

Ask Mary: Missing Ingredients

Ask Mary: Missing Ingredients

Dear Mary,

I store recipes that I want to cook in a box in my kitchen, and try to remember to take them with me to the store, but sometimes, when I am in a hurry, I forget. That means I may also forget to buy certain ingredients. If I forget an ingredient or two, can I still make the recipe? And what happens if I can’t find a certain ingredient at the store in the first place?

Thanks, Kit

If only I had a dime for every time someone asked me this question. This actually happens to me quite a bit, especially when I’m in a rush. The reality is that it really depends on what you forget.

For instance, if you forget to buy fresh parsley you can sub dried parsley, or you can leave it out. If you forget to buy shallots, you can always sub it for something similar like garlic, or leave it out all together.

But if you are looking for hominy, and come back with chickpeas, you’ll find yourself in a bind. In some cases there are no good substitutes, and you’ll have to figure that out through trial and error. If your store is missing a certain item, ask the store manager to help you find an alternative ingredient.

Hope this helps,