This is a basic list of must-have ingredients for people who want to start cooking. These are just good things to keep around, stuff you should have at all times. This list is really basic.
Bread. Whole grain is better and healthier.
- Salt and pepper (duh)
- Salt-free seasoning mixture
- Curry powder. Its worth it to cough up for good quality, as this'll last you a while.
- Rice. Brown is best for you.
- Some kind of jarred or canned pasta sauce
- A few cans of various vegetables/fruits/legumes. Especially tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, lima beans, green peas, chick peas, green beans, mushrooms, etc.
- Frozen veggies. Get different varieties; some asian-ish blends for stir-frying, some blends that'd go well in pasta or rice dishes, etc.
- Olive oil. EVOO is the best general-purpose variety.
- Soy Sauce
This list is incomplete for any reasonable kitchen; it's just the fundamentals. This'll give you a good solid basis to work on, so you can grab a couple special ingredients from the store and have a nice meal, or even whip up something on a whim without extra ingredients. For instance, these gorgeous spinach wraps. Happy cooking.