"It's kind of like a car," Scala Quinn says, describing our constant desire to shovel pre-made garbage down our gullets. "Do you put crap gas in your car? No, you take care of your car. There's all sorts of delivery services out there, but if there's an apocalypse, you're going to need to know how to scrape together a meal yourself. You have to get your skill on."
Cooking at home doesn't mean you need hours of chopping practice. "Ninety percent of cooking is grocery shopping, and if you've got your pantry stocked, that's everything," notes Scala Quinn. She suggests arming yourself with plenty of canned tomatoes, tomato paste, dried pasta, olive oil, capers, onions, garlic, shallots, red pepper flakes, cooking wine, chicken broth, rice, potatoes, coconut milk, egg noodles, anchovies, nuts, and vinegar. And be sure to keep some citrus fruits, ginger, Parmesan cheese, butter, sausage, raisins, cabbage, sesame seeds, and Thai curry paste stashed in the fridge.
The 17 recipes listed here represent every basic dish this culinary boss thinks any self-respecting human should have down by the ripe old age of 30. So preheat your oven, grab your knives, and prepare to make your mama proud.