Help us add detailed information with practical advice.  More categories will be added as necessary.

Cultures & Religions:

The type of local soil and (micro)climate (often described using the French word "terroir"), plus the development of irrigation systems, community traditions, different religions, genetics, and the historic "trade routes" all affected how regional cuisines developed around the world.  In Asia, the prevalence of "lactose intolerance" and the increased use of soybeans in different foods are probably connected.  The Kosher and Halal dietary laws may have originated with a concern about health (eg. preventing trichinosis or not farming in nutrient poor soil) and the ethical slaughter of animals for food.

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Where to Shop: Local

1) how much does (or should) food cost?  how do food prices change during the year?
2) shopping in different cities (eg. New Haven, NYC, etc.)
3) green markets: local and seasonal foods
4) community supported agriculture (CSA) programs
5) food coops

7) storage containers

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Where to Shop: Online

1) Vendors whose products are very reliable and which do not need to be seen before purchase.

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Cooking Staples:

1) Non-perishables
2) Semi-perishables
3) Perishables

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Food Prices:

1) ...

More, hopefully soon!

Fresh vs Frozen vs Dried vs Canned:

1) [ also frozen and pickled ]
2) [ canned tomatoes ]

3) [save energy by letting frozen food (eg. meat, cheese, broth) to defrost in the refrigerator]

More, hopefully soon!

Food Storage:

1) ambient (room temperature)
2) refrigerated
3) frozen
4) outside (eg. during the cold winter)

More, hopefully soon!

Seasoning, Spices, & Herbs:

1) fresh vs dried vs frozen
2) grind your own spices
3) garlic

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Asian Spice Pastes & Powders:

1) Chinese powders (eg. five spice powder)
2) Indian powders (eg. garam masala and rajma masala)
3) Thai pastes (eg. curry pastes)

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Eggs & Dairy:

1) eggs
2) milk & cream
3) butter
4) buttermilk & yogurt
5) cheese (cow milk and sheep milk)

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Fish & Seafood:

1) fish
2) shrimp
3) crabs
4) lobsters
5) bivalves (clams, mussels, oysters, & scallops)

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Flours & Starches:

1) not all brands of flour are equal
2) wheat starch, low-gluten flour, cake flour, self-rising flour, pastry flour, all-purpose flour, bread flour, and high-gluten flour

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Fruits & Nuts:

1) limes
2) mango
3) plantains (black == ripe)

4) juicing (carrots, apple, etc.)

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Hot & Spicy:

1) Peppers, fresh (eg. jalepeño)
2) Peppers, dried (eg. ancho)
3) Horseradish-based seasoning (eg. wasabi peas!)

4) hot sauces (Tobasco and Asian chili sauces)

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Leavening Agents & Stabilizers:

1) yeast
2) baking powder
3) baking soda
4) cream of tartar

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1) different "cuts" of beef
2) different "cuts" of pork
3) different "cuts" of chicken ("whole chickens", "split" breasts, "backs")
4) turkey

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Oils & Fats:

1) olive oil

2) corn oil
3) sesame oil ("toasted")

4) butter
5) margarine
6) shortening

7) tahini (ground sesame seeds)

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Salts & Salty:

1) table salt (sodium chloride plus anti-caking chemicals including sodium aluminosilicate)
2) iodized salt
3) kosher salt
4) sea salt (including "fleur de sel")

5) soy sauce
6) fish sauce (Thai & Vietnamese)
7) shrimp paste (Chinese)

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Starchy Foods: (Pasta, Rice, Potatoes, etc.)

1) not all brands of pasta are equal
2) different types of rice
3) different types of rice flour
4) different types of potatoes
5) plantains
6) taro
7) yucca
8) burdock

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Sugars & Sweeteners:

1) brown sugar (and substitutes)
2) honey
3) chocolate (unsweetened, cocoa powder, dutch processed cocoa powder)

4) [ sugars are often added to some foods more for the "browning" effect, and not sweetness ]

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1) collards
2) mustard greens

3) juicing (celery, ginger, beets, etc.)

More, hopefully soon!

Vinegars ("Sour"):

1) balsamic vinegar
2) rice vinegar
3) red wine vinegar
4) white vinegar

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