Pam's use of the phrase "cooking with ingredients" in her well-stocked kitchen post might seem redundant, but it refers to a specific observation we have made. For us, part of a well-stocked kitchen is an assortment of ingredients that can be made into food -- staples like flour, baking powder, beans, rice, good oils, certain liquors, and so on. With a variety of ingredients on hand, we can usually come up with something good to eat, even if we have not made a specific plan.
We first noticed this distinction when our daughter was young and we would try to help out babysitters by letting them know what was available to eat. We realized that what we were offering was not so much food as ingredients from which food might be made. At the same time, we realized that many of the wonderful young people involved really had no idea how to get from "ingredients" to "food," and we made some efforts to bridge that gap for them. In reality, we noticed that our regular sitters would just bring something, and that often we would find "box food" of some kind in our fridge that we, in turn, did not know what to do with!
Pam also mentioned the importance of tailoring the kitchen to the cook(s). Writing in today's Boston Globe, Beth Teitell describes a common and strange outcome of the wedding industry. As weddings and bridal registry have become increasingly grandiose over the past couple decades, many young couples have ended up with one-of-everything kitchen equipment collections, even if they do not cook. Her article, entitled Stick a Fork In It, describes some of the waste resulting from the disconnect between ideals and realities of domestic life.