Hi guys I wanted to invite my friend to come to my place to cook together. I was sure what are the proper nouns to distinguish things we need to cook.

For example, if we want to make potato salad, the potatoes would be the an ingredient. And things like mayonnaise or salt would also be ingredients. But I wanted to ask my friend to bring mayonnaise or some special sauces along if he needs to cook something exotic and I don't have those ingredients at home. And for things that actually constitute the food (like the potatoes in this case), we can go buy them together and split the check.

So I feel like I need some ways to properly refer two these two different types of ingredients. And I really love to learn some authentic English expression about this as well.


condiment refers to a substance, such as salt, that you add to food to improve its taste and includes such things as peppers, herbs and spices.

I am not too sure if anyone would count Mayonnaise as a condiment though.

  • I agree to this. – Maulik V Sep 12 '19 at 7:09

Ingredients you keep on-hand are often called “pantry ingredients” or “pantry items”. They can be things kept in the pantry/cupboard, freezer, or refrigerator. A recipe that only has ingredients that cooks are likely to have on-hand is called a “pantry recipe”.

The potatoes in potato salad are the “main ingredient”. Spices like salt and pepper might be called seasoning (they’re also often pantry items).

You could tell your friend:

Let’s go shopping for the main ingredients. If there is anything special you like to add, please bring it. I have a well stocked pantry, so you don’t need to worry about seasonings like salt and pepper.

You might also say “the fresh ingredients”. That would refer to meat, vegetables, fruit and other perishable items.

  • Proper use of punctuation is expected: It's "well-stocked pantry," not "well stocked pantry." – Apollyon Aug 10 '19 at 2:10
  • And the period is supposed to go inside the closing quotation mark in American English. – Apollyon Aug 10 '19 at 2:10

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