12 Mail-Order Food Sites That'll Help You Pack Your Kitchen With Interesting Ingredients



March 20, 2020

You'll elevate your cooking and support smaller businesses in the process
Jeff Gordinier

Is it getting monotonous yet?

The coronavirus pandemic, by forcing many of us into cocoon mode, is already making avid home cooks out of people who had never before attempted to boil water or toast bread. Recipes abound, and famous chefs like Massimo Bottura are offering quarantine tutorials on Instagram. But even for those of us who do have an abundance of experience at the stove, sheltering in place is reinforcing the truth in something that chefs like Bottura tell you all the time: Your cooking is only as good as your ingredients.

And cooking gets pretty tedious when you keep using the same stuff for weeks on end.

Maybe it’s absurdly obvious, but the mantra bears repeating. You can improve your rice and beans by using better rice and beans. You can elevate a simple dish of pasta, olive oil, and anchovies by using better pasta, olive oil, and anchovies. Stir-frying some vegetables? Premium soy sauce can make all the difference.

Opting for better ingredients is not some exercise in bougie excess. From the perspective of personal edification, it’s a way to use your free time during this bizarre global stalemate to go granular and learn more about food. What makes this bean different than this other bean? What makes that olive different than the olives we ate last night? And from the standpoint of saving the world, well, making a concerted effort to stock your pantry with higher-quality ingredients can be a way to help small, independent farmers, purveyors, craftspeople, and entrepreneurs during a time when vast numbers are struggling.

With that in mind, here we offer links to 12 of our favorite mail-order food sites that'll ship nationwide.

La Tienda
For a quarter of a century, this Virginia-based, family-owned company has been the go-to portal for the best products imported from Spain, from paella rice to chorizo to jamón ibérico to Marcona almonds to the exquisite canned seafoods known as conservas. You haven’t lived until you’ve snacked on the José Andrés razor clams.

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