One of the most useful condiments to have in the summer pantry is a wide selection of assorted vinegars.
At the very, very least, a person ought to have a gallon or two of the plain old 5% acidity distilled white vinegar for household cleaning chores and quick pickling projects, plus a good-sized bottle of real apple cider vinegar (not apple cider-flavored) with the “mother” if possible (Bragg’s is good) for sprinkling over fresh-sliced cukes or making an old-fashioned German potato salad.
You also need real apple cider vinegar for making that traditional hot-day-farm-work drink: Switchel. We drank this as kids–it’s like nothing you’d buy in the store (except maybe a gingery kombucha), and it really cools you off. In a pinch, I will occasionally just add a splash of cider vinegar to a glass of super-cold water and quench my thirst that way.
But a cupboard with only distilled white and apple cider vinegar is spare, indeed. I will usually have on hand an assortment of other vinegars for various uses: malt for chips/fries or substituting for cider vinegar, rice vinegar for salads and fresh cuke slices, balsamic for fresh fruit salads and roasted veggies.
I will also occasionally pick up other “fancy” vinegars for various uses: red wine, white balsamic with pear, champagne (esp. good with oranges and other fruits!). And don’t forget the secret vinegar-y weapon that helps make my mom’s coleslaw dressing better than anyone else’s: pickle “juice.”