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Scraping the Bottom

A former room mate of mine had a book titled “What to Eat When there’s Nothing in the House for Dinner” (or something similarly labeled). We were in college then, subsisting on a stipend from our parents and the pittance netted from various part-time jobs (copy editing at the University of Maryland’s daily for me, serving up plate-fuls of organic cafe cuisine for her). Somehow we managed to do quite well on very little — perhaps in part because of her deep discount at the local organic market where she worked, or the lack of variety in our diet (I don’t remember an over-abundance of salads). We were creative, and did make the most of what we had –or didn’t.

Things are different now. I have a job that pays more than $8/hour, and access to a wonderful farmers market. I pick up extra vegetables or bananas at the organic market up the street from my apartment; they are, on average, of superior quality, if a bit expensive. I save pasta dinners for when I’m fairly worn out and inspiration has fled — they are no longer a requisite part of my weekly menu when I have so many other options.

But this week, the larder is a bit more bare than usual. I was away for five days, and will be out of town again this weekend, so I have refrained from buying too many delicacies. My (new) refrigerator is questionable, and I am loathe to stock up in case it fails and I lose everything. So I was reminded of my friend’s cookbook last night when I thought about what to make for lunch. I didn’t have much, and I wanted it to be fairly healthy. I made some quinoa of dubious quality, added some frozen corn, and a cut up block of tofu. It’s not ambitious, but I hope it will be edible and filling (it’s certainly protein-rich).

What do you make when you don’t have much in the pantry?


  1. The last one was from me, jessie grandon… don’t know why it’s marked anonymous… love you to pieces!

  2. I always have a box of Annie’s, frozen broccoli, and MorningStar Vegetarian Buffalo wings! Actually, I think we probably have that for dinner about once a week! Hee hee! Love you Nicolie!

  3. What so I make when there’s nothing around? I consult that oh so fabulous book!
    You make our lives sound so artsy and exotic. Aaah, the good ole days……….The birth of corn chowder and bottomless pots of kitchen-sink soup.

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