Cupboard Love Day Four

In Food on April 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm


I write this keeping an eye on the clock so I don’t forget the FLAPJACKS I have in the oven, although it’s quite hard to see out for my enormous halo…

The reason I’m making flapjacks is that Peggy needs to take food into school tomorrow, as she is staying behind for her dance show at 7pm. As we no longer do packed lunches I initially panicked thinking, ‘oh no, we don’t have that stuff in the house any more, I’ll have to go shopping…’

The old me would have gone straight to M&S for ham, cherry tomatoes, a tetra pack drink and a sugary snack, but no… cupboard love me stopped and thought.

We have left over chicken, there are plenty of carrots, still some pitas (although after this week, I never want to see them again…), apples, satsumas and she can take her water bottle. Then came the inspiration: and I can make some flapjacks.

So that’s her packed tea sorted and I haven’t had to buy a single thing, although I did treat her to a hot chocolate after school today because it had suddenly turned chilly and there was an hour before gymnastics.

As I handed over £2.20 for one hot drink, it made me think: that’s half of what I’ve spent on food this week. If I hadn’t bought the stupid biltong snacks o’shame on Monday it would have been the same.

Saving money wasn’t the inspiration for this project, I just wanted to clear my overstuffed pantry ready for fresh spring food, but it has really made me stop and think how much cash I’m wasting food shopping in such a careless manner.

Which makes it OK that I bought these fab new chairs for my garden this morning. (What a bargain at £50 for the four, including the perfect cushions.)

What I’ve eaten today:
Bircher muesli with prunes (another of Liedl’s finest lines).
Some random bits of salami and cherry tomatoes.
Toasted pitta bread with cold roast chicken, slightly limp salad from bag opened two days ago, cherry tomatoes, Hellman’s mayo.
Burnt corners of flapjacks, straight from oven.

  1. I do try to use up all the fresh things, like fruit and veg, and not to overdo the buying, but man, those supermarkets are so tempting! And I am happy to eat make do meals, but husband……Started the 5:2 diet last who, that certainly reduces consumption, are you still doing it, Maggiem

    • I was about to ask the same thing about 5:2! My pantry is also bursting but it would take me 2/7ths longer to empty it as I calorie-restrict two days a week! I just had my one year ‘fastiversary’.

  2. I love the post Maggie! I grew up on a remote property in nsw so we were constantly “making do” with what was in the pantry until someone went to town. I love getting my pantry down to nothing and starting again- yummly is my best friend when I have two random ingredients and need some inspiration. But it’s at odds with my husband’s mindset- he likes a store of canned ingredients always on hand in case disaster strikes (bushfire, swine flu, terrorist attack have all kept him awake). And like Julia Roberts, I can tell when he’s been in the pantry because the tins are straight, sorted by product and with all labels facing forward… Ps we have exactly the same thing for breakfast (grated apples, not prunes!)

  3. Go Maggie! It’s no news to me, how to save $ on food—just ask any immigrant from a “developing” country, or anyone who live through a war….I love that you’re not being all trendy about it either. Really over the food bloggers who crap on about ethic ingredients and really basic things (like, I don’t know….stuff our grandmothers did, like not using harmful plastic) as if they discovered them personally. You’re just being practical and not wasteful, brilliant. When you ‘cook from the cupboard’ you make more interesting food choices that you wouldn’t have made otherwise and experiment more. If you have a vege garden it gets even more fun and delicious.

  4. Maggie – I’m loving these posts! We too are eating from the pantry & freezer, (there’s just two of us – I dont know why I have all this dry food and meat squirrelled away….) with just fresh milk, bread & the occasional green viegie being purchased – the savings are enormous. This is part of my New Years resolution – I started with “shopping my wardrobe” and doing alterations/updating some of the 80% that hardly gets worn – feling very virtuous! Keep it up and please keep us updated with your progress.

    • Thanks Susie – I’ve really been taken by surprise by this experience. I feel really inspired by it and it’s making me understand all kinds of things about the way we are influenced to overbuy food. And I’m just loving the amazing comments people are posting. Also interesting that you make the link to the wardrobe thing, because I’ve been thinking that too. It’s the same consuming impulse.

  5. just put my first ever batch of flapjacks in the oven! Never made them before but they seem to be quite like the good old Anzacs I make on a regular basis. Hope they work out. Cheers

    • They are Anzacs basically – let me know how they come out. It’s something I can make in my sleep, so I’m going to do it more often and not just BUY. Can also be topped with chocolate and there are so many ways you can fool around with them. I’ve put sesame seeds in, nuts, raisins…

  6. Maggie how does your hubby cope with the meals?

    • He was away when I started it! We’re all back home now, but he’s pretty easy going and his beautiful mother (who died last week…) never wasted anything, so he’ll understand and appreciate it – while secretly longing for a chop… x

  7. Dear Maggie, very impressive – spending so little on new food purchases. Using up the left overs makes such a difference. Lazy me, I buy a roasted free-range chicken once in a while (not for guests, just me). So many different ways to get through all the meat – really love the asian/laksa style soup for the last lot – so easy and delicious with noodles, chilli etc. Have become much better at not wasting food as I get older (and as food becomes more expensive) which is of course a very good thing. My all time favourite larder dish is a Putinesca (spelt) pasta; it has become my go to comfort food. Anchovies, onions, garlic (lots), olive oil, chillies, black pepper and a whole bunch of fresh parsley and basil – topped with best parmesan – heaven!
    PS An ex is a chef. Trained and worked in top kitchens. The store cupboards, cold rooms etc inventories very serious business indeed; a lot of money can be wasted if purchases don’t find their way onto a restaurant table within a particular time frame (each of our kitchens are mini restaurants too, aren’t they?). B

  8. Oh Maggie, just read some of the comments in this column – so sorry to hear your husband’s mother has died. Hope you are all coping as well as can be expected. Getting old is a bitch.

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