One of the things I am most enjoying as I review Sonia Cabano’s book, easy, simple & delicious, is the ‘staples’ chapter.  Here she shows how to “stock up the larder with a cook’s a-z, from basic breads to zesty sauces”.

I have crystal-clear memories of my mother, tired at the end of a busy day in the hairdressing salon, arriving home and telling us she was ‘too wilted’ to cook supper.  In those days we had nothing in the way of delis or convenience food stores and there was nothing for it but to toss a few lettuce leaves and tomatoes, open a tin of sardines and slice up a loaf of bread.

Nowadays we are fortunate enough to have the likes of Ina Paarman and we can pillage the supermarket shelves for handy standbys like salad dressings, pesto and marinades.

Yesterday was a day of unqualified horror and I had – with all good intentions of making a creamy pasta bake for supper – roasted some chicken breasts during my morning desk stint.  My afternoon turned pear-shaped and it was almost dusk before my thoughts returned to supper, by which time I could well relate to my mother’s lament of wiltedness; I was pooped and in no shape to face my stove.

A little sachet of Paarman’s sundried tomato vinaigrette had been lurking in my grocery cupboard for some time and it proved a release from the tensions of my day to slowly rip the chicken breasts into shreds and toss them about with my salad ingredients.


“The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live.”



Indeed …


43 thoughts on “THE CHEAT’S LARDER

  1. Last night the wife was frightfully wilted as well and kept on saying … “Oh its a disaster … a disaster”.

    The disaster turned out to be quite tasty and she also applied liberal “staples” to a type of potato-bake.

    Seems like Tuesdays make people go all limp …. 🙂

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  3. Does look lovely, the chicken salad. I was intrigued by Confucius’ words: “The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live.” Made me scramble to remember how I cut my meat – no, not so much that, but reflecting on what it means about the way I live (oops, accidentally typed ‘love’ 🙂 – now I’m wondering what that means?) LOL

  4. There’s nothing wrong with staples in the larder. I sometimes wish I had a chef living in my cupboards for the days when I’m too pooped to think about cooking supper let alone think of it!
    All I can say about tonight, is thank God for leftovers!

    • Most interesting, it never occurred to me.

      larder noun 1 a cool room or cupboard for storing food, originally bacon. 2 a wild animal’s winter store of food.
      ETYMOLOGY: 14c: from French lardier, from Latin laridum bacon fat.

      • Pantries can be any size from a small closet to a walk in butler’s pantry, with room for everything (including a kitchen sink).

        None of our pantries have been “cooler” than surrounding rooms, so maybe they don’t qualify as larders..

      • I live in a house that was built for orthodox Jews, there is a room which was designated as the ‘milch’ room for dairy produce and it is wonderfully dark and cool. And large. We store our suitcases and garden furniture cushions in it.

    • According to Niels:
      “what you need to realise that a reflection is the opposite of what is. Left is right and right is left. So it basically means you are a dull and orderly person.”

  5. Pingback: THE KEY TO A TIN OF SARDINES « The only Cin

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