Thursday 8 December 2011

Making Do

Making do is something I usually do not find hard at all. It applies to many areas of my life, and is not always due to my, admittedly, rather precarious financial situation or lack of opportunity, but often brought about by myself quite deliberately, because I actually enjoy the challenge of making do, while a huge range of options and choices can be somewhat  overwhelming at times.

Much as I like new things - who doesn't? - especially clothes (these will one day be my downfall, I predict!), I do not always want new stuff. Instead, I really like using things until they literally fall apart, and if I was better (and had more patience) at mending and repairing, hardly anything would ever get replaced in my flat. For instance, part of my furniture belonged to my grandparents, bought in the 1930s when they got married; some of my kitchen tools (such as my favourite wooden spoon) are way older than myself, and appliances like my washing machine and microwave were bought in the 1990s for my grandma and used by her until she died in 2001. Only in 2008, when I turned 40, I changed my bedroom to new furniture I'd bought for myself - up until then, I had been making do with hand-me-downs from other family members and leftovers from my first marriage.

The area where I "make do" most often is in the kitchen.
When my husband was still alive, it was his pride and joy to make sure our fridge and the food cupboards were always well stocked, and he did almost all the cooking, with a few exceptions that were clearly my resort, such as SpƤtzle or pizza. So, after he died, getting used to providing my own meals was more difficult than I would have imagined, and while I never ran out of cat food, it did happen a few times that I did not have a single piece of bread left in the house, and it took a while before the simple fact of there not being any bread unless I got some sunk in.

Two years later, I have become better at keeping provisions, but there are still times when I open my fridge and it lookes like the typical single-household fridge, containing not much more than a few bottles of sparkling wine, a yoghurt or two, and a chunk of cheese.

Sometimes, after a weekend with RJ (when he is here, we always have proper meals, since we enjoy both the cooking and the eating together), I have leftovers that we did not use, and since I hate throwing food away, I like to make something with whatever I find in my fridge during the week.

A while ago, those findings included a small zucchini and (not surprisingly) some cheese, and I knew just what this was going to become:

While I was boiling some pasta, I grated the zucchini into a pan with a little olive oil and added some salt and pepper as well as a dried herbs mixture (containing, among others, Oregano).

By the time the pasta was ready, I had diced the cheese and stirred the grated zucchini a few times. Now I added the pasta and the diced cheese and kept stirring until the cheese was melted.

It smelled and looked quite nice, and was tasty, too!

For dessert, I had coffee and a slice of my mum's home baked apple bread (more a tea cake than a bread, very delicious and sweet).

Yes, I like to make do - every time I start, the result is a surprise, but so far, it has always been a pleasant one.


  1. I like the challenge of creating a meal from a random selection of ingredients - although in my case it's usually because the fridge is so full I can't see what's in there and get a surprise when I start rummaging around.

  2. Hello:
    Well, we can confidently say that, when left to our own devices, your fridge looks positively overflowing in comparison with ours. Only a light bulb greets us as we open the door with the eager anticipation that something delicious by some strange chance may have found its own way in there!

    Your courgette, cheese and pasta combination looks absolutely super. No making do at all there in our book as it looks good enough to be served at a restaurant. However, your 'making do' philosophy is something with which we should heartily concur. There is far too much waste in the world in our view and food wastage particularly depresses us!

  3. Patsy, in a way, yours is the same challenge - just the other way round! Welcome to my blog and as my latest "follower"; thank you for taking the time to stop by!

    Jane and Lance, you should see my fridge right now! I am expecting my girlfriends for an evening of food and fun tomorrow, and have done some shopping today. Nothing fancy, but to feed six of us I certainly need different quantities to my usual one-person-portions.
    Thank you for likening my zucchini gratucciati to something fit enough to be served at a restaurant - this is a huge compliment to my not so pronounced cooking "talent".

  4. Your fridge looks beatifully tidy. Mine is full of moudering jars, half-full of pickles and jams that have been given to us.And scraps of unusable leftovers. And horrible sweet wine that was too awful to cook with, and get the picture. I love the idea of you cooking meals with wooden spoon in one hand and camera in the other!

  5. Mmmm, looks good, I'll try that.

    Merci beaucoup,


  6. He he Frances, that's pretty much what it is like sometimes when I am in the kitchen - wooden spoon and camera seem to be my most important tools!
    As for the contents of a fridge, I stick to the old football rule: if in doubt, kick (or, in that case, chuck) it out...

    SP, you are welcome! It was done in 15 minutes, which is about the average time I am willing to spend on preparing a meal for myself.

  7. This is the tidiest fridge ever! I hate wasting food, and stack every left over the in the fridge - where it stays until it grows enough fur and legs to walk by itself...

  8. It's just wrong that your fridge be that empty! Even when I was single mine didn't look like yours! LOL!!! I'm happy to hear it's stalked for your girlfriends! Enjoy and mangiare, as they say in Italy!

  9. Oh, but Macy, throwing leftovers together - especially those you would normally not combine - is so much fun, and the result is usually a lot better than you'd expect :-) On the other hand, having those leftovers take care of themselves is one method to deal with them, he he

    Mary, the disadvantage of an empty fridge is that I can not offer an impromptu meal to surprise guests. But that's what pizza delivery services are for, and I have Joey's just round the corner from my house :-)

  10. I love the way you can make a nice meal from just a few ingredients!
    That fridge made me laugh, here I am telling folks you are thin from walking so much but perhaps it might have something to do with not having tons of food to tempt you? :-)

  11. Denise, enjoy your meal, whatever it is going to be!

    Kay, I guess it's a combination of both; add to that the fact that I simply am FULL at some stage and can not eat loads in one single meal, no matter how much good stuff is on offer (say, buffet lunches or breakfasts).

  12. I like to cook like this, too. In fact, I was always an experimental cook (except for perhaps a dozen special meals always the same) even when I was cooking for 5 people, three times a day....It's very satisfying. You are a creative person, Meks!

  13. Thanks, Kristi! Yes, some dishes need to stay the same, proven and tested, we don't want them varying at all, but with other things, it is fun to experiment with what there is.