Free The Preserves! Empty the fridge!

The ultimate ingredient to success in the kitchen when you’re stuck at home for several weeks: the unexpected!

You open your fridge : uhmmm…yeah…

You open your cupboards : ho…hum… 


And there you have it, standing there helpless because all you have in the cupboard now is… what you put there, and often less fresh. And what’s more, if we’re being honest, is that what’s left on the shelves is what we like the least! Let’s not delude ourselves, what we like best, and what we give in to first has long been devoured, gobbled up, gulped down…often without us realizing it. 


So of course what we rediscover, often with dismay, (“did I really buy hearts of palm in April 2016?”) aren’t necessarily the most enticing things! 


Yet, in order to feel well, we need to follow the doctor’s orders : for our bodies to function properly, we need to eat “everything in moderation”, and what remains makes up part of that everything!

Faced with this fact, one solution remains to remotivate ourselves: we have to work on keeping things new!

We can get there simply based on what we know: each dish is characterized by its own flavors that vary from person to person. This makes it impossible to satisfy each person; there is no such thing as a recipe to please everyone. We have to make choices.


Take out a pencil and paper and make a list of everything you like to eat on a regular basis – you see? It’s usually the same from week to week. 


The same goes for things you don’t like, and then things you aren’t crazy about. With this last one, the list goes on – a first clue about what to work on!

Now, cross out all the ready-made meals , “but nothing is left!” you say.

Of course there is, there remains : how it’s cooked, what it’s made with… and then you realize that what you (often) like is linked to specific ways of cooking and preparation.


So, let’s try out doing the contrary; it’s what makes for something new and thus, unexpected. If you like it stewed, try it sautéed, stir-fried, etc. If you prefer it boiled, well then marinate it, grill it, or roast it!

In short, to make these dishes of few ingredients more appealing, do what comes least naturally to you!

The surprise element will spice up your cooking. Speaking of which, don’t forget to switch up your seasoning and condiments, or leave them out altogether! 


Don’t know where to begin? Take the potato. Nothing simpler with a 1001 ways to prepare it : fried, boiled with a drizzle of olive oil, some pepper and two pinches of salt, sautéed, au gratin, and if you have a yard or a balcony, cooked under hot embers on the barbecue. 


The same goes for noodles. If you like them well-cooked, make them al dente. If you like them hot, make them cold like the Japanese do, who present them beautifully on a plate, plunge them into a cold consomme, and devour them with chopsticks – I love it! Yet we can also fry pasta, make croquettes out of them (with onions, garlic, and parsley) or use them in an omelette.

In short, do the opposite of what you usually do!

And you know what, friends? This same advice applies to most things in our lives! 

Slimane Hamadache | Editor, Vegan chef

Vegan chef, Tai Chi teacher and ceramist. He’s a published writer and loves to perform in theatrical arts.

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