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Knowledge, Eat

This Month I’m Inspired By: The Use‘em Up

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Actually, that’s not strictly true. I’ve been inspired by the Use’em-Up since we were housebound last March, and the weekly food shop was suddenly forced to accommodate extra meals as breakfast lunch and dinner were all to be eaten en-famille around the kitchen table. That’s not even counting ingredients for Cake-of-the-Week; a lockdown staple which has outlived social distancing (if the current predictions at the time of writing are correct).

A combination of this shift in food quantity and the regular reading of fellow columnist Manda Tudge’s Carbon Chronicles has caused me to reflect on food waste and embark on a new regime of meal prep, now fondly referred to as ‘The Use‘em-Up’. And what an unexpected delight it has been; I now scorn sell-by dates and go purely by smell and texture. Sweaty ham? No thank you. Slightly hardened ham? Perfect for chopping into some droopy green beans, a tin of tomatoes and a few cloves of garlic for a Middle Eastern-inspired supper. A weekend roast no longer seems profligate for a family of three when I can enjoy it in the knowledge that at some point in the following week, we’ll be dining on a bastardised Chinese style chicken fried rice and lunching on chicken soup – aka Jewish penicillin.

Moreover – and perhaps this is its strongest selling point – Use‘em-Up helps relieve the tedium of deciding what to cook. It’s a daily challenge, my own private version of Ready Steady Cook, but instead of a shopping bag of random ingredients, I am forced to puzzle a delectable dinner out of half a packet of feta, a handful of soggy spinach and leftover rice. Sometimes I cheat and search up my disparate selection, adding the word ‘recipe’ on the end. A squeeze of lemon and a tin of chickpeas added to the above yielded Spanokorizo – or Greek Rice (the chickpeas were my attempt to bulk it out a bit so please don’t @ me). We might have been grounded in Oxford but our culinary adventures have taken us around the world.


Triffle qxd6k2
Fri 1 Dec 2023

St Clement’s Trifle 

Thyme and Again

Recipes and notes from Charlie Hibbert, Chef Director at Thyme: a pastoral idyll which offers a place to pause for thought in harmony with the seasons.

Let s Eat Cookbook by Dan Pelosi jctciy
Fri 1 Dec 2023

Equating food and love is a well-worn trope, but when you’re rushing to get a meal out it’s sometimes hard to make a quick pasta dinner into an expression of feeling. In Let’s Eat, 100 Recipes to Fill your Heart and Home, Dan Pelosi has done the work for you. “A warm-hug of home cooking”; its pages are stuffed full of love.

holly i1vg6v
Fri 1 Dec 2023

The Christmas carol The Holly and the Ivy has been a much-cherished part of Christmas traditions in this country since the 1700s. But what is the significance of this beautiful evergreen?

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Thu 2 Nov 2023

Monday 13 November marks World Kindness Day, but at the time of writing I’m on my period and everyone is pissing me off, so I’m preaching about self-kindness again instead.