ONE more week and the last of our lot heads back to school for his final year. One more year, ya hear that? One more year of school terms a...

ONE more week and the last of our lot heads back to school for his final year. One more year, ya hear that? One more year of school terms and school holidays and the kind of routine that rolls with them because you know what, it’s boring, isn’t it? No, go on, it is.

Maybe it’s another wet weekend that’s done it to me, but I am bored to snores with the routine of our busy household. The chores are all done and there’s always food in the fridge but man, oh man, I’m kickin’ against knowing what’s going to be on the table three days ahead of time and eating the same portable lunch day in, day out because it travels well on the two-hour commute, doesn’t leak and doesn’t smell. Kickin’, I tells ya.

I swear the growing collection of old cook books is about looking for that perfect recipe. You know the one? It’s the one where all the ingredients are in the cupboard. The one everyone will like: the vegetarian, the meat-eater who hates vegetables, the diet-conscious and the carb-loader. The one you can whip out for guests and have on the table looking like it was no effort at all. Every time I bring a 50c cookbook home from the op shop, I scour it for some wisdom of the past, reading menu planners, ingredients and quantities like I am consulting an oracle.

So many cook books come out each and every season, and we, chumps all, buy them but, truth be told, the two cookbooks pulled from our shelves more often than not are old kindergarten and school fundraiser. Each one of those recipe bears the name of a women who’d baked and boiled and broiled and mashed and marinaded until she could do no more and turned instead to that one true fool-proof, time-saving, cost-effective dish – and bless her, she shared it.

What’s your one dish wonder?


The Family Cookbook: (Published on behalf of Stork Cookery Bureau, 1971), 50c, Vinnies
Kitchen Fun For Everyone: A cookbook for boys and girls: (Published on behalf of The Australian Dried Fruits Association, date unknown), $2, House of Stuff
Tooled leather purse: 50c, Vinnies
Willow Australia pie plate: $4, Salvos

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  1. Our stock cupboard dish is...'what's-left-in-the-fridge-stir-fry'...we spice it up with various things from the freezer, store cupboard, often tastes even better the next day. We never manage to repeat it though as we always seem to have different things leftover.

    We also specialise in 'what-no-bread', basically a weekend dish to make when we've run out of bread. Rub flour & butter together to form breadcrumbs, add milk until dough like, shape & bake. (basically a scone type mix to which we add 'whatever's around', so it could be sweet- spices, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, chopped fruit or then again savoury- onion, garlic, pepper, herbs, celery, dried tomatoes, etc...)

  2. That's sooooo true about cookbooks!
    In times of crisis I always turn to Lady Flo's cookbook. It has all the basics. All the comfort foods you could ever need.
    I would have no idea how to please all the different appetites at your place though!

  3. Yes! Precisely. I get sent a lot of cookbooks for work and as a result my shelves groan with them (until I get fed up and do a big chuck). Yet it's the same 1-2 I cook from. Every now and then I try to branch out ... but I always come straight back to the fold!

  4. M uses recipe matcher & other like minded websites to match what's in the kitchen with what we could cook:

    I prefer to just wing it but M swears by this as a way to plan stuff.

    Bugger about your routine. Curious as to what's in that lunch that travels well. Today for lunch at work I had olive bread, a boiled and lettuce from our garden. Talk about simple! But it did the trick.

  5. please share some your your favs.

    as for me, it might not be overly exciting but tuna & pasta is always in the pantry so i can always make a pasta bake.

  6. You can't go wrong with a spiced chickpea dish in our house ... or a tomato / lentil soup - they use the kinds of canned ingredients always available in the pantry, and with the addition of a few spices ... delicious! :)

  7. Urgh, meant to type 'boiled egg' above.

  8. We love pasta, and I always keep lots of cans of crushed tomatoes, I always have garlic and chilli on hand, and who doesn't have an onion. I always have a few pots of fresh herbs on hand, basil for this one.
    Put on a big pot of water for pasta.
    Fry the onion first until soft add the garlic(that's the secret,not to burn the garlic) add whole chilli here and let it cook around for a minute then remove. Add the can of tomatoes, use potato mashed to keep squashing down, thro in a big handful of basil, a bit of sugar and half cup of water. Presto! Pasta arabiata and great to reheat next day.

  9. I usually have tinned tomatoes & onions, and a carrot & zucchini sliced using the potato peeler - adds bulk without being obtrusive. Add meat of any flavour, appropriate herbs, mushrooms and one of rice, pasta or potatoes, and some kind of cheatin' sauce in a jar/bottle, and that's my best quick dinner. Works to feed Mr Golightly 9 times out of 10. Lucky he doesn't care as long as he doesn't have to cook it!

  10. I thrifted the kids dried fruit cookbook too this year: mostly for the illustrations: too cute!

  11. I love leafing through my mums old torn women's weekly bible. It smells of her and afternoons sitting perched on the kitchen table waiting for a spoon lick. Even now as a grown up it's still my special spot no matter how hard dad tries to discourage me from sitting there and looking through the recipes of my childhood x