“Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is Bare” Salad – Thoughts on Plenty

Old Mother Hubbard and Her Dog
Old Mother Hubbard and Her Dog

Last week temperatures were in the low eighties in this unseasonably warm March, and all of Boston not only thawed but were seen sweating. On Thursday night, after working up a healthy appetite from a long walk on the Charles River, we got home to a cupboard reminiscent of a nursery rhyme: Mother Hubbard’s Bare Cupboard. There was no lettuce, no onions, no garlic, a couple sad-looking tomatoes (good only for cooking) no lentils, – it felt impossible and I realized in this case I was Mother Hubbard, and it wasn’t bones I needed for dogs. It was supper for my family.

Too tired to head to the grocery store, I stood staring in silence at an open, near empty refrigerator, hoping that inspiration would come to me. And an idea was borne. I had a half cup of left over fresh salsa, a can of corn, a box of pasta, a quarter cup of goat cheese, a half a cucumber and 4 frozen chicken tenderloins.

A half hour later I had Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is Bare” Salad – Delicious.  I thawed the chicken and cut it into small pieces, then sautéed it in olive oil. Placing it in a bowl I added the fresh salsa, corn, chopped up cucumber and goat cheese. While that cooled, the pasta cooked. 8 minutes later I rinsed off the pasta with ice-cold water and added it to the chicken mix.

It was an amazing salad, fresh and delicious. And it got me thinking – about my cupboard and what I consider bare, compared to a good number of people in the rest of the world. I thought it was bare because I didn’t have what I wanted.…not because it really was bare. Truth be told, we ate well and with a bit of fruit salad left over and some fresh strawberries, we even had a dessert.

In even a seemingly bare naked cupboard, I have so much. Through the simple act of creating a meal, I was given yet another lesson in plenty versus nothing. Had I seen only through the poverty of my eyes, I would have continued to see the cupboard as bare. Through left over salsa and goat cheese, corn, chicken and cucumber, my eyes opened wide with gratefulness at all that I have, and awareness of what others may lack. Perhaps the salad needs to be renamed to “Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard Has Plenty But You Need Good Eyesight to See it” Salad. 

Old Mother Hubbard, She went to the cupboard, to get her poor doggie a bone. But when she got there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor doggie had none!

10 thoughts on ““Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is Bare” Salad – Thoughts on Plenty

  1. I had mother hubbard soup tonight (one lone potato, some leftover white beans, a cup chicken stock from the freezer, a few leaves of kale from the garden and a handful of parsley) – nothing much but oh! so good. thanks for the reminder.


    1. Your soup sounds delicious! I think it’s that sense of accomplishment as well, that sense that “I did it” I was able to create something….Thanks for the recipe!


  2. What a wonderful post and a great lesson for all. I love your words and the way you put them together. I’m going to go and see what I can find in my cupboards. Hopefully no “science experiments”. ;) Thanks for visiting my blog. I really like yours!


    1. Judy – kind words indeed! Thank you so much. And let me know how that cupboard looks. I think my refrigerator is the thing that looks like it has science experiments right now …!


  3. I feel the same way when I look at my cupboard at school – I always see it as empty, yet out of laziness and lack of lots of money I don’t go shopping and still end up making DELICIOUS meals! It is important to see that we really have so much in the midst of feeling like we have nothing at all… Also, that meal sounds YUM! Tonight I made pasta and fish, sounds simple but this is what I did: pan fried the fish with olive oil and lemon juice, chili powder, and italian seasoning. broke it up and put it over pasta. on the pasta, artichokes, olive oil, and lemon juice. And it was DELISH! All in 15 minutes!!!


  4. I believe some of the best and most interesting recipes were created exactly this way. I know that’s what’s happened in my kitchen. Love this!


    1. You’re right! I remember thinking up this great mandarin orange and frozen raspberry something or other a few years ago. We don’t know how much we have until we have less is the lesson I guess! Thanks for reading.


Add to the discussion...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s