“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!