Make Do with What You Have

When I was studying in Florence last spring, I learned about cucina povera. This phrase literally translates to “poor kitchen”, but is a concept of cooking that is highly valued in Italy.  It’s about “making do with what you have”, using just what is available to you to make something wonderful and appreciating the flavors of those few ingredients.

This concept has come to mean so much more to me than I would have expected.

I often find myself comparing my life, my skills, and my personal achievements to those of others.  What I don’t think about is the experiences, skills, and achievements others do not have that have built me. I’m changing my mindset to make do with what I have and use every ounce of myself to achieve my goals and dreams.  I want to learn to appreciate all the uniqueness of my life and use it to live wholly. 

I want to be my introverted self that enjoys spending time doing absolutely nothing so I can fuel my creativity. I want to be my quiet self so I can listen and truly understand the people around me. I want to be my anxious self that I throw into new and uncomfortable situations on purpose because adventures make me feel alive.

It’s what I have, and it’s wonderful. 




Tomato/Chickpea/Lentil Soup


I made this soup last week when I desperately needed to go to grocery store…or so I thought. In my pantry, I found a can of crushed tomato, a can of chickpeas, and half a bag of lentils. With cucina povera on the mind, this is what I came up with:

In a pot add:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 medium onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Sautee for a couple minutes until fragrant. Add:

1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth/stock (or vegetable stock)

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp thyme

3/4 cup lentils

1 can chickpeas, drained

salt/pepper to taste

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 min. 

It’s even better with a little sprinkle of parmigiano on top!






One thought on “Make Do with What You Have

  1. Rachel, I didn’t know you wrote so well! It’s like discovering another part of your personality. We all know you can bake whatever comes to mind. I’ve been in a soup mode this winter and will try your recipe. Not many are able to create food as well as you. We’re cheering you on as you begin ‘that adult thing’. Love you much!


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