A Good Home

Idiot-Proof Comfort Food


For a few years now, I’ve been following two rules to improve my cooking, and save money at the same time:

  1. Use simple recipes
  2. Use what’s already in the fridge, freezer or pantry

The first recipe my friend John Garside taught me has just three ingredients.

“You can’t go wrong with this one!” he said.

“Wanna bet?” I asked.  “I made a two-ingredient dish — cauliflower and cheese — and completely forgot the cheese!”

John just smiled a beatific smile.

“I’m serious,” I insisted. “My husband stopped me from cooking for years after the accident. I’d either forget the pot on the stove, or forget half the ingredients. Awful.”

“Just try this recipe,” John said. “And let me know.”


First, get about 3 or 4 medium size onions.

Then, 2 or 3 medium size sweet potatoes.

Then a can of chickpeas.

“Got that, Cynthia?”

“Yes, John.” I madly scribbled as he spoke.

“You can add seasonings if you wish, but not necessary… Now, slice up the onions and simmer them in a pot with a bit of oil or butter for one hour.”

“One hour?”

“No less than an hour.”


“Peel and slice the potatoes, thinly.”

“How thinly?”

John held his thumb and forefinger slightly apart.

“Layer that on top of the onions and simmer for one hour.”

“One hour?”

“Yes, another hour. Then, rinse the chickpeas, add and simmer for an hour.”

Another hour?”

“Yes. Do not try to hurry it up. It won’t taste as good.”

“Okay, John,” I said obediently.

“Ann and I call it ‘Fired Onions'”.

“Fired onions?”

Turns out, the name comes from when the couple stopped at a restaurant that had a sign saying “Fired Onions”. Someone misspelled the word ‘fried’.

“Now,” said John. “Remember what I told you: the burner must be at the lowest level. Not medium, not a bit low, but the lowest setting possible.”

“Okay, then!”


It worked! Thank you, John.

Photo by John Garside