What’s for dinner when you have an ‘Empty Fridge’?

Most parents can appreciate the daily grind that is dinner time. In my life BC (Before Children), I loved cooking. In fact, dinner parties were my hobby – planning the menu, sourcing ingredients, setting the table and spending hours cooking. Sadly, my ‘good china’ hasn’t been unpacked since we moved house eight years ago and now my only goal when it comes to feeding my family of six each night is to put something on the table that isn’t met with a chorus of ‘yucks’.

So for all the parents who have stood, staring into the cupboard for dinner inspiration, comes Empty Fridge, by French author and illustrator Gaetan Doremus.

Empty Fridge is a story about dinner time at a five-storey apartment building. The residents have all had busy days and, on returning home, find their cupboards practically bare. One has some carrots, another has some peas. One has some eggs and another some capsicum. None of these ingredients alone is enough to make a meal but what happens when all the neighbours get together?

In the top-floor apartment, Rose takes stock of all the ingredients and suggests they make a quiche. Everyone works together, slicing and dicing vegetables and rolling pastry to cook their communal meal. The neighbours decide to eat outside and discover that the whole neighbourhood has gathered to eat together, which is where my favourite line from the book is used:

“Thousands of quiches are shared and eaten. Slices of quiche, slices of life.”


Empty Fridge is a treat – from its large format, fridge-like shape to the beautifully detailed drawings of people in their houses. Each of the neighbours is given a different colour representing the food they contribute and as they come together, the colours amass, finishing with the festive al fresco scene at the end (see picture above).

Empty Fridge is suitable for children aged three years and over. Find it online at Readings.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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