Sounds cheap, rubbery and unappetizing, yes?
Well, it’s not! But like my home decor, our recent menu has been uncoordinated, piecemeal and make-do.
Generally, I like to plan meals, and then make a grocery shopping list. This keeps me on budget and in-and-out of the store fast. But I’ve been challenged to tighten the purse strings even more. This has been tricky considering that our biggest splurges are chocolate chips and sugar for baking. I don’t buy yogurt every week now, but have cut that “splurge” to once a month. We don’t buy juice, crackers, or convenience foods (unless you count the 25-cent box of mac&cheese reserved for an emergency meal).
This summer, we’ve had a surplus of garden produce and free milk, foods that spoil unless consumed or processed fairly quickly. This wonderful bounty proved to be a blessing and a challenge to my structured meal-planning habits and my desire to always offer a “main” dish with 2 veggies (one of which should be green.)
To deal with this challenge, I pretend we are a poor family living in the Depression era with no food in the house other than these particular foods gifted us by a kind neighbor. So I HAVE to make a meal with that food or there will be no supper. Surely, I’m not the only one who plays “pretend” in her head. If I am, please don’t tell me. I’ll just keep believing I am normal.
So with this pretense in my head, last Saturday I produced a supper of . . . . . . . . .Rice Pudding, okra and cucumbers.
I did add eggs to the rice pudding to up the protein. I also doubled it, because us Depression-era housewives have a heavy load, and I didn’t have time to be whipping up another meal from scratch for the next day’s breakfast.
So the children had rice pudding again for Sunday breakfast. There were no complaints. At lunchtime, they cheered when I used browning bananas and milk to concoct “banana cereal.”
And for supper?
Well, I still had milk to get rid of. I also had this . . . . .
pumpkin that my mother-in-law CANned back in 2007. Don’t ask me to explain how I CAN be a Depression-era housewife with pumpkin CANned in 2007. My brain CAN make it work. CAN’t yours?
Now back to my supper plans — I tossed the pumpkin in the Electrolux (it’s the poor woman’s kitchen appliance, you know) with generous quantities of milk, eggs and spices.
No one in this house complained one bit when I pulled 2 pumpkin pies out of the oven, served them with fresh milk and called it supper.
I think everyone had 3 slices each.
Then we waddled away from the table.
Knowing that my mother-in-law’s garden has been overrun with pumpkins this year, and that I have a good chance of begging some free pumpkins off her (we Depression-era housewives have no pride, we’ll do anything to feed our families), I asked Sid if he thought he could deal with pumpkin pies for supper once a week.
“I think I shall look forward to that,” he replied.
2 thoughts on “Frugal Flexible Food”
Love this, Tina! I have been trying to be more “creative” in using what we have to get our grocery budget down…and you have been a great inspiration!