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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Frugal Kitchens 101 - My Underlying Principles for Saving on the Cost of Food

Frugal Kitchens 101

I firmly believe that good food does not have to cost a lot.  The problem is the food industry has so brainwashed consumers to believe they need a lot of the expensive, nutritionally poor foods then the fast food industry takes over from there telling people it is too time consuming and difficult to cook.  Throughout mankind, people have been able to feed themselves without relying on the food industry or fast food industry for a good portion of their foods.  This week's Frugal Kitchens 101 addresses some of my underlying principles for cooking good but inexpensive foods.  These principles and practices are used extensively throughout this blog.  

  • realize that cooking does not have to take a lot of time or effort 
  • refer to older cookbooks especially those from the Great Depression era and pre-1970's that use simpler ingredients to create great dishes
  • avoid all packaged foods except for dry pastas, dried beans and basics like flours and sugars, rices and some baking needs that you might not be able to find in bulk
  • make your own convenience mixes (eg. store bought cake mix 99¢, homemade about 17¢)
  • make your own seasoning blends (eg. store bought poultry seasoning $3.29, homemade about 30¢)
  • avoid buying herbs and spices in the grocery store especially those expensive little bottles; buy herbs and spices in bulk from a bulk food store, Amish store or similar type of store where you can control the amount you want to buy
  • home food preservation can save a considerable amount of money and it is not difficult to learn or expensive to find the necessary equipment
  • avoid buying pre-chopped, pre-made anything with the exception of phyllo dough, olives unless you live where they grow,
  • pasta, rice and beans are your true budget stretchers so keep a lot of varieties of each in your pantry so your meals don't get boring
  • try to plan as much as possible for leftover meals by cooking a bit extra for the planned leftover meal while cooking the first meal
  • reserve freezer space for the expensive foods like meats, fish, some vegetable rather than the cheap foods like breads
  • copykat recipes (clone recipes) are a great way to enjoy your favourite take-out food without the expense or leaving your home
  • grow whatever you can grow including any vegetables, fruits, herbs and meats like backyard chickens and rabbits
  • waste not, the vast majority of kitchen waste from peelings to packaging can be reused in some fashion

4 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

Thanks for this list of suggestions.

Chey can cook! (and more) said...

I totally agree! Love the tip about using older cookbooks/recipes that didn't have all of the fancy/schmancy recipes - not necessary for a great, family meal!

Garden Gnome said...

You're welcome Linda :)

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Chey :) Those older cookbooks can be a real asset for frugal cooking.