Food on the Cheap

In the course of my work day, I learned that John T. Edge wrote his master’s thesis on pot likker. I slap my forehead and wonder why I didn’t think of that. And then I wonder what there is to write about pot likker, other than the ecstasy of eating it, and perhaps a definition, that it is the liquid left in the pot after cooking greens, with all the pork fat and salt and greens juice. Sounds gross, don’t it. But it’s not. Dip some cornbread in it, put in your mouth, and you are transported.
I kept reading and learned his thesis was not an homage to pot likker but a
cultural and historical analysis of letters between Huey Long and Julian
Harris debating pot likker. That’s probably interesting too.
I am still trying to figure out ways to spend less on food while still eating healthy. This has been a real challenge. My latest effort is to track what I’m eating and how much it cost. Google Calendar is pretty handy for this so far. Today I ate cereal and milk for about $1.50, a frozen dinner of sweet and sour chicken for $2.50, and a yogurt for $.70. I had an omelet for supper–the eggs are free thanks to these two, but the half a bell pepper, cheese, diced ham, and green onions amounted to around $2.50. That’s not bad, really, $7.20 for food for a day. If I could keep up that thriftiness, that’s $216 a month. Which for me is a lot. (Though an improvement, or at least so says my dwindling savings.)
When you’re trying to save money, what do you eat?

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7 Responses to Food on the Cheap

  1. wubbahed says:

    You have got to read this week’s food section of the NYTimes magazine. The main article is about a four-star chef who tried to cook meals using only food from a 99 cent store. Brilliant.
    http://tinyurl.com/yqvz4f

  2. Hannah says:

    One of my tricks is to be pretty aggressive about shopping from grocery store’s sale ads. It’s funny–I was just reading the Kroger ad before I came over to Spynotebook. They’ve got some good deals on fruit this week and fish. (Are you vegetarian? I can’t remember…) Anyway, most stores post their ads online so I try to keep up with those. And if certain things are really good deals, I will freeze them for later. In the produce aisle, I avoid prepackaged salad mixes & just buy heads of romaine or leaf lettuce which tends to be much cheaper. And lastly, lots of beans. 🙂

  3. Courtney says:

    My favorite bit from the article that Wubbahed linked to:
    I will continue to serve my “pear soup” [a mixture of Goya and Kern’s pear nectars served with star anise floating on top]. I will continue to worship at the altar of Goya’s dulce de leche wafers. I will continue to make my pea soup using frozen peas, particularly as the recipe I devised is so wonderfully easy. (Slice and sauté an onion. Add 3 cups chicken stock, a 1-pound bag of frozen peas, 1/3 cup oats, 1/8 teaspoon cardamom, some salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Purée in blender.)

  4. When I was single and not working in corporate America, there was this pizza place that had a 2 large pizzas with two toppings each for 12.22. Sunday nights I would buy two pizzas and stretch them out until Thursday. Friday night I would reward myself with a “real meal” (usually at TGI Fridays or Ruby Tuesday). Saturday was Ramen noodle day and then the process would begin again.
    Why women didn’t find this lifestyle appealing is way beyond me.

  5. stephanie says:

    Back when I worked at UGA Press I ate a bowl of beans and rice from Taco Stand every day for $.99. Some days I had that for lunch *and* dinner. Not sure how healthy it is, but it it sure is filling and cheap!

  6. Courtney says:

    Don’t forget Aunt Joan’s tip to make up bran muffin mix, keep it in the fridge till ready to bake, add nuts or blueberries if desired (can use frozen blueberries, just mix with a bit of sugar before adding to mix).

  7. Christie says:

    Hi!
    When RT married me, I informed him that Ramen is banned in my presence. He has been kind enough to stick with the ban.
    I have found that drinking a lot of water helps. There are times when the body registers “hungry” but really means “thirsty.” I doubt this is an issue here, but thought I’d mention.
    Avoiding salty foods ironically means you will feel less hungry/eat less. Most snack foods are designed to try and keep you eating as much and as long as possible, and obviously you’re avoiding that.
    This year I have experimented with carob in place of chocolate and find the carob less “addictive.”
    When I was out of work I’d volunteer for the food bank. They do things like nutrition classes and teaching expectant teens how to cook. I’d wash dishes for the class, and get a free meal. This was a big deal at the time. I looked forward all week to the volunteering — and the meal which came with it.
    I would also do things like make pasta of some sort & dump a can of canned soup in with it. And boxed mac and cheese. Even putting a bit of meat or canned tuna in the mac and cheese (white cheese for me, thanks) seemed to help it go further (feeling less hungry afterward).
    RT does stuff like buy a pound of onions, grill them in some way, and that’s dinner. Doing things like that with vegetables is fine if you also have some kind of plan for protein and energy. 🙂 which the beans / rice / pasta family can more than provide.
    Have you tried rice and lentils? I dont know the cost balance but the nutrition balance is good there. I think that getting by with less meat is easier on the pocketbook. As commented elsewhere.
    Food prices are going up across the product spectrum, for a lot of reasons. Hopefully they’ll soon quit trying to get biodiesel from corn, which would help a lot RE things like soybeans (at a 30 year high) and wheat.
    Hugs
    C

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