Q: In what ways does this menu differ from your regular meals? I thought you cooked like this every day!
A: I might serve 3 meals a day, but I rarely cook 3 meals a day. Take yesterday's egg salad. If I'm going to boil eggs, might as well make enough for 2 lunches and skip today's Welsh rarebit. That's being frugal with time and money.
I'm also more of a 1-pan/1-bowl cook. This menu leaves me washing a sinkful, 3 times a day. I'm adapting, though. I got smart and mixed the egg salad in the food processor after crumbing the pork chop coating.
Now I know why children of the '50s roamed all over the neighborhood by themselves. Their mothers were too busy in the kitchen!
I would love to know what this menu cost you, for the week. Any chance we'll see a dollar total?
I have been doing a lot of cooking from scratch, and I find it gets easier the more you do it. When you don't have to look up recipes, and can just whip things up on autopilot, it's not so bad. Especially when you get the knack of doing things so you can dirty fewer dishes, like you did with the egg salad.
I also wonder if you are ending up with a lot of leftovers. I know you used up the roast, but I think if I made these meals for my family, we would have to take a day off to eat leftovers.
$67 in groceries.
Remember I had to buy everything fresh, since my fridge died the week before. That left me at the mercy of the grocery store prices.
I shopped at one small independent grocer because I knew I could get cheap bread and meats there, though I would pay more for other goods than I might at Kroger.
I really wanted to do this the way someone in the 1950s would have shopped.
I wanted to add that I personally have not reached the level of virtuoso with regard to whipping things up from scratch, but I've seen so much improvement since I started about six months ago, that I think our grandmothers must have had mad skillz--it's something our society tends not to respect very much.
I have sent the dinner leftovers to work for my husband's lunch.
Most of the lunches on this menu are not conducive to brown bagging. The kids and I eat those, hot.
We have had leftovers of things like the soups, so I've frozen them for later lunches.
Also, this menu doesn't specify the scale of recipes, so I have been able to cook only enough for one meal (scalloped potatoes). In many cases that's all the budget would allow (4 porkchops, a 2 lb roast instead of a 4 lb)
>>Now I know why children of the '50s roamed all over the neighborhood by themselves. Their mothers were too busy in the kitchen!<<
LOL! Good one! If it takes more than an hour prep (not including cooking time), it's "outta there" in my books. It's been really fun to follow your week in cooking!
The cost was originally $62 at the grocery, but I forgot to buy ground beef.
A big family pack added $5 to the week menu. Some of that went into the freezer, though.
It seems to me that you're doing well in the leftover department...I'm glad somebody else brought that up, because I did wonder, myself.
And I think it's great you brought up the topic of kitchen efficiency. I've had that mentioned to me quite often when someone ponders any kind of scratch cooking. I have duplicates of some measuring devices. Others things just have to be washed right away, if I'm on a roll with prepping food for several meals. But even filling up the mixing bowl with warm, sudsy water & dropping utensils in that can go a long way toward streamlining things around here!
Anyway, your experiment is so interesting, Meredith. Can't wait to read your & your family's impressions next week.
I've appreciated reading about your experiment, Meredith. Very interesting, indeed.
My thing with the idea of actually applying heat to food for every meal is the energy cost and potential waste. It seems like an expensive idea to me to turn on the oven multiple times per day (I'm one of those "load it up" cooks - potatoes, apples and muffins go in with my roasts, for example) or even to have many burners going several times a day. Maybe I'm overthinking or off-base, though. I don't know. I just try to keep to a minimum not only the cost of my food, but the energy required to prepare it as well. In the 50s, though, thinking about these issues isn't what ours is today so for the purposes of this menu of course it wouldn't be taken into account. And then there's always the possibility that I'm overthinking things!
Hey there, what a great food experiment! I love reading about your 1950s budget food adventures. BTW, I buy frozen corn most of the time, but I forgive my taste buds when I say that I like the canned corn flavor better (reminds me of my childhood).
I remember my grandmother cooking in her kitchen from early morning till mid afternoon. Grandpa got home at 5:30 and we ate at 5:45 SHARP. Then grandpa and I washed the dishes and grandma sat in her chair...then grandpa and I went out to work in the garden. (my grandpa also had chickens, and this was HOUSTON Texas.) I loved helping with the garden and chickens. It was fun to me. I did not like the hen that pecked me...I did not want to eat her, but she was mean...grandma said she would be good with gravy...
Thanks for the trip down memory lane Meredith. It has been fun. Hope your family enjoyed it too. Roxie
I still find it amazing that you made a week's worth of these meals for only $62 and that you normally spend only $50/week for groceries. I like to cook and cook more involved dinners that require more expensive ingredients to prepare but, to me, it is worth it because I really enjoy good food. Also, does your $50 per week include fresh fruit? My little one (almost 2) usually eats fruit with or after all 3 meals, so just buying fruit takes a bite out of the food budget but I am happy he likes almost every fruit and he rarely gets a sweet. I do want to reduce my food budget but don't want to sacrifice quality and nutrition. I'm trying! Everyone seemed to enjoy your 50's experiment. Well done! Will you incorporate some of the "new" recipes in future cooking?
So how did the egg salad turn out in the processor? Not too mushy? I may try this the next time I have a large batch of egg sandwiches to make.
And another question concerning your food processed egg salad....did you put the celery inside as large chunks, or did you dice them in advance. I'd really like to do this if it turned out OK...seems like it would definitely save some time!
So did this blow your whole month's budget. In an earlier post you mentioned $50/ month -- how in the world do you do that, by the way!!
That was a typo, which I corrected just below that comment.
I typically spend $50/week.
$67 for this week is about right. I had to replace 100% of the food in my fridge and freezer, so I knew it would not be cheap.
Not having frozen stockpiled meats hurt most, also butter which I buy and freeze when it goes on sale.
But for 21 meals and NO eating out, I think we did very well.
Re: egg salad in food processor.
This worked well. Do it in stages.
If you have celery, pulse that by itself first. It takes the most spins to cut it up finely.
Then add the moist ingredients like mayo/yogurt/seasonings. Spin to mix.
Add the eggs last, or else they will pulverize into tiny pieces. Pulse until you get the size chopped pieces you like.
I find that the fragile yolks just blend into the liquid sauce and the whites are chopped nicely for texture this way.
I didn't have celery left from lunch, so I just threw in some of the celery leaves I saved with the eggs for flavor/color.
Child of the '50's chimin' in here.....First of all, I've loved the posts on the budget 50's menu this week. I tend to cook this way, most of the time. Like you, I've learned to make the most of my modern kitchen goodies to help with the workload and ease preparation. My mom worked full time my entire childhood. The kids in my neighborhood wandered about pretty freely because it was safe and because most of the moms were home and would holler out their front doors at us when someone misbehaved! heeheehee....Guess whose name got hollered out a lot??!!
It's too bad that it isn't safe for them to roam around the neighborhood anymore. My daughter constantly disappears to go see our next door neighbors that she calls grandma and grandpa, and it's scary when I realize she's taken off. But we used to spend all day outside when I was a child.
When I worked at a deli, we always made the egg salad in the food processor. And it looks delicious.
I have to agree that the most expensive part of this experiment must be the oven use. Heating the oven is what uses the most energy. When our power bill gets out of line, I start reviewing what I've been cooking. Usually cutting back on baking food items helps get us back where we should be.
Remember that in the winter the excess heat from your oven heats the house, so it's not such a waste. I have an electric oven and a gas range, so running my oven IS less efficient than running my furnace, but when it's 4 degrees out, I am not going to split hairs--it's serious baking time!
Since I don't have A/C, I would like to try to bake enough home made bread to get us through the hot months of the summer, so I don't have to turn my oven on. But I haven't gotten that organized yet.
I have been so enjoying your 50's budget menu - you are teaching me so much! I am not a frugal cook. I do try to be, but I find our groceries to be so expensive, and even when I combine coupons with sales, we still end up at about $90/per week for a family of 4 just for food. We do eat from scratch every meal, and we eat organically when possible. I remember a time when I didn't have a pantry, or much food ahead at all simply because we couldn't afford to invest that much money in one budget item - food - even during great sales. Things are much better now and my pantry is stocked with good bargains - enough to share with others. I feel very blessed!
Thanks for the 50's recipes! It's been fun. As a child of the 50's, it was funny to read of us "roaming the neighborhoods." Sigh... The kids of the later generations will never know the magic of those days---the bicycle and roller skate parades, the games of hopscotch, the early evening hide and seek games when you just hated it when Mom called you in for bed, the hoards of kids one always had for playmates. Yes, we were nourished with Mom's scratch cooking!
I wouldn't mind knowing more about your one pot/bowl cooking.
I am one of those 50's children. My Mom always cooked meals much like you have been preparing. We NEVER ate out, except the last day of Vacation Bible School (VBS) Mama would take us to the Yellow Jacket, a hot dog place right at the campus of Georgia Tech, for a chilli dog and fries. We played outside ALL.DAY.LONG. We rode our bicycles all over the neighborhood, played softball, WALKED down to the corner drug store to get a cherry coke or lime sour, roller skate in our neighbor's driveway because they were the only family on the street with a paved drive and would sit under the neighbor's oak tree and read. Kids of today have no idea what they are missing!
LOL about why the kids were running around. I was just in my hometown for a family funeral and was remembing my childhood in the 70's. Our roaming was limited to our block but still not like today.
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