There are some things you can't get by whacking a tube on the side of the
counter while some guy made out of dough giggles.
counter while some guy made out of dough giggles.
Actually, I shouldn't poke fun at the Pillsbury guy. At Halloween, when Partner in Grime went to a party as a World War I "Doughboy" (with authentic gear). . .
World War I Bacon Ration Tin
I WENT AS A DOUGHBOY AS WELL.
But as I prepared breakfast this morning, I thought about something I saw on the news the other night, where they were interviewing folks wanting $15 an hour for an unskilled minimum wage job. One young woman (single with children and living in a family member's home) stated "I can only afford to eat fast food, and can't even buy breakfast some days".
That just hit me, not the struggle to survive on minimum wage, as that would be a struggle for a single adult with children. What bothered me was the statement about only being able to afford fast food.
Home on the Range Dollar Value Menu Burger
You can make a really good lunch or meal at home, per person, for less than the $5 -8 average fast food meal. Not convenience food and not prime meats. But real food with real ingredients is not so hard you have to be a slave to the kitchen or a Martha Stewart. I don't know how many times I've been behind someone in line at the discount food store, and their cart is FULL of frozen pizzas, waffles, breakfast sandwiches and bagged, frozen meals, chips and pop and precooked, prepackaged cooked meat, canned and packaged biscuits and bread. The cost of their food was 3 times what I was paying for things to prepare food from scratch and eat really well, not just beans and rice every meal, and at the crash pad, where I don't have much storage or a big freezer.
4 large chicken leg/thighs - on sale at a grocery with a butcher, a special at $3
1/2 bag of frozen store brand veggies and half an onion $1.50
biscuits from scratch (about 10 cents a piece)
spices and a little dab of Aldi Italian salad dressing.. Less than 50 cents, assuming you season food regularly and buy them when they're on sale.
Total for food used - About $5
Early the next morning . What's in the fridge? I have a 3 slices of deli lunch meat left from sandwiches for work, a couple thick slices of Swiss, a dab of mayo left in the jar, hot sauce and the sad and lonely remnants of a loaf of homemade bread. I don't waste anything. Add some hot sauce to the remaining dab of mayo, assemble and lightly butter the bread. Throw it in the George Foreman style grill I got for $5 at a yard sale (who needs an expensive panini maker) and you have breakfast for two with about $2 worth of leftovers.
Garlic Bread made from the remnants of "make lunch for work" Italian sub rolls bought on sale at the grocery, and iced tea, a meal for two for about $3.
Afternoon snack was an apple, less than a buck from the Aldi bagged ones.
I realize there are times you need something you can just pop in the oven to heat or microwave, especially if you are a household with multiple jobs and/or kids. I also realize, not everyone has, or can afford, the freezer space to buy and store in bulk. But these recipes didn't require that. I'll admit, I have more than one Home Run Pizza in my freezer, just because I like the ones with sausage and jalapenos and Partner in Grime and I eat out at an ethnic restaurant, someplace family owned, inexpensive but fun, once or twice a month, like this place we found when we were checking out a location for an upcoming model train event.
Falafelji Mediterranean Cuisine.
The lunch Steak Shawerma platter with tahini sauce with grilled veggies and salad.
The combo platter, steak, chicken and spiced kafta made with minced lamb and
beef and spices with garlic mayo, tahini and jalapeno garlic sauces
With leftovers boxed up (there was no way we could finish all this, even as delicious as it was) and put in the travel cooler in the truck, we had lunch material with some extra pitas for two more days. Your Mom may have told you to clean your plate, but if you do that with the size of some restaurant portions Greenpeace will soon be showing up to roll you back into the water. Don't be embarrassed to ask for a "to go" bag, and use it all up. I've done that in the finest of restaurants and not had the Wine Sommelier come over and taunt me in French.
Still, I try and cook from scratch most of the time. Sometimes schedules and travel are such, it's just the weekends, something in the crockpot and the oven going to package up for the fridge or freezer for future meals. I've started making my own yogurt now that Greek Yogurt has gone popular (and hence, pricey). But it's worth trying, even a day or two a week to start. For you can save a lot of money, with not a lot of time, if you just learn the basic skills to make things from scratch.
If you don't know how to cook this way, there are a ton of blogs out there on the subject and books you can get at Half Priced Books to learn. Sometimes you do so to simply survive with a full stomach, sometimes it's the satisfaction of something hand crafted as you tuck those dollars away for when times get tough as they can for even the most prepared of people. But it's a skill, I so wish the younger generation would recognize as one necessary to survive in today's tough economy.