Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Saute express DIY

You ever use those saute express things?  Do you know what they are made from?  It’s butter, oil, and spices.  All of it put into neat little expensive packages for us.  Aww, gee whiz, are we so weak that we can’t measure a pat of butter, a table spoon of oil, and a bit of spices and combine them together for ourselves?    Really?  We are that helpless? Gosh, that’s almost as bad as buying butter flavored frozen vegetables because we are too helpless to put a pat of butter on our cooked vegetables all by ourselves.

Saute Express advertising

Saute Express advertising

Back after 1945, after the war, when prosperity had returned to America, our backyard gardens, clothes lines, canning, sewing, and other forms of DIY skills became signs of poverty.  During the war women became superwoman.  Women would put in a full shift at factories because the men were away fighting.  The women come home to put in a full second shift of work at home gardening, cleaning, cooking, canning, sewing, washing, and everything else frugal.  It was wartime and everyone was expected to do their part.

It was only after the soldiers returned home and took back factory jobs that women were told by the food industries “relax, you deserve a break, we’ll do the work for you”.  Women became the “helpless gender” again because men wanted it that way.  So did the manufacturing industry and advertisers.  Of course, back then, those industries were run by men returning from the war.  It was easy to convince women to stop being super woman and return to being less.

FOODS 2013 475

TV dinners were an instant hit!  No slaving over a stove all day.  Did we really slave all day?  Anyway, we could simply pop a frozen meal into the oven and relax on the couch.  Heck, making biscuits, one of the most important skills a girl learned before the end of the war, suddenly became obsolete.  Biscuits started being pre-made and packaged for the convenience of the housewife.   Just pop open a container, turn on the oven, and sit until done.

Do you know how “expensive” it is to let the manufacturing industry be your personal chef?  Do any of of the young generation learn to cook anymore?  It’s pretty scary for me to think how very helpless and dependent on the food industry our young generations are becoming.  Not only are people becoming too helpless to put a pat of butter, some herbs or spices, and a spoon of oil together in a skillet; but, if that supply of convenience food were to end suddenly would anyone survive without it?

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4 comments on “Saute express DIY

  1. smallthingsgood
    May 7, 2014

    Hi! I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog, I couldn’t agree with you more! A couple of weeks ago I was at the grocery store and saw something called “meal starters”, for about $4 you could purchase a packet that had butter, basil, and garlic powder in it- how silly! I know that it probably seems like all of today’s young people are totally reliant on convenience goods, and a lot of them are, but there are still those of us who prefer to make things the old fashioned way! I’m 27 years old and I make all of our food from scratch, sew and mend things when they tear, grow herbs indoors (I live in an apartment), make our cleaning products and most of my cosmetics, and I love living frugally. I look forward to reading more of your posts, I hope you have the chance to check out my blog as well! -Mona

    • Na Na
      May 8, 2014

      Thank you Mona. Yes, I realize there are many young people today who are learning and living what I call the old ways. My post was mostly about my generation in general, as a whole, and the things we forgot to teach our children. My generation and my mother’s generation allowed our children to listen to the marketing industry instead of us.

  2. Sarca
    May 6, 2014

    A very noted piece, Anita.

    Not easy to admit, but when I left home, my cooking skills were scant. For example, I couldn’t even boil an egg. It’s not that I was spoiled, it was that my mom grew up in abject poverty in the 40s and 50s, had to darn her own socks, can and cook at a very young age, make her own clothes…She swore she wouldn’t put her girls through that. My mom was also a single parent with a management job that required alot of attention. As a result, we went sort of 180…we ate out a lot. We had TV dinners. Convenience was king. As a result, I wasn’t very comfortable on the stove.

    I learned a lot on my own, and am now married to a man who had a stay-at-home mom, with the luxury of home-cooked meals every night. Interesting dynamic.

    Today, we hardly go out to eat at all. Most of it is crap anyway. At least I know what I put into my food!

    • Na Na
      May 8, 2014

      Thank you.

      Yes, I know what you mean. That’s the thinking lots of people in my generation had when raising our children. We didn’t want our children to go through what we went through. We wanted the children to have what we believed was a better life for them. As a result there are many (not all) who have not learned even basic skills.

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