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.
Sorry that I’ve been slow in posting on this blog. I’ve had to concentrate on settling into this new house.
As a diabetic I’ve been told I should plan my meals. That included measuring and counting stuff. Well, all that planning, measuring, and counting seemed too detailed and difficult for me. So I stopped and started concentrating on just eating sensibly and as frugally as I could.
I’ve never been a person who menu planned beyond making sure I had what I needed for an upcoming holiday meal. Planning meals days or weeks in advance then shopping for only those ingredients always seemed too ridged and demanding for me. Invariably something unexpected happened or I just wasn’t in the mood for what the menu plan called for on that day. Its also very difficult to menu plan when the majority of the food I get comes from the mobile food bank truck. We never know what we are going to get but there are some produce items we do get every time.
My personal meal planning is based on what my Grandma Mama would have had; a well stocked food pantry. She would go to her pantry and always find ingredients to fix dinner. I can’t do that if my pantry contains only flour, sugar, cereal, and coffee now can I? I know there are people who don’t garden or preserve their own foods. I do. Well sort of. I preserve the food bank food I get and the discount bin food I find but at present I don’t have a garden.
When I try to convince you of the importance of keeping a food pantry it doesn’t need to be home preserved like mine. It doesn’t need to be a big storage room dedicated to preserved foods either. Your own pantry may be purchased food put into a small cabinet but used in the same way. Which is to find ingredients to fix a meal. At the moment my food storage is in a hallway. This will eventually change when I’ve gotten all the moving boxes unpacked.
In my Grandma Mama’s time (especially during WW2) women had a pantry of food they had grown and preserved their self. The food pantry was their grocery and their survival. When women did grocery shop it was to buy staples like flour, cornmeal, sugar, coffee, and so forth which would have been in very limited supply during the war years.
The women of WW2 had skills at putting a meal on the table quickly which could rival any restraunt of today. Women held full time jobs during WW2 but they still managed to feed their family three meals a day, everyday, at home. Eating away from home was reserved for a very special outing or as a social event. The meals away from home were usually picnics or family gatherings.
Why don’t people today cook at home more? Well there are lots of excuses why they don’t. Planning meals takes time. Shopping for groceries takes time. Prepping and cooking food takes time. Clean up and washing dishes takes time. People today are always rushing from place to place. People are so very busy these days with so many activities. I also hear it said alot that cooking for one isn’t worth the effort and cooking for a family is too much effort. Then there is the long day at work that keeps us from preparing meals. At the end of a work day nobody wants to stand in the kitchen cooking. What it comes down to is that picking up fast food is quicker and easier.
So ok think about this, if people have so little time for cooking then why is it they have so much available time for tv, movies, internet, texting, video games, or mall walking? If cooking is too much effort and people are not eating at kitchen tables then why have a kitchen at all?
Women in the 1940s had plenty of practice at preparing meals quickly. Practice makes perfect. The more often you repeat meal prep the quicker you get. Women in the 1940s could bake a batch of bread or mix up a stew in record time. Today we have many kitchen appliances never heard of in the 1940s but still our food prepping and cooking remains a dreaded task. Why? There are bread machines that need only ingredients put in and it does all the work for you but people still don’t bake their own bread. Why? We have several types of programmable appliances from crock pots to full size double ovens yet people still don’t cook. Why is that?
In my opinion its because people never learned to cook. Really cook. From scratch cook. Think about it, how is a child supposed to learn to cook when all they know is stopping at a fast food place? Those young folks who do cook have never learned to cook without recipes. They have no concept of mix and match or substitutions. When you know, really know, how to cook from your own intuition instead of from a recipe you can whip up something from almost anything and you can certainly improvise when you’re out of an ingredient.
Cooking tv shows and youtube cooking videos are very popular today. Many who don’t actually cook will watch these shows faithfully day after day, week after week. Why is it that people are so mesmerized watching someone cooking but when it comes to doing it themselves they don’t? I believe its because people are always looking for someone else to cook for them. Big food companies are making really big money on people’s susceptibility for laziness.
The same corporations that made billions on food that made us fat, sold us diet solutions that don’t work, and medications to keep us alive are now selling us on the idea of “packaged meals” with veggies and prepared meat delivered to our doorstep. A new twist on fast food deliveries.
So it seems we are now being brainwashed on the idea we don’t need to shop either? Someone else will do it for us. Does anybody else think that idea is scary? Are we now being trained to be lazy mindless blobs of fat? Do you really trust someone else (the food industry) to pick out what food will go into your body? The same industry we’ve trusted to keep us healthy that didn’t?
My Grandma Mama was born in the 1800’s. She lived through WW1, the depression, and WW2 rationing so she knew how important it was to keep food storage. Grandma Mama was lucky to have lived on a farm because they had better food advantages. Grandma Mama had a garden with food she knew her family would eat. She foraged wild edibles too.
People who lived in cities during WW2 were known to have garden spots in every available piece of ground or in pots. The food they grew was preserved at home or at local canning centers or held in communal freezer lockers. Canning centers had the equipment which was shared with everyone in need. In cities it wasn’t unusual to have pigs, goats, ducks, and chickens in backyards. Many people are now starting to go back to the old ways and the movement is called by various names. Going green, prepping, and back to basics are names that come to mind.
If you truly want to save money on groceries consider keeping a food storage and learn to cook. If you have stored food and purchase only to replenish then you have the opportunity to buy at the lowest possible price.
To be continued once more