Debt Reduction

Cheap eats, recession style

One of the things that I’ve noticed about the crazy economic state that our country is currently in, is that our plight has us looking backwards into history and appreciating what our ancestors did when money was tight.

I’m something of a foodie (Jimmy John’s addiction nonwithstanding) and in a lot of the cooking blogs that I frequent, I’ve noticed a trend where cooks are going back to their grandma’s trusty recipes and making “recession” recipes. I’m not an expert on this by any means, but the emphasis seems to be on nutritious foods that use inexpensive and readily attained ingredients (i.e. – beans and root vegetables versus caviar and foie gras … OK, that was glib of me). Seasonal cooking plays a huge part of recession recipies – eating produce when its in season instead of buying blueberries that are shipped from Mexico and taste like a truck.

I need to be better at embracing some of the tenets of recession cooking – my pantry is very well stocked, but I love to experiment with recipes, so I’m terrible at going to the store to buy ingredients instead of making do with what we have in the pantry.

Interested in some of the sites and recipes affiliated with recession cooking? Here are some links: – They started talking this phenomenon on March 25 … of last year. This is a cool article with a bunch of links on resources you can use to cook recession style. – Bloggers all over are compiling recipes and making comments on other peoples’ cooking attempts. This is a list of WordPress blogs that have the tags “recession cooking.” – This is not the prettiest website out there, but it has a pretty comprehensive collection of recipes to make on the cheap. And a lot of them have this sort of intro … “This is a recipe my dear grandma used to make …”

Epicure – I stumbled across this article when I googled the phrase “recession cooking.” In addition to a couple of recipes – the cheap alternative to a night out at McDonalds – this also has a number of links to other frugal recipe resources.

This is another link I found from the Danville article – this one is called The Culinary Review. What I like about this is that it breaks down recipes by how much they cost per serving.

Go vintage – I was lucky enough to inherit most of my grandma’s cookbooks when she moved into the nursing home, but when I was at Savers the other day, I couldn’t believe the number of vintage cookbooks I found on the bookshelves. Especially target older church cookbooks … they mainly truck in basic ingredients (although sometimes you’ll find recipes that specifically call for MSG … hilarious).

At the end of the day, the common theme of these articles is this: You don’t need to live on Ramen noodles or generic macaroni and cheese to eat frugally and save money on groceries. If you have a little bit of time, you can make nutritous meals on the cheap … just like grandma used to.

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5 thoughts on “Cheap eats, recession style

  1. Great post.. truly agree with you.. the key to cost saving is not to die of hunger or go on cost cutting spree like a freak ,but, to do things basis cost benefit analysis . CBA over long term will help you reduce your cost tremndously.

  2. Yeah, except that the way our grandparents cooked was NOT healthy, for the most part. Lots of cheese, butter, whole milk and red meat. They just didn’t know that much about nutrition back then

  3. I agree that their diet wasn’t the greatest – but they did all that hard labor so it never showed up on their waistlines! 🙂

    BTW – my favorite recipe from my great-grandma’s cookbook are for her oatmeal raisin cookies – it calls for cream straight from the bulk tank and lard. They are tasty like you wouldn’t believe, but man …

  4. I love the church lady cookbooks and other pamphets. I agree that the ingredients weren’t the healthiest (but they were organic on the sly and ate local), and the spicing in many cases was … bland beyond extreme, but many of them also had tricks for substituting ingredients. A good recession/depression cook takes what she has, whatever she has, and makes a meal out of it.

  5. I’ll politely disagree that our grandparents cooking was not healthy – it was healthy – because back then everything they used was “organic” and not processed or refined – because non-organic foods and refined/processed foods didn’t exist. And yes, because they actually exercised when they worked…

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