I am trying to be more frugal in my grocery shopping. I like to cook and bake, and I like to experiment with new recipes and ingredients. As I am trying to keep track of what I spend on groceries, I am realizing how expensive this can be.
I think I need to rethink some of how I cook. I am realizing how much pressure is put on us by the things and people around us. I do not always have to have a Martha Stewart type meal on the table. Do not get me wrong, I like Martha Stewart’s recipes, but they are just not practical for the everyday budget. I need to get back to the basics in my cooking. Yes, I can cook a nice meal with expensive seafood and a gourmet cake for dessert, but is it worth it? Can I spend that money better elsewhere? I have realized that by simplifying my cooking, I really am saving money. Cooking at home from scratch does not always mean it is cheaper, if we are spending a lot of money on extra things to put into those recipes.
I think I have really been influenced by looking at cooking magazines and watching cooking shows. Who really cooks like that everyday? Who needs to cook like that everyday? Whatever happened to cooking a basic meat and potato dinner, served with homemade bread, and a simple dessert? Have you ever seen Martha Stewart do a show or magazine article on using up leftovers? Have you ever seen a cooking show on how to cook for a family of 5, for a week, using only $75 worth of groceries? No. Instead they are trying to convince us that we need all these special things to make our meals taste better, and if we don’t have them we are really missing out.
Our grandmothers and mothers could make the simplest foods taste so good. They did not use special ingredients or fancy foods. They took time and used some creativity to make a good meal out of simple ingredients. They could make a pot roast or meatloaf stretch over several days. They took your basic leftovers and reinvented them into a new meal. Some of these things were done out of necessity, but I think a lot of it was just the basic desire to not waste money, whether they had it or not. Most people thought differently about spending money on cooking. Even if my grandmother could have afforded a special spice to make her roast taste differently, I doubt she would have spent the money on it.
In thinking over these things, I realized how frugal past generations really were. I am not saying that I will not continue to experiment with my cooking and try new things. But, I think I am going to try to cook a little more beans and rice and simple dishes. I am learning that just because we do not have to be frugal, does not mean we shouldn’t be.
Those are just my thoughts about trying to cook frugally.