Monday, March 9, 2009

What we ate in the meantime...

Looking back at this point, we recalled that the economy of this little farm depended on growing our own food. Otherwise it would be unaffordable because even back then with 3 children we were spending $500 at the grocery store, and that was $500 we no longer had once we got the new tax bill.

The garden couldn't be hurried, though, and wouldn't be able to feed us even simple greens until June, 9 months after we had bought the property.

So I thought long and hard about how to save money on food.

Buying ingredients instead of prepared foods was a step we had partially taken a few years before. So instead of buying prepared beans, we soaked and cooked our own, saving about 60% of the cost. Or instead of eating cold cereal, with its high cost per ounce, we had oatmeal. Gradually I came to buy most of our food in bulk, and since I had always cooked, I enjoyed converting it into wonderful, inexpensive dishes.

The bulk purchases included many varieties of beans. We loved black turtle bean soup, and its cost was less than $1 for all of us. I cooked lentil soup often, maybe once a week, and it too was a huge budget balancer. See GrammyPeg's Kitchen for recipes.

I also bought grains in bulk. We had wheat, rye, grinding corn, barley, whatever was on sale.

Of course I made bread and various whole-grain biscuits and cookies, and I also made a dinner porridge that we called Tablespoon Soup.

We had been verging on vegetarianism for a while, and that helped balance the budget. We could barter goat's milk for eggs, and so we had plenty of those. And we had the milk.

Gradually I built up a good collection of bulk foods, and we had a lot of variety. There were two foods we never skimped on, though: we always bought real butter and plenty of ice cream.

And of course before the garden produced veggies, we had to buy those.

It was still expensive for us all to eat. And so I had to figure out other ways to ameliorate some of our financial woes, and for that I turned back to the goats.

1 comment:

Toni-Shaklee Rep said...

$500 at the grocery store? That seems really high! Wow!

But that was during the gas crisis wasn't it? So maybe food prices sky rocketed during that time.

I was only 11 in 1976... so I just ate the groceries...