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March 2009

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tahinaz in hard_times_cook

Thoughts and questions about cooking in hard times

Recession/depression cooking
I was thinking back to some of my great grandmother's depression recipes, recently. They were all made with things that must have been cheap, back then. Jiffy mix, cocoa powder, potatoes, ground beef, dehydrated peaches. (Those weren't found all in one recipes, of course. Those are just things she used a lot.) I would love to cook on a dime like she did. However, between this depression/recession and the Great Depression, certain ingredients she used have become expensive (the peaches and beef, for example.) I guess, then, we will have to re-invent depression cooking based on what is inexpensive now.

For example, imitation crab is super cheap, where I live. I mean, it may not be the healthiest or most authentic thing in the world, but I can buy three pounds of it for $5. I've been combining about a cup of it at a time with batter, cabbage and leftover veggies to make Japanese Okonomiyaki. That's a cheap meal. I've also been using seared low-fat bologna or hot dogs in biscuits and gravy (not healthy either, but neither is sausage.) When I use other meats, I've been decreasing the amount; using, for instance, half a pound instead of a full pound. I've been making my own bread and instant oatmeal, too, instead of buying them.

What other short cuts have you thought of to cut down on food costs?

On a related note, do you know anything about cooking with jerky? The 99 Cent store by me has overstock name brand jerky. What can I do with it, other than eat it straight? Can I put it in soups?

And what about imitation crab? Do you know of any crab recipes that go a long way and can be made on the cheap?