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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Budget Wise. Just not too wise.

Yes, I suck about keeping this a regular thing. I've had such an influx of cookbooks from eBay, my ideas have been running around like mad. Things have settled down in my household with my FIL gone, my husband getting ready to go back to work, my Jersey Boys days over until they come back to the area. Now it's just my books, my colorful tabs, my sometimes reliable scanner, my laptop, and of course my imagination!

In this book, the difference between low-cost shit food, and trying to make something is evident. Food costs are high, budgets have to stretch, etc. I get it. However, I don't get this book. I am not a food snob by any means and I know the days when I was calling Tuna Helper "Tuna Noodle Surprise" to get my kids to eat it. Did they fall for it? HAYLLL NO! Lesson learned is that no "Helpers" are in the house and they will easily eat pasta with a homemade marinara before I try to pass off Tuna Helper as something it's not.

I'm glad it's 2012 and not 1978. And guess what? I have more budget cooking books.


Family Circle Low-Cost Main Dishes, 1978




Found in the book. Sorry to disappoint the stalkers out there, but it says "Ret 7/15" so it's safe to assume Dorothea Howard is not at the address. A careful Google shows Atlantic Richfield to be a BP affiliate. I'm getting a sense of something BIG. Would someone affiliated with BP be on a strict budget? I don't know where I am going with this. I just like finding things in these old books.


If your budget is that tight to where you are serving what looks like sliced turds, then maybe you need to reassess the situation. Just saying.


I truly think my children would scarf down some Tuna Noodle Surprise before I tried introducing beef heart cut into strips and braised with onions and herbs until fork tender. A heart is a pretty tough organ. How long does it need to cook until it's fork tender? Long enough to see the prices of the rest of the cow fall?


FRESH (not frozen or canned) pork hocks. My budget has never been in a squeeze like that and I hope it never will. The criminal in me is truly contemplating how much ham would fit my purse. I need to start carrying a purse and stuff it with ham. I'm not skimping on bacon. We all need a splurge!

We shall not call this Garnished Saurekraut with ham hocks and knockwurst and sauerkraut. It will be known as "Choucroute Garni" and hidden behind a lantern. Tuna Noodle Surprise it is not!
Yes poultry is readily available. Yes the packaging might be inexpensive. No, I don't have to search frantically through the aisles of H-E-B looking for poultry. However, in 2012, chicken is not a cheap go to meat. A whole whopping page of illustrations does not a butcher make.
If I can't convince my children that "Tuna Noodle Suprise" is not Tuna Helper, I cannot convince them fish should be a permanent part of my weekly menu. Drawings sure would help me if I needed to go to a seafood market. I don't mind fish. I don't have the time to convince four fish haters to eat it. I also don't have the time to chelate the heavy metals from their bodies.
NOW this is budget cooking! Take whatever crap you have and cover it with a white sauce. It could be leftover Tuna Noodle Surprise or stale bread, but if it's smothered in a white sauce and has a lemon wedge on the side then this can pass for food.
I agree. Who wants to wash a pot when you can put stuff in a Pyrex baking dish and have to wash baked on goo? Stock up on SOS pads and be prepared to scrub, scrub, scrub until there are no fingernails left to pluck out the steel wool splinters. There's so much economy under one lid and economy of the best sort that I am about to get a case of the vapors.
If this is budget cooking, I'd hate to see what regular fare costs. What kind of family devours two pounds of beef liver or two cups of tongue? We don't have to be carnivores for every meal! Retract your incisors!
Seriously the WORST take on stuffed shells I have ever read.
Last time I saw this much stringy looking stuff, it was after I dewormed a puppy. Gave her some medicine, went to work, came home to spaghetti dog poop. I want to cry.
What a sad picture. The poor, emaciated little girl is waiting patiently and her grandmother is too busy making 20 pasta dishes. Would it ruin her chi to give her some of the tagliatelle? Mangia, mangia!
The caption reads this is a 30 minute take on a classic Neapolitan pizza. Having had the privilege of living in Bella Napoli for three years, I have NEVER seen a pizza look like that. I wouldn't eat a pizza that looked like that. I am partial to melted cheese. Call me a foodie.
Quick! Everybody go back to the cookbook cover. Does that look like a hearty cassoulet or a hunk of steak with cheese melted on it? Did anybody catch this obvious error? I don't have "company" so I don't think Family Circle was thinking of me when this book was published. They probably didn't think it would end up on a blog 34 years later either. My guests won't think I am a marvelous cook if I try to say a hunk of steak with cheese on it was a hearty cassoulet. They would think I was an idiot.
Leftovers don't end up in the garbage because I lack the creativity to reconstruct them into something different. They end up in the trash because they either sit in the refrigerator for days after my husband swears he will eat them or they end up in the trash because they have the potential to stink up my refrigerator.  Either way, there are few things I eat left over and there are few things that taste and look as good as the first time.
Dessert time!! A luscious chocolate glazed banana or yellow cake with a cute little rose and a berry garnish. What's that? It's really Moussaka A La Turque? What looks like chocolate is really eggplant skin? Words escape me. I'm rendered silent. 
 The point I am making is sometimes it costs more to try to budget. Just wing it! 

Until next time! 

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