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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:57 pm 
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http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/article ... y-nothing/
(Don't blame me for the title, I didn't write the thing)

The linked article has this interesting bit....

Talking about food stamps -
"That’s a situation faced by the more than 45 million people in America on food stamps. The benefit provided by the US Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) works out to about $4 per day per person (about £2.80 at current exchange rates). If that weren’t dismaying enough, the government pamphlets that offer advice for grocery shopping on such a restricted budget tend to be flyers illustrated with clip art and little in the way of real tips – “include meatless meals to extend your protein dollars” is about as creative as it gets – and zero inspiration for nutritious meals with colour and flavour.

Leanne Brown decided to change that. As the thesis project for her masters’ degree in Food Studies at New York University a few years ago, she wrote a cookbook based on a SNAP budget called Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day. When she made it available as a free PDF, it suddenly went viral: it was downloaded more than 100,000 times in a few weeks. "

The link to the .PDF is in the article, it made for an interesting read.

I suspect everyone on the board in interested in eating well, and at the lowest cost. COOKING - vice heating prepared foods is a good way to make that happen. Ms. Brown has developed a cook cook/recipe set that might interest folks here.

Enjoy.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:29 pm 
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Well it is "supplemental" not "all inclusive". Still I don't see why you could not eat ok on $4 a day.

Me on $4 a day at my local grocery.

Let's see 1 week works out to $28:

(1) gallon milk $5.50
(2) dozen eggs $3.20
(2) loaves of bread $2.50
(1) pound sliced cheese $4
(7) cans baked beans $3.50
(7) cans vegetables (Corn, green beans, peas etc) $3.50
(1) pound of butter $2.35
(1) pound of rice $.80
(1) 28oz jar PB $2.75

About $28.....

Plenty of calories there.

That is me not cooking a lick. Rice and beans.

If I get corn meal and flour and bake my own breads life gets much better.

Being poor sucks. BTDT. Don't want to do it again.

The wife even wrote an awesome song about black beans and corn bread (not the old blues tune) way back then.

I never took the free food stamp lunch though. Too much pride.

Work hard, get off the handouts. Buy whatever you want.

That is much better.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:23 pm 
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Thanks for sharing Tacair, I am going to check that out.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:04 pm 
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Yep, good find. I found several great ideas right away. The vids (on that site) about true cost of food provided some insight as well. Food tends to creep upward with fuel costs where I live now, but seldom do we see the price of food come down when the fuel cost drops. Thanks.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 5:19 pm 
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Stercutus wrote:
Well it is "supplemental" not "all inclusive". Still I don't see why you could not eat ok on $4 a day.

Me on $4 a day at my local grocery.

Let's see 1 week works out to $28:

(1) gallon milk $5.50
(2) dozen eggs $3.20
(2) loaves of bread $2.50
(1) pound sliced cheese $4
(7) cans baked beans $3.50
(7) cans vegetables (Corn, green beans, peas etc) $3.50
(1) pound of butter $2.35
(1) pound of rice $.80
(1) 28oz jar PB $2.75

About $28.....



I'm not sure where you live, but here, you can't get a can of veggies, even the store brand, for under $1 and you definitely aren't getting a can of baked beans for less than $1 each. I just bought a box of four sticks of butter for $4.99 on sale. Whole wheat bread, even the store brand, is at least $3.00 per loaf. You can get white bread a little cheaper, but I want my kids eating whole grains as much as possible in their daily food choices. I haven't bought eggs in a while since we have chickens, I haven't bought milk in a while since we have dairy goats, and I haven't bought rice in a while because I buy it in bulk. I think your milk and egg prices are pretty close to what we have here, but I am seriously envious of your much lower prices on some of those items.

We used to be on food stamps for about a year and my kids were little at the time, so we were also on WIC. WIC gives you checks for very specific items such as milk and cheese. You may notice in your local stores that some items are labeled "WIC Item". You don't have choices. Each check has a list of items you can get that week and you have to get the item labeled for WIC. If you despise cheese or forget to grab it, you lose that benefit. It's the government's way of trying to ensure you are eating healthy, but the checks were never for anything like fruits and vegetables. It always pissed me off that I had to go in every month for somebody to badmouth my food choices and then force me to eat boxed cereal and drink sugary orange juice from concentrate instead of letting me buy fresh vegetables. Fresh foods should not be a luxury.

Food stamps, of course, covered any kind of food choices, but eating fresh is expensive and good protein substitutes for meat aren't so cheap, either. Nuts and seeds are expensive. Fresh greens are expensive. I used to wish food stamps would cover plants and seeds so I could grow my own when I couldn't afford to start a garden.

I find it interesting that the author mentioned quinoa. I eat quinoa on my gluten-free diet (I have Celiac Disease). I can't find that for less than $5 per pound and that's only if I buy it in bulk. Most stores around here have it for around $10 - $12 per pound, if at all. That is some seriously expensive food for a $4/day budget and that's only available if the SNAP recipient doesn't live in a "food desert" as many do. Our primary grains are rice and oatmeal. Still, I could not eat the way I do now back when we were on food stamps and I think I'm pretty stingy with our food budget.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:59 pm 
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I took your shopping list and priced it in my local store.
(1) gallon milk $5.00
(2) dozen eggs $5 (on sale)
(2) loaves of bread $6 (on sale)
(1) pound sliced cheese $4
(7) cans baked beans $10.50
(7) cans vegetables (Corn, green beans, peas etc) $10.50
(1) pound of butter $5
(1) pound of rice $1
(1) 28oz jar PB $7 (on sale)
$54 a week or $7.72 a day, almost twice the $4 a day allowed.
-
No tea or coffee or any sugar to put in them. :gonk:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:43 pm 
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ZombieGranny wrote:
I took your shopping list and priced it in my local store.
(1) gallon milk $5.00
(2) dozen eggs $5 (on sale)
(2) loaves of bread $6 (on sale)
(1) pound sliced cheese $4
(7) cans baked beans $10.50
(7) cans vegetables (Corn, green beans, peas etc) $10.50
(1) pound of butter $5
(1) pound of rice $1
(1) 28oz jar PB $7 (on sale)
$54 a week or $7.72 a day, almost twice the $4 a day allowed.
-
No tea or coffee or any sugar to put in them. :gonk:


ZG - where are you shopping? I'll make a run later this week, but I found my budget from an event a few weeks ago: (Highlighted questionable items, that I didn't buy this last time)

(1) gallon milk $4.60
(2) dozen eggs $? No clue, I have chickens, but I bought 5doz (1 box) for 8.50
(2) loaves of bread $2
(1) pound sliced cheese $3.50 ~ballpark
(7) cans baked beans $
(7) cans vegetables (Corn, green beans, peas etc) $6.23
(1) pound of butter $2.60 - salted
(1) pound of rice [color=#0000FF]$.79 [/color]*instant rice was 2.66/large box
(1) 28oz jar PB $ Dont know, but think when last was ~3.50

That said, I shopped at Walmart and when available, items were store brand...

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:52 pm 
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Walmart is where I do the bulk of my shopping, too. Prices vary in different locations. A lot, apparently.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 9:15 pm 
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Just down at the local store.
Western Washington state has a very high cost of living.
That's one of the reasons our minimum wage is so high, and why wait-staff are NOT exempt from that minimum wage.
(There are states where waiters/waitresses make less than $3 an hour.)

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:08 pm 
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Anianna wrote:
Walmart is where I do the bulk of my shopping, too. Prices vary in different locations. A lot, apparently.



As mentioned, prices vary from state to state, from region to region, and even within cities. The same chains will price their goods according to the Socioeconomic Status of the surrounding area. Cost conscious shoppers go to the poor neighborhoods. However, the local selection of items also varies according to the tastes of the neighborhood, so higher SEC neighborhoods have fancier fair, while lower SEC neighborhoods get more basic fair. Grocery stores might be 7 miles apart, have the same name, and be very different in what they charge for the same products if the neighborhood SEC is different enough.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:04 am 
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woodsghost wrote:
Anianna wrote:
Walmart is where I do the bulk of my shopping, too. Prices vary in different locations. A lot, apparently.



As mentioned, prices vary from state to state, from region to region, and even within cities. The same chains will price their goods according to the Socioeconomic Status of the surrounding area. Cost conscious shoppers go to the poor neighborhoods. However, the local selection of items also varies according to the tastes of the neighborhood, so higher SEC neighborhoods have fancier fair, while lower SEC neighborhoods get more basic fair. Grocery stores might be 7 miles apart, have the same name, and be very different in what they charge for the same products if the neighborhood SEC is different enough.


Very true. Just going from one end of town to the other (about 5 miles) The Publix is the "high end" grocery with a huge deli, butcher counter, bakery, large wine shop and lots of hot prepared foods. Across the tracks the local grocery chain has everything marked for EBT eligibility, no deli, no bakery and everything is 5-8% cheaper. Walmart is somewhere in the middle.

The local chain has a nicer store in a nicer area with a greatly expanded inventory (and no armed guards either) closer to Publix.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:27 am 
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In these parts, we have Food Bloom Lion. 12 packs of Ramen + 1 can of Spam = $3.89
It's a delicious way to start your day.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:48 am 
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Asymetryczna wrote:
In these parts, we have Food Bloom Lion. 12 packs of Ramen + 1 can of Spam = $3.89
It's a delicious way to start your day.


If you are eating 12 packs of Ramen in the morning I imagine your skipping lunch.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:08 pm 
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Good one. Imagine chewing up 12 packs of dried Ramen and then having a couple of big glasses of water...

A couple of years ago, some drunk man at a Christmas market in Aachen told me, "In America even your homeless people are fat." I thought about it and decided he was partially right in that one can survive with a full belly on the food removed from the trashcans located around quick service franchises that supersize.

She makes good points too. I have no idea but I suspect the food lion experiment with some of their same stores being changed to the name "bloom" is somehow related to the average income/demographics in different areas. Eating healthy does cost more - eating really healthy costs much more. Or you can raise and grow your own... or you can laugh at this cartoon that has been featured here before:

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:32 pm 
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Asymetryczna wrote:
A couple of years ago, some drunk man at a Christmas market in Aachen told me, "In America even your homeless people are fat."


In the very early 2000's I lived for about a year on Maui. I was homeless but mostly out of choice. I hiked and camped and lived the true beach bum life. I ate amazingly well when I was down there by dumpster diving, I usually avoided meat unless I knew it was fresh, I hate lots of veggies and fruit, oh the fruit I ate! But yes you can indeed live off what's in the dumpster but it isn't a life style many will try. When I lived in the ID/Chinatown area of Seattle there were s lot of homeless that would stay around there (there's a shelter there) and I see the tenants chase them off when they go looking. When I went and dug around never once was I questioned. They'd even look at me as I was rooting around looking. I guess if you don't look homeless people react less violently to you.

Now on topic. Again while living in Chinatown the only grocery store that was close was Uwajimaya (local Asian store) eggs were extremely cheap, like $1.30 range you could get a dozen duck eggs for 3.50. However milk, was about 8.00 a gallon (I don't drink if but I did like to check the price). Sliced cheese (not American but tillamook cheddar) was 4.99 a 2lb block of medium cheddar was 12.99. Bread was 5.99-6.99 a loaf. Anything canned that was "American" like beans or corn were probably $3-4.

Hell "grown in Washington" apples cost more here than across the country. 4.99-5.99 per pound on some. Yeah Western WA is expensive.

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I went through a bit of a ketogenic phase. While I found certain foods to be more expensive (almonds as a snack instead of any random carb) I noticed a stunning lack in energy swings and I was never hungry.

I haven't worked out the math, but I'm sure you could live cheaply on mostly fats and protein (eggs and avocados are inexpensive options) and not have to worry about not feeling well fed with the bonus of being more level as far as energy.

Plus lots of the foods you can eat while on that type of meal plan are very calorie dense.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:22 pm 
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Only found this thread because someone clicked the "report" icon - glad I did!

It's past midnight here and I'm off to bed but I'll try to remember to come back to this thread tomorrow and post something more useful.

I will say that's is rare for a weekly grocery shop for the four of us - two adults, two pre-teen kids - to exceed £90 / US$120, which is close to your $28/pers/wk target.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:36 pm 
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At first glance I thought the title of this thread was Eating Well by Eating Nothing. :lol: That was a good 5 minutes of unmanly giggles.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:54 pm 
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Oh, I'm still awake. Let's throw some numbers at the page.

Stercutus wrote:
(1) gallon milk $5.50
(2) dozen eggs $3.20
(2) loaves of bread $2.50
(1) pound sliced cheese $4
(7) cans baked beans $3.50
(7) cans vegetables (Corn, green beans, peas etc) $3.50
(1) pound of butter $2.35
(1) pound of rice $.80
(1) 28oz jar PB $2.75

About $28.....

I'll use the online costs from my local Tesco, and will convert to USD at the end.
(1) gallon milk - call it 4 litres @ £1 for 2 litres = £2
(2) dozen eggs - 24 @ 8p each = £1.92
(2) loaves of bread - 2 @ 50p each = £1
(1) pound sliced cheese - 1 x 454g pack = £3.14
(7) cans baked beans - 7 x 400g cans @ 24p each = £1.68
(7) cans vegetables - 7 x 300g cans (peas or carrots) @ 20p each = £1.40
(1) pound of butter - 2 x 250g packs @ 85p each = £1.70
(1) pound of rice - 1 x 1kg (2.2 lbs) = £0.45
(1) 28oz jar PB - 2x 340g jars @ 62p each = £1.24

Total: £14.53, which Google thinks is US$19.15.

My pack sizes aren't exactly yours but I'm $9 under budget. I'd prefer fresh carrots to canned and would like to add more fruit & veg to the basket, plus some oatmeal (PB sandwiches aren't my favourite breakfast food and all that milk would go well in oatmeal). Plus some tea or coffee!

Now it's almost 1am and I'm definitely going to bed ...

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:55 pm 
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Must be a southern thing but I would go for more rice, grits and eggs.

A 5lb bag of LA rice will typically be $3. A 10 lb bag will run about $5. A pound of grits will be about $1.50.

I can buy canned green beans all the time for about $.75 a can. Canned pork and beans routinely sell for under $.60 per can. A can of tuna which has not been mentioned will also sell for $.78 per can locally.

A dozen large eggs are under $2 locally. Less if you spend $5 to buy a live chicken. Use the Eggs to make a quiche for dinner and they are not just for breakfast. Grits goes well as a side item breakfast, lunch or dinner. Roosters for slaughter sell for $3 live

Sweet potatoes, bell peppers, okra, collard greens are available at inexpensive prices during harvest times locally. Soy beans are also good but they pose prepa ration issues.

The local walmart sells fresh baked bread for $1 a loaf.
A loaf of sliced store brand bread can generally be found for under $2 a loaf at other grocery stores.

I have not a clue what milk goes for, I never touch the stuff.

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raptor wrote:
Must be a southern thing but I would go for more rice, grits and eggs.
[SNIP]
I have not a clue what milk goes for, I never touch the stuff.

Mmmm grits. My fave thing about travelling south. I think rice is more expensive locally tho I haven't checked the ruler/aldi in a while. Live chickens not so cheap here either I think! &the apartment people probably can't get away with them. Dry beans run $1-2/lb, depending on the bean & amount. 20# of pintos costs about $14-16, if you can afford that up front. Potatoes are almost always pretty cheap - $2-4 for 8-10 lb -& can be fixed a lot of ways.

Store brand milk locally is hanging $1.40-$1.80/gallon, which is ridiculous but a couple discount places (eg ruler/aldi) went that low, then everybody else went that low to match. If it's about to go out of dates, the 'managers sale' is half of that but you've got to be lucky. Buy a thing of generic yogurt ($0.40-60) for starter & you can make a flipping GALLON of plain yogurt for under $2.50. (2+ quarts if you go for strained/greek style) Eggs go under $1/doz at easter and last in the fridge for weeks. (I love eggs even more than grits...) The right cuts of meat go cheap on sale regulary - pork shoulder gets under $1.50/lb, pork loin about $1.80. Ground beef doesn't go that low any more but ground turkey (or chicken breast) gets to $2/lb at times. Hot dogs get pretty cheap on sale every couple months. I hate kraft slices but they go on sale too. Used to stretch the rice/beans etc they go a long way. (I routinely use about 1/3 lb meat per quart of chili, serve w/ cornbread, usually get compliments). A little bit of on-sale bacon goes a long way for flavor, too.

A lot of this is 1)knowing how to do these things - yogurt's not hard to make but most don't know how, 2)having time/space to do some of them (or drive to the cheap store/stores, figure out the sales, etc) and 3)not having family that complains its rear end off about the food having changed. The latter can be fixed for kids but the adults are not always helpful to the cook. :evil: Sometimes 4)having enough $that week to stock up on a sale - saves big for the rest of the month or more but no good if you simply don't have it. There was a thread on this somewhere a couple years ago... *wanders off to find it*

BITD when the "poverty level" was set, it explicitly assumed a household had a "skilled full time" homemaker to do all of these things - they really are skills worth learning.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 12:05 pm 
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duodecima wrote:
Live chickens not so cheap here either I think! &the apartment people probably can't get away with them.


I just threw the live chicken suggestion out there for local color.

But yes I can buy live roosters for $3 to $5 locally. Additionally I am not sure they qualify for SNAP.

Meanwhile at Walmart I can buy a whole cooked chicken for $4.99 (if I go after 8 pm they put the cooked chicken on sale for $2.99 to get it out the door). Which IMO is much better deal than a fresh live rooster for $3 that you have slaughter and dress. Chicken locally is relatively inexpensive as is a lot of the locally grown produce. You may have to go to the roadside stands and the smaller farmers markets. Not all of those but many do now have a means of accepting SNAP cards, at least I see the SNAP accepted here signs.



Still rice is a versatile food item. Dishes like jambalaya and dirty rice which can use basically any protein source (pork, hot dogs, chicken, stew beef, canned tuna or even fresh seafood).

Grits falls under the heading as rice by using it for other than a breakfast side dish by braising it, mixing in Kraft slices for cheese grits, shrimp, pork or other such items.

However, I come back to eggs. IMO eggs are a perfect low cost food that quite versatile and can be used in variety of ways by thinking outside of scrambled and fried.


This is also an issue.

duodecima wrote:
BITD when the "poverty level" was set, it explicitly assumed a household had a "skilled full time" homemaker to do all of these things - they really are skills worth learning.


When I grew up I did not have to cook but I was still required by my parents to learn how to cook basic things(like omelette, quiche, jambalaya, gumbo, pancakes, waffles, pasta, steak etc).

Cooking and basic nutrition (as well as sewing, swimming, cleaning, etc.) IMO should be one of the minimum life skills. Yes I do get that after a long day at work cooking is an extra burden. However, with a bit of planning you can pre-cook some dishes for use during the week.

For those ZS'ers who do not know how to cook, it is not hard to learn.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:51 pm 
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raptor wrote:
duodecima wrote:
Live chickens not so cheap here either I think! &the apartment people probably can't get away with them.


I just threw the live chicken suggestion out there for local color.

But yes I can buy live roosters for $3 to $5 locally. Additionally I am not sure they qualify for SNAP.

Meanwhile at Walmart I can buy a whole cooked chicken for $4.99 (if I go after 8 pm they put the cooked chicken on sale for $2.99 to get it out the door). Which IMO is much better deal than a fresh live rooster for $3 that you have slaughter and dress. Chicken locally is relatively inexpensive as is a lot of the locally grown produce. You may have to go to the roadside stands and the smaller farmers markets. Not all of those but many do now have a means of accepting SNAP cards, at least I see the SNAP accepted here signs.



Still rice is a versatile food item. Dishes like jambalaya and dirty rice which can use basically any protein source (pork, hot dogs, chicken, stew beef, canned tuna or even fresh seafood).

Grits falls under the heading as rice by using it for other than a breakfast side dish by braising it, mixing in Kraft slices for cheese grits, shrimp, pork or other such items.

However, I come back to eggs. IMO eggs are a perfect low cost food that quite versatile and can be used in variety of ways by thinking outside of scrambled and fried.


This is also an issue.

duodecima wrote:
BITD when the "poverty level" was set, it explicitly assumed a household had a "skilled full time" homemaker to do all of these things - they really are skills worth learning.


When I grew up I did not have to cook but I was still required by my parents to learn how to cook basic things(like omelette, quiche, jambalaya, gumbo, pancakes, waffles, pasta, steak etc).

Cooking and basic nutrition (as well as sewing, swimming, cleaning, etc.) IMO should be one of the minimum life skills. Yes I do get that after a long day at work cooking is an extra burden. However, with a bit of planning you can pre-cook some dishes for use during the week.

For those ZS'ers who do not know how to cook, it is not hard to learn.

Once upon a time I got a good deal on a chest freezer, and in combination with a vacuum sealer used it to take advantage of sales on meat and poultry. One of the other things I learned to do was that on Saturdays I would make a 5 gallon pot of a single dish meal, Chili con carne, beef stew, split pea with ham soup, jambalaya, chicken ala king, tuna casserole, ect. When done I'd ladle them into single serving size tupperwarer and freeze them, pop them out of the Tupperware and then vacuum seal them....then into the freezer. Within a few weeks I had many months worth of meals stored in my freezer. Just pop them into the microwave or a pot of boiling water and I had a tasty home cooked meal for very little money.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:24 pm 
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LowKey wrote:
One of the other things I learned to do was that on Saturdays I would make a 5 gallon pot of a single dish meal, Chili con carne, beef stew, split pea with ham soup, jambalaya, chicken ala king, tuna casserole, ect. When done I'd ladle them into single serving size tupperwarer and freeze them, pop them out of the Tupperware and then vacuum seal them....then into the freezer. Within a few weeks I had many months worth of meals stored in my freezer. Just pop them into the microwave or a pot of boiling water and I had a tasty home cooked meal for very little money.


That is the way to do it. A good healthy meal that is still quick when you are tired and just want to eat.

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