Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In The Trenches - Eating

Lately I have been having a severe craving for homemade pot roast so I knew it was time to do a post on food.  When you think about your childhood how many of those memories involve food?  When I was growing up everything was homemade.  The smell of chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies would fill the air.  Mom's busyness for holiday meals with all the many pans, burners, serving bowls, and flour were a reminder that it was a big important day.  Even our dinner conversations and reminders to "don't use a spoon to eat that", "your napkin goes in your lap", and "sit up straight" were all part of our training each day.

Restaurant meals were a rare treat.  We were expected to remember all that we had learned during our daily meals at home and one glare from my mom would cause us to stop, think, and correct our actions before anyone else could notice the infraction.  At the time McDonalds was just becoming popular but A&W made the best root beer and the Dairy Queen dilly bar was something to get excited about.  Does anyone know what I'm talking about?  School lunches were something that we planned for as a treat once a week and most days we took a bologna sandwich and a piece of fruit.

What was once a treat has now become daily fare.  Probably this is largely due to women working outside the home.  Instead of  home cooked meals the emphasis is on workouts at the gym.Now everything is low-fat, low-carb, and energy drinks. Blah!  Instead of working it off by taking a walk or mowing the lawn people hire a landscaper and jump on the treadmill.

I loved my real butter.  Mom would indulge me.  She and my brother didn't mind margarine but I would go without eating before I would touch it.  So I had my own butter tray and they would have theirs.  Have you seen the commercials where they ridicule us butter eaters?  They show people eating an ear of corn with a cube of butter.  They are just downright mean!

Another thing she tried was to shave the cost of a glass of milk by adding powdered milk.  Although I don't remember she told me that even when she tried to sneak in one cup to a gallon I would immediately begin to gag.  She gave up in that area and cut pennies in other ways.

The fact is that food is one of the top areas where we can modify and control our expenses.  The benefits are not only in the pocketbook but also in our health, family environment, and the memories we create.  It doesn't need to be overnight but can be one step at a time moving in a new direction. If you are one that left home not knowing how to cook  you can learn and get your kids involved at the same time creating a time for you to talk about their day and learn these skills together. 

When we are In The Trenches everything needs to change and the sooner we are able to EMBRACE THE CHANGE, the sooner we can get back on our feet.  Here are some of my families favorite In The Trenches meals that we still enjoy whether times are lean or bountiful :
  • Spaghetti
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Chili and Cornbread
  • Breakfast for dinner (one of my favorites)
  • Stews and homemade soups
  • Tater tot casserole
Add these to your menu once or twice a week and your costs will go down. Already eat like this? Me too. Some of my favorites. Eating economically does not have to be miserable.

And, when was the last time you had a PP&J sandwich or oatmeal for breakfast?  Recently I took a jar of peanut butter to work and everybody looked and me and laughed but the look of envy in their eyes was unmistakable.

What does this have to do with financial management? Everything. Our goal is to provide for our family while we are tightening the belt. Our quality of life not need to be diminished, just our spending.

For the bloggers:  Have you ever spent long at writing your post and go to save it and it is completely and utterly gone?  That's what happened with this one so this is the second rewrite.  Whether better or worse I cannot say.  grrr....


Practical Parsimony said...

We only went to A&W for the root beer. That was a treat.We never ate there. I have a collection of A&W root beer mugs. And, I hate root beer. I always had Coke in the tiny mugs that were a nickle or free, forgot which. Do you remember the tiny frosted mugs?

School lunches were not considered treat by us. Mama made lunches because we wanted her to. I don't know if the price was too high or not. Back then, school lunches were not for raising money.

I always eat economically, but then have money to spend on a treat here and there. Food treats like grapes or strawberries are worth eating only 1/3 of a chicken breast. I could gorge on the whole breast, but don't.

Oatmeal is a common breakfast for me because I love oatmeal.

I carry a jar of pb in the car. When my blood sugar drops, a spoon of pb keeps me from buying something if I forgot to bring anything for the emergency.

Yes, I have lost blog posts and the second post is never better!

Carol said...

I don't remember the little mugs but do remember the big A&W mugs. They had papa, mama, and baby burgers. It was fun to walk down to the place.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.