Back again! Recession cooking redux.

Talk about lengthy vacations! What happened is that I lost my job (no biggie – I just took early retirement), right at the time I had several art shows to put on. Then I found that I was reluctant to cook (that old “cooking-versus-the-diet” tug-of-war). But as the economy worsens, and our retirement income seems to shrink (even as food prices rise), I’m beginning to think that I have to cook!

We could all use a few tips – and who better to give them that the home cooks of the mid-20th century? First the depression, then WW II, forced our parents and grandparents to hone their penny-pinching skills. So I spent the morning looking through my collection of old recipes – most of them passed on by my mother – to see what I could stand to make.

One thing I wanted to find out: is it really cheaper to cook a tuna noodle cassarole from scratch – or should I just buy two Stouffer’s frozen tuna noodle entrees? I sat down to do the math: 2 Stouffer’s tuna noodle entrees cost $7.58 (all prices are befroe tax). When making it myself, I use 1/2 bag of Mrs. Grass’s noodles, 2 cans each of condensed mushroom soup and oil-pack tuna, some saltines and 1/4 stick of butter, for a grand total of $7.17 (the dollop of sherry I always add is “free”). This doesn’t look like a huge savings, but I’ll get three servings out of my homemade cassarole, so I’m actually saving more than a third on the cost of the two dinner servings, which I think is worth it. The third serving will be a lunch for one of us, saving the cost of one frozen lunch entree. I feel I can further defray the cost by shopping at ALDI, and since ther’e one nearby, I plan to explore it on Monday.

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