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Old 09-06-2012, 07:22 PM   #101
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When I was little and we were broke it was pancake night!

If we were out of syrup then they were topped with a mixture of brown sugar and a little hot coffee.

We thought it was great and did not understand that we were broke.

My mother also tried creamed tuna with peas and fried spam etc... We were never very enthusiastic about those things so she stuck with pancakes and we were all pretty happy!
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:27 PM   #102
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My mom shopped the specials. We almost never got cookies or cake. Dessert was almost always fruit, except special occasions. I don't remember any "cheap" meals, but as a kid, it was all just food. Most winter Thursdays it was split pea soup with ham sandwiches and Swedish pancakes for dessert (a Swedish tradition) (I really disliked the pea soup, but the pancakes for dessert made up for it). Stuff like fizzy soft drinks was only for special occasions. I guess her method was mostly specials and no extravagance on a daily basis.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:27 PM   #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
When I was little and we were broke it was pancake night!

If we were out of syrup then they were topped with a mixture of brown sugar and a little hot coffee.

We thought it was great and did not understand that we were broke.

My mother also tried creamed tuna with peas and fried spam etc... We were never very enthusiastic about those things so she stuck with pancakes and we were all pretty happy!
My mom made maple syrup with maple extract and white sugar. Boiled it down until it thickened up. Our pancakes were crepes...
I used to eat a bit of molasses with white bread for dessert.
Add an onion then water to the frying pan after frying meat and make a broth for macaroni noodles. I used to load it up with margarine and black pepper. Surprised I'm still here to tell the story. lol
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:29 AM   #104
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This should probably be kept quiet, and not considered at all for "budget meals" but I tell this story to so many people, because it embarrasses my mom. (What? She spent 18 years doing everything she could to embarrass me!) I was born on a US army base in Germany. Sounds cool, but we were actually flat broke the whole time. Once I was off of formula and could have regular milk, water, juice, etc, we didn't have the money for anything but water. To keep me happy, though, my mom filled my bottle with kool aid. Every day. I seriously can't drink it now. The thought disgusts me. hahaha
The more you know!
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:31 AM   #105
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I admire my parents so much. We had a household of 7 (5 kid, 2 parents, blended household) and one income. By today's standard we were living lean, but we never wanted for food. My mom has always been a great money manager.

Once a year, they would share a cow with the neighbors and it would be cut up and packaged for the freezer (local farm offered this), they would sometimes do the same with a pig. There was a dairy farm about 45 minutes away that had great prices on milk, so someone from the neighborhood would make the trip and fill their trunk with milk and we would distribute it among the neighbors. Mom always used coupons, and when generic foods came along, she started buying those, which were sometimes terrible Thankfully they are much better now!

Being in Maine, they would always buy tons of potatoes at harvest time, really cheap, and we stored them in the basement. We usually had a garden and mom canned.

We always had spaghetti once a week, anyone remember "Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti day" We usually had spaghetti on Wednesday, what a great marketing strategy! Mom always did the baking from scratch, never buying store junk food, she did buy bread because with 5 kids she wouldn't have been able to keep up! She did buy from the bread thrift store and put it in the freezer.

My strategy for budget friendly is to always have some of your grocery money on reserve, if you don't spend the entire weeks' budget, squirrel away the excess and when you see a great sale, you can stock up! Back when money was really tight, I hated seeing a great sale and not being able to take advantage of it. We eat very well and quite healthy with very few processed foods, and don't have to spend a fortune.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:23 PM   #106
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My parents owned their own businesses from the time I was about 6 until I was in my late teens. First, they owned two newspapers. After that, they owned a restaurant. My mom didn't like to cook, the three of us ate around 6:00 p.m. My parents ate after we were in bed. I don't know what they ate because they ate other food than we ate. I remember eating a lot of hard-boiled eggs and spinach, we also ate a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches. When they owned the restaurant, we placed our orders and my mom would bring those meals home for us. We ate a lot of prime rib, ham, shrimp, and other things that were on the menu. When my mom had to start cooking (after they sold the restaurant), she did a 7-meal rotation. I don't think there was a budget restriction. My mom shopped the specials, but we ate the same thing every week, on the same day. The only thing that changed was the vegetable. If it was Friday, it was steak night--green beans or frozen peas?
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Old 09-08-2012, 01:40 AM   #107
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Dad would buy 4 chickens, a 5-lb bone-in ham and 8 pounds of hamburger on his monthly payday. This protein would last our family of 5 (later 6) for a month. We ate a lot of honey-butter and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch.
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Old 09-08-2012, 03:45 AM   #108
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After we left the farm we lived in the city. It was an Italian neighborhood. My mother shopped liked the Italian women. There was Joe Pushcart who came around every day pushing his cart with fresh veggies. Leo the Butcher who knew what every customer wanted. My mother had polio as a child and walking was very difficult for her. So I got to run to the store every day. I learned what to look for in good fresh veggies. I knew how to pick out a good piece of meat.

We had pasta with gravy that had meatballs, Italian sausages and sometimes some pork ribs. We lived only four blocks from the fish pier. I would go down there and look for a good piece of dried cod. My mother would make creamed cod and peas over mashed potatoes. You had to bring your own bags. There was one fisherman that would sneak me a small fillet of haddock. Sometimes my mother would have me buy a fish frame with the head on for fish chowder. They cost the grand sum of five cents.

On Sunday's we would have a New England boiled dinner. Smoked shoulder with potatoes, onions, carrots, turnip. She would mash the carrots and turnip with my potatoes, put a large glob of margarine in it along with salt and pepper. I do the same thing today, but it just doesn't taste as good as when she did it. She always put in extra potatoes. For some reason her potatoes tasted like a potato.

On July 4th, she would make creamed salmon (canned) with peas over mashed potatoes. A New England tradition. She died on July 4th.

She cooked on a wood burning stove. I used to go to the corner store and buy wood by the bag. There was also a coal company near the fish pier. I would take a bag and go down there and pick up pieces that had fallen off the trucks as they were being loaded. That stove also heated the apartment in the winter. She would save the coal for winter use. My mother also grew up during the depression. She allocated ten dollars for the food budget each week. We always had a full meal on the table. No desserts though. Sometimes she would make me gingerbread.

My mother also grew up durng the Depression. Her mother died when she was nine and her father when she was ten. Her oldest sister raised her. For most of her life she had a brace on her bad leg. Then one day she took it off and never wore it again. But she had days that were very difficult for her to stand. So I learned at a very young age how to cook because she couldn't stand too long. She would be sitting at the table and tell me what to do next. When I had my kids, every Friday I would put the beans into soak for beans on Saturday. I made them exactly like she taught me. My daughter still talks about them.

I never minded having to be in the house instead of out with my friends. I loved cooking. While we were waiting to do the next step we would sit and play cards together. My mother gave me a lot of happy memories. I gave her a lot of grief. But we always had a good meal on the table.
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Old 09-08-2012, 07:36 AM   #109
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My mom did pretty much the same as many of you have mentioned (finding good deals on meat, learning tasty ways to extend a small amount of food, etc.). I have to say, she was amazing. She made such wonderful tasting meals from so little. She knew every way there was to turn cheap ground beef and cheap hot dogs into delicious meals. I think my mom could have turned an old leather shoe into a meal! When our family finances improved, she started buying better cuts of meat, but she still shopped the specials and bought reasonably priced meats and other foods.
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:00 AM   #110
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I remember my ,mother telling me to never pay more than fifty cents a pound for meat. She would tell me that we could wait until it went on sale.
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