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Old 04-19-2009, 06:38 AM   #1
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What did your parents do for Budget Friendly Meals?

I want this line to be about the various things that some of us grew up, if not poor, at least financially strapped, with as food. I was in a family of a military enlisted man with four really big (not fat, mind you, just really tall and energetic) girls. I often wonder what Mom (a petite woman) thought when she looked up at us; already taller than her when we first hit double digits. How she fed us is not quite beyond me, I remember it well. So those of you who grew up eating budget foods, what did your parents do?

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Old 04-19-2009, 06:44 AM   #2
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One thing was during lent, on Fridays, it was tuna casserole. My mom's a great cook, but this stuff was awful. The white meat canned tuna we can get now was not in existance then, it was gray, oily, stinky stuff. It gave me a hatred of fish that wasn't overcome until I was almost 30 and found myself in Hawaii and loving fish, even eating raw tuna on a regular basis.
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Old 04-19-2009, 07:05 AM   #3
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I cant remember specifically what my parents did, but I do remember when I was newly married, still a student, living in a city far away from any family and friends , and my wife ( the only one working at the time) making about $6 an hour ( in the early 90's), I remember we budgeted ourselves to about $3 a dinner. We had spaghetti with jarred sauce 3 times a week ( Jarred sauce $1, spaghetti 25 cents). Another day, we would get the lipton broccoli and cheddar rice packet ( you know, the one you add a tbs of margarine and a cup of water to). Id cut up a fresh broccoli and put it in. (Rice packet 75 cents, broccoli $1.25) We would ride to this discount produce place about 40 minutes away and buy about $15 worth of fruits and veggies ( which was a real lot from this place). Id make a few soups ( split pea, vegetable). And we survived. I know my mom used to make macaroni and cheese for the family, but everyone liked theirs different so it became a project. MY brother and father would have tuna fish, mushrooms and cheddar in theirs. Me, a vegetarian, would have the same without the tuna. My sister only liked american cheese and no mushrooms, and my mom was always , i mean always on a diet, She would banana, cottage cheese, 1 slice of that crappy processed american cheese and 1/2 slice of bread.
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Old 04-19-2009, 07:46 AM   #4
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My mom used reconstituted dried milk for cereal, cooking, etc. I remember when I was 10 or so and she switched to fresh milk - we didn't like it at first! It took some getting used to I also remember a lot of homemade soups, stews, and casseroles.
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:48 AM   #5
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My dad was a coal miner and my mom a school teacher. Teachers didn't make much back then, so when the miners were on strike (and they had some long ones back then), money was really tight.
They had small neighborhood markets who would let a regular customer run a bill, especially when the miners were on strike, and that was a lot of help.

We ate things like Spanish Rice, slumgullion, tomato soup with toasted cheese sandwiches, SOS and tuna casserole. Dad would have time to fish, so sometimes we'd have fried bass or blue gill, a real treat for mom and me. He didn't like fish, just liked catching them, so mom would fry up a hamburger for him.
We always had Sunday dinner with Grandma and Grandpa, and Grandpa was general superintendent of all his company's coal mines down here, so they always had plenty of food on the table.

You know, the only thing that bothered me was having to brush my teeth with baking soda when we ran out of toothpaste.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:35 AM   #6
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Oh yeah...the dreaded S.O.S. I mean, my mom did her best, but chipped beef creamed with that dry reconstitued milk is just not that good. And canned peas on the side.

During my early married years (and pre-children), I would sometimes have to make the decision between taking the cat to the vet and eating pancakes, because Bisquick was the only thing in the house. The kitty went the vet, we choked down pancakes---for days at a time. Whew. Glad those days are over!
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:45 AM   #7
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We ate whatever was on sale that week. I learned to enjoy organ meats and we just ate whatever was put in front of us. We never did without, and Dad worked on the railroad so sometimes there were nice treats that came home. (Crab or shrimp from the coast) Those were portioned out VERY carefully let me tell you! We had a garden too, and even though we lived in the city, Dad found a way to grow tomatoes and other veggies. Mom never got to can many though as her rotten kids would sneak out and pick the tomatoes before they were ripe!
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:46 AM   #8
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My mom would make "grout," I think the name was a corruption of a Norwegian food (a cream dish), not the stuff used in tiling! Basically, it was creamed rice, put on a plate, with butter, cinnamon, and sugar, with a bit of milk on top. I remember many suppers of that, LOVED it. We also had milk toast, and many, many suppers of macaroni an ring baloney. We also had many suppers of potato soup.
Today, I am sitting in the apartment, with no cash, nothing really in the fridge, do have some chicken breasts to thaw later. May make some kind of biscuit to go with coffee. I try to keep the basics in my pantry, so can come up with something. Don't really feel like tuna this early, though! I do have some jam, so biscuits it is... but no milk... hmm...
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:48 AM   #9
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My mom used to make "goulash" for us. It was basically ground beef, chopped onion and green peppers, all sauteed until the meat was brown. Then she added a can of Campbell's tomato soup and cooked elbow macaroni. I still make it when I need comfort food - but minus the green peppers, which I really don't like.
She also used to make cooked potatoes and green beans in a white sauce. That was sometimes the main dish. And of course Spanish rice, tuna casserole, spaghetti with meat sauce, and yes, SOS. YUK!
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HMGgal View Post
Oh yeah...the dreaded S.O.S. I mean, my mom did her best, but chipped beef creamed with that dry reconstitued milk is just not that good. And canned peas on the side.
My mom made delicious SOS...she made a homemade white sauce, and used the jarred chipped beef. I make it the same way, and my family has always loved it too.
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:45 AM   #11
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Nothing went to waste either. If we were lucky enough to have a chicken dinner, the leftovers would be chicken a la king and the neck and carcass would be soup and stew. Mmmm. I still do that stuff.
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Old 04-19-2009, 03:11 PM   #12
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We always had a big garden, so we always had canned tomatoes. My mom/dad put up (canned, jarred, frozen) all kinds of stuff. Some that come to mind are:
corn scraped from the cob
all kinds of peas
chow-chow
pickled okra
pickles
sour kraut
hominy

My dad was a good fisherman, so we also had fried fish about once a week. Chicken must have been cheap because I remember a lot of fried chicken and chicken and dumplings. My mother could make the best vegetable soup with just a ham bone and a few fresh veg's, and she always made real homemade french fries. Her cooking was labor intensive, but very inexpensive and very good.
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Old 04-19-2009, 05:21 PM   #13
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Lots of homemade spaghetti, salmon patties and goulash.
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Old 04-19-2009, 05:29 PM   #14
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while we weren't very budgeted, my Dad cooked tuna casserole for Lent (my Mum loves tuna noodle casserole!), sos with burger instead of chipped beef; ham, cabbage & potatoes, huge pots of sketti sauce that we froze in the old plastic hagan ice cream containers, chili, etcetera. my Gramps, rest his soul, taught my Pops most of his dishes from when i was younger.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:00 PM   #15
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If we had a budget dish we never knew it was labeled as such. My mom cooked good, pretty basic recipes. "Good" was the only thing we focused on.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:42 PM   #16
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i too was a navy brat. not much money. my dad always always planted a veggie garden. one duty station he even rented land to plant one. all kinds of good things, and we moaned about having to snap beans, etc. my dad was into fish before it became popular. most always a block of icy cod. i remember chicken,a lot, sos, salmon patties( is still make em) but always the goodness of fresh veg. and in the winter , we ate the canned ones, my mom had put up. later on she froze the extras, great eating in winter. absolutely no fast food. fried orka( yum) we ate very well for not a whole lot of money.
oh yes she did the powdered milk thing, mixed half real and half powdered. most of the desserts we had were fruit based. cobblers, pies, even cakes. yum. i miss it all.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:59 PM   #17
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We ate a lot of rice0roni when i was younger. We had a few different menus that rotated throughout the weeks and months. For instance we knew we'd have fried chicken and rice at least once a week or pork chops and mac and cheese. And on a special occasion or about once a month we'd order pizza. All of us got two slices each and some salad. We were taken care of, but never overendulgent.

We had a lot of staples on hand so trips to the grocery store, which can be expensive, were limited. We always had rice, tomato sauce, frozen meats etc cheap meals were easy to throw together.
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Old 04-19-2009, 07:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snack_pack85 View Post
We ate a lot of rice0roni when i was younger.
We thought rice-a-roni was a treat!!!! (just trying to keep you from being the "thread killer" ) But TRULY, rice-a-roni really WAS a treat...from San Francisco you know!
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:15 PM   #19
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I remember lots of potato soup. I'm
just getting where I can eat it again.
We also had spaghetti and one of my
favorite comfort foods even today,
mostaccili (sp) pasta with canned
tomatoes that we would squish thru
our fingers and butter to finish the
sauce. Since my Mom had to work
and didn't always want to cook, she
would give us a dollar and send us
to the Mexican restaurant for a bean
burrito. No fast food around then....
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Old 04-19-2009, 08:57 PM   #20
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This is a difficult question to answer. Mom always cooked everything from scratch. There were no processed foods in the house ever, except for the occasional package of cookies or carton of ice cream.

We had roast chicken and pilaf every Sunday and the bones made stock for soup. I never had a can of soup as a child and when I finally did, I hated it.

Mom washed and reused aluminum foil and made soap. We made our own pickles.
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