I have been reading Clara's Kitchen and enjoying every word. She not only shares recipes but talks about how they did things to make it through the depression. So far I have tried three of her recipes and have enjoyed each one.
The green bean recipe taught me how to make those elegant and crisp beans that rest in fancy dishes in magazines and on websites. The baked apples added a a healthy dessert to my list of options. It was the last one I tried that really enlightened me.
I have been approaching the balance of healthy and affordable all wrong!
Like many others, I feel that growing food is an excellent plan. I know what goes into them and I can control expense by the choices I make. However, I get overwhelmed by trying to get it done, especially when I begin to think of how I will manage "the big stuff" like potatoes, lettuce and other things we rely greatly on for meals.
Clara's dish was a simple one of potatoes, carrots, onions, celery and tomatoes cooked on the stove top in a couple of tablespoons of oil. Naturally potatoes are the main portion and the cheap filler side dish so I really should grow potatoes to lower our food expense and have a natural food, right?
As I was cutting everything up and putting them in the pan, I realised I had a lot of carrot, onion and celery in there. Hey, those would be easier to grow and maintain. Why not grow what I thought of as the small things and use them as stretchers for the foods I am not ready to try growing like potatoes. The price I pay weekly for tomatoes alone covers a small bag of potatoes.
I took the idea a step farther in contemplation. My husband won't eat most cooked vegetables but he loves salad. I make salad with lettuce as the main ingredient. Lettuce is one of the most expensive ingredient and least filling. Why not change proportion there too and toss in more tomato and some carrots too. This would become cheaper if I am growing those tomatoes and carrots.
Perhaps Clara didn't intend this lesson on changing the balance of foods and the direction I was planning gardening but it's one I thank her for. I also thank all of you who have been discussing food with me and laying the groundwork for me to consider different approaches to meals.