07 November 2008

Foodie Friday: Not a hard scrabble cook

--I always tell everyone that I hate to cook. It occurred to me this week that I am not telling the whole truth. There are circumstances in which I like to cook. ABM and I have thrown dinner parties for friends where I've created a theme and tried out new recipes. He always says that I look angry while cooking for these parties, but I'm actually having fun.

The type of cooking I don't like is what I think of as hard scrabble or desperation dinners. We are dealing with a tight budget at the moment which has me reaching toward the back of the pantry and the bottom of the freezer. I know that our great-grandmothers had a lot less to work with during the Great Depression, so I feel like a big baby for whining. Still, I'm not a creative cook. When I go downstairs to prepare a meal and find that I don't have the ingredients to make the few entrees I know, my brain shuts down. I end up giving the kids sandwiches and calling it a day.

--BEST DINNER OF THE WEEK: This was one of those hard scrabble weeks I mentioned. As I said, my freezer and cabinets are not empty, but I don't always know what to do with is in there. Last night, I made lazy meat based on a suggestion from A Year of CrockPotting. I threw a beef roast in the crockpot with some barbecue sauce and prayed :-). While praying, I sauteed some onions to go with the beef because I was craving them and opened a can of ham-flavored green beans. The kids ate it up. M cut up her meat and put it on a flour tortilla with the onions.

--The green beans weren't a hit with everyone. As soon as C2 found out that we were having green beans, she asked if they were out of a can. When I said yes, she decided not to eat any. I didn't get much out of my fall planting of green beans, but I guess it was enough to turn C2 into a bit of a food snob.

--When I have limited ingredients and can't figure out what to cook, one of the first websites I go to is Hillbilly Housewife. It is filled with common-sense ideas that people can truly use, like the emergency $45 menu to feed a family of four for a week. I'm not, but it is still helpful. This site is for real people who have lost their jobs and are making due on WIC or food stamps. There is some work involved; I'm not sure that everyone I know would want to make their own bread. Even if you don't want to go that far, you will find some good basic recipes on this site. I've made the chicken and dumplings recipe several time and my kids have enjoyed it.
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