A few of my readers opined that yogurt-making is not a huge money saver, because you can get it cheaply at Trader Joe's and the like. Would that Trader Joe's* would open here.
I usually accede to the wisdom of my readers. But then I wondered: If it doesn't pay to make your own yogurt, how come my food costs are so low, lower even than the Food Stamp allowance, I believe. I don't use coupons; we eat very well; we are picky about quality, especially of cheese, and so on. No junk food or faux food for us.
Eventually I realized that, like Dorothy, I had the answer in front of me all along. In my very own post about how gardening saves money. In that post, I argued that we saved money with gardening because we ate a lot of, say, kale, and the kale displaced other things we might have bought.
Mr. FS and I (and our dear children, when they are home) consume tons of delicious bread and yogurt. Who wouldn't?
I just consulted with Mr. FS, who makes the bread and the yogurt. He says he makes yogurt twice a week--that would be 4 quarts. He bakes once a week--that would be 3 loaves plus two baguettes.
You may picture us eating yogurt upon yogurt, joylessly looking at our bank balance. Or piece of bread upon piece of bread, ditto.
But no. Right now, I am looking at a cookbook (a favorite pastime), daydreaming about what I will be cooking. The cookbook under my gaze is Joyce Goldstein's Solo Suppers:
I am considering making the Persian meatball soup on page 50, since I have some frozen meatballs: meatballs, chickpeas, other stuff in yogurt-thickened chicken broth.
Or maybe the chicken and bread soup on page 43, a delicious sounding soup, thickened with bread.
And we still have lots of greens. How about white bean guazzetto with shellfish and greens on page 47?
And that's just in the soup chapter. The book has the Search Inside feature I love so much, so you can check out Goldstein's recipes yourself.
Not ONE of these recipes will require a trip to the store for me: everything is in the pantry, freezer, fridge, or garden. More savings--of time, not to mention the planet.**
We don't eat much dessert, but if you blend frozen bananas with a little yogurt and a dash of vanilla in the food processor (stick blender doesn't work here), you get something very like soft-serve ice cream. I learned that trick from Martha Shulman's Fast Vegetarian Feasts.
No dreary dinners for us.
*Mr. FS grew up in Pasadena, site of the very first TJ's. There really was a Joe.
**We went to a wonderful concert last week, featuring Don Vappie and his band and Beausoleil avec Michael Doucet. Many cracks were made by the musicians concerning the latest environmental disaster. Michael Doucet said "BP stands for beaucoup pissed-off."