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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How to Cook Without A Book

Besides dumpster diving and mooching off your friends, the ultimate frugal cuisine is--yes--COOKING. Especially if you use what you have. I have been using my leg of lamb for many meals, too many. And today, Funny About Money posted about a luscious-sounding soup she made with odds and ends.

Of course, the reason that Funny can do that is because she knows how to cook. I know how to cook too. That's why I can do it. I did not learn to cook till I was an adult. Like many, I slavishly followed recipes. Now I can put together many things sans recipe because I have some basic templates in my head.

I've written about this book before, but it is worth mentioning again. Pam Anderson put together a book of templates.

Another book I have--though I seldom use it--directly addresses the Mother Hubbard syndrome: what to cook when you have nothing to cook.

Hey! You can get that tome for a mere penny plus shipping. That's pretty frugal. This is a skill that's even more critical these days when we are all short of time AND money. Plus, of course, the gas to get to the store grows ever more expensive.

What do you cook when you have nothing to cook?

5 comments:

Duchesse said...

Omlette, every time! Do you know Michael Ruhlman's cookbook "Ratios: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking"? Cooking is a basic life skill, whether one is frugal or not.

Idee Fixe (punk.glam.queen@gmail.com) said...

Almost always it's soup! Soup and homemade bread when I have nothing in the house. Sometimes frittata or pasta as well.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--I will look for that book-thanks. I think cooking is IN ITSELF frugal.

@Idee--I'm a soup girl myself. A frittata is good too--esp because you can eat the leftovers cold.

SouthrnTiger86 said...

Like my mother, I keep spaghetti ingredients (pasta, stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, etc) in the pantry, as well as a can of white beans, rice, and chicken broth (to cook the rice in). She bought me the first can of white beans for my pantry.

Though lately, I've let my pantry run low to force myself to be a little more creative. I rarely cook with a recipe and am generally satisfied with the results. In fact, the last time I tried cooking with a recipe (a tomato pie/tart from Food Network, it was abysmal). The other night I cooked a beef stroganoff knock-off with pantry and freezer items to good reviews.

Frugal Scholar said...

@SouthrnTiger--You could eat for a week with those ingredients. I too am trying to use up some oddities. Stroganoff sounds great. I could do it--with meatballs--but I have no mushrooms...