Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A slightly great depression?

My grandmother, who just turned 88 on Saturday, has been saying for sometime that food prices might be going so high that it will be like a new Great Depression. When she would say this, I would agree that they are high but I couldn't imagine bread lines and days of famine like the Grapes of Wrath. I mean, this is the 21st century, for crying out loud. Our flying cars are just around the corner; mass-produced and cheap food can't be far behind, right?

Well, maybe she is on to something. There have been news stories aplenty lately about the rising price of staples such as eggs, milk, flour and that with gas prices going through the roof, we can expect these food items to go higher too. Now, I already think food prices are too darn high (yet another sign that I'm getting old when I start thinking about former milk prices) but to imagine them even higher is scary. As it is, I can't afford to buy organic when I want to (I do try to do it with milk because I just like it better) and I try to pick things that are on sale. But with higher and higher prices, my family will be doing without little luxuries that we've taken for granted. The Irish cheese I get now and then, the fresh squeeze orange juice instead of frozen, the really creamy ice cream in the tiny packages.

My cooking style will have to change too, if this bleak forecast comes to pass. No more whim recipes that call for 20 ingredients (a teaspoon or two of each); it will be basic stuff with staples, done creatively to keep it interesting. Expensive ingredients will be out and old fashioned favorites will be in. Truffle oil? I think not. Good old Wesson, thank you. Leftovers, that four-letter word in my vocabulary, will have to become my new passion. Stew, again, Mommy? Oh, you bet, son. We've got a bit left in the tupperware.

Well, whether dire predictions come to pass or not, saving some dough on dough is a good idea. I'm going to be looking for recipes from tight times and tweaking them a bit for today. Easy ingredients, leftovers and interest will be what I'm looking for, so stay tuned for some posts with the most from the ghost of kitchens past.


Buck said...

It's amazing how our grandmothers (who lived through the Depression) could enter a kitchen with seemingly bare cupboards and emerge with a hearty meal for ten. Such talent may have to be revived.. .

Sling said...

I'm a leftover fanatic,probably because my parents went through the depression.
That stew,wrapped in flour tortillas,will make fine burritos the next day.
Buck is right.all it takes is a little creativity.

rosemary said...

I'm with both of the boys here...creativity and left overs can become wonderful meals. I am a horrible cook, but the basics...chicken, steak, pasta and veggies are so re-fixable. I have my ration book from when I was a baby...it was only for milk. I also remember my mom using powdered milk....sorry, but yuk.

Doralong said...

I suggest the one and only M.F.K. Fisher and How to Cook a Wolf- it gives a bit of perspective and makes one realize the old adage that "The more things change, the more they stay the same" is oft times true..

Anonymous said...

Lucky me, I live right next to a gorcery outlet where the food is always affordable because it's about to expire, lol.
Seriously though, my mom was the MacGyver of the pantry and I learned a lot. Good thing I turned out to be really really poor. (:

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