Clever Cooks, Reviews

It’s not about the limitations: The $120 Food Challenge

In February 2010 I found myself without a job. With no replacement job forthcoming, I signed up for unemployment benefits and reined in as much expenditure as I could. Faced with the option of either paying an electricity bill or buying groceries that week, I approached the Salvation Army who gave me two $60 food vouchers to use for the fortnight. (Sandra Reynolds)

Two years, a blog and a book deal later, Sandra Reynolds has increased her food budget to a modest $120 per week. However, unlike the Australian Women’s Weekly, she isn’t cowed by her limitations – ‘Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you have to eat a restricted diet’ – and her recipes from both blog and book are a testament to this philosophy. Continue reading

Clever Cooks, Footnote Frivolity***, Reviews

A frugal diet: Smart Food – 101 recipes that won’t break the budget

All the ingredients can be bought at the supermarket—nothing is exotic or expensive—and the dishes are delicious and simple to make. (blurb from Smart Food)

Using pantry staples such as carrots, canned tomatoes, and mince, the Australian Women’s Weekly’s Smart Food trots out predictable fare: soups, pastas, stews, pies, and the occasional curry or stir fry. A North African pork and cabbage rolls recipe is the only oasis in a culinary dessert, and even then it requires mince and canned tomatoes.

There’s logic behind the lack of imagination. By showing what can be done with a restrictive list of ingredients, Smart Food reduces waste in the kitchen, potentially saving households $1,036 each year*. Continue reading

Clever Cooks, Footnote Frivolity***, Reviews

British retro cool: Delia’s Frugal Food

It’s strange how things drift in and out of fashion. Being thrifty was the done thing in 1976, when Delia’s Frugal Food was first published; now*, with rapidly increasing food prices, thrift has made a comeback.

In keeping with the book’s theme, Delia Smith has recycled much of its contents. She ‘felt it had a certain nostalgic appeal in showing how things were thirty-two years ago’. Hence this revised edition is a bit of a curiosity, offering fascinating insight on a bygone era. Continue reading