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Presenting the First Course of the iBrattleboro Foodie Forum    
Tuesday, February 19 2008 @ 03:21 AM GMT+4
Contributed by: Julia Beard

FoodBrattleboro is a town full of Foodies. With so many minds wrapped up in food issues, cooking, eating and growing their own, it's a natural to have a forum.

So this won't be an answer column, this will be a question column, where iBratt users give the answers.

Your First Course: "How is everyone stretching their food dollars in these increasingly expensive times?"

Considering I just saw a "Sale Price" of $5.49/lb. for American cheese (!) we can use all the budgetary help we can get!

Send your Foodie Forum questions to info@ibrattleboro.com and they'll pop up here in a jiffy.


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  • Presenting the First Course of the iBrattleboro Foodie Forum | 9 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they may say.
    Presenting the First Course of the iBrattleboro Foodie Forum
    Authored by: cgrotke on Tuesday, February 19 2008 @ 02:02 PM GMT+4
    Food IS getting expensive - remember not so long ago when whole
    chickens were under $5?

    One way we do things is to plan meals that can then become other
    meals. An example (using the above, over-priced chicken) would be
    to have a roasted chicken one night, then take the leftovers and
    create a soup the next day. This turns one meal into four or five - a
    roast, plus some great soup for a few nights.

    Another one is to share meals with others, and have more potluck-
    type dinners. (Potcluck, if we used the over-priced chicken again...).

    The one I like least is to go without as much food. That one is hard
    for me, since my normal habit is to skip breakfast and sometimes
    lunch. If I give up dinner, I'm not eating at all... : )
    Presenting the First Course of the iBrattleboro Foodie Forum
    Authored by: Chef on Wednesday, February 20 2008 @ 03:39 AM GMT+4
    I like the idea of having more pot luck dinners.
    Presenting the First Course of the iBrattleboro Foodie Forum
    Authored by: annikee on Wednesday, February 20 2008 @ 03:00 PM GMT+4
    I agree. Food seems to go a lot further and nourishes more than the body when it's shared!

    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Stretching food budgets
    Authored by: Barry Dingle on Tuesday, February 19 2008 @ 03:25 PM GMT+4

    I'm trying to buy less processed stuff and more regional produce. I am using recipes that call for simple but healthy produce options. I don't eat very much meat which is also a money saver as well as being more healthy and earth conscious.

    We just got another reminder of how nasty the meat industry can be when large conglomerates are in charge of our food processing. Sick and disabled cows were tortured and dragged into a California butchering plant and there has now been a massive recall of beef from that plant. Sick animals were being used for school lunches. That's what happens when large corporations are in charge of our food.

    Buying local or regional and from small scale operations will assure you get better healthier and more humanely produced foods.

    I also try to make enough so I have leftovers for another meal as finding the time to make meals can sometimes be challenging.

    Presenting the First Course of the iBrattleboro Foodie Forum
    Authored by: babalu on Tuesday, February 19 2008 @ 05:03 PM GMT+4
    Food budget is exactly the reason I do not routinely "buy local" - I wish I could support it more, but it boils down to budget for me.
    Two main things we do in my household to stretch the budget, is first, we do not pay full price for anything unless we have to. The menu is made up of whatever is on sale.
    Second to that is to make use of coupons. An example is a coupon for .75 cents (usually $1) on a "buy two" qualifier; something like birdseye frozen vegetables. The grocery store will double the coupon, up to a dollar - so, we hold out until the item is on sale - apply the coupon and end up paying anywhere from 25 to 50 cents per item.
    We routinely save 30 to 55% on our total purchase.
    However, it takes a great deal of attention to detail in both the current prices as well as the expiration dates on the coupon, and an initial outlay to stock the pantry - it does no good to buy just two if the sales are a couple of months apart. It's a lot of work!
    We also hold the stores to their promises - so if an item doesn't scan properly we take the time to stand in the second line (customer service).
    Staying away from processed food as much as possible is a must. The old standard in shopping is to use the "outer walls" only - it's the inner isles of the stores that hold the most in processed food. And, in shopping the outer walls, avoid single serve sized anything. Even yogurt can be purchased in large containers and we add our own little mixtures of fruits or flavorings.

    If there is no wind, ROW!
    Bean Soup
    Authored by: Lise on Tuesday, February 19 2008 @ 05:56 PM GMT+4
    A new fave of mine is bean soup -- you can get hamhocks for a dollar a hock at Hannafords which makes a nice smoky base. And dried beans are cheap. I've used my own mixtures of various dried beans and also those big bags of premixed dried beans. Both work good and with the addition of mire poix type vegetables (and potatoes -- gotta have potatoes) you get a rich, nutritious soup with protein and almost no meat.

    Otherwise, I'm sticking to basics and planning to stock up on bags of things like onions, potatoes, and carrots. You can always make something out of those and its much cheaper to buy in bulk.

    Great Forum!
    Authored by: kdinvt on Tuesday, February 19 2008 @ 08:59 PM GMT+4
    In my household, we try to buy local meat and eggs as much as possible. With the higher price for these items, it means we don't eat at much meat at meals, which is not a bad thing. I am also very strategic about how I use meat, and make sure I buy cuts that can be streched out in stews or used in a multitude of ways (whole roast chicken one night, leftovers for soup or a pot pie, boil the carcass for chicken stock)

    After a few lean years financially, I've figured out that eating fruits and vegetables in season is cheaper, and I've also identified which vegetables and fruits are the cheapest and most nutritious and figured out many delicious ways to prepare them: beans, carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, greens, bananas, apples.

    Learning how to cook from scratch, and avoiding anything packaged in a box or cellophane has also helped me save money over the years!

    In the summertime, I have a large vegetable garden and do a little bit or foraging, which brings my food costs way down. This year, I managed to freeze some fruit and vegetables from the garden and have been enjoying them all winter.

    I have found that there are many resources for cooking, foraging and preserving on the web. Good luck!
    Presenting the First Course of the iBrattleboro Foodie Forum
    Authored by: annikee on Tuesday, February 19 2008 @ 10:18 PM GMT+4
    Buying on sale and in the bigger packages is good to stretch everything. I'll roast a whole brisket for slices the first dinner, then cut the rest into- chunks for stew, smaller squares for soup, and middle slices get individually bagged (old bread bags). Everything goes in the freezer in portion sizes. Burger too. Some goes into burgers (tops of plastic containers between) some goes to meatballs or loaf, the bits into spaghetti sauce. No leftover veggie goes to waste. Even bread bits I let dry out, then freeze. Great for breadcrumbs. And if you're making soup, instead of heating up the whole oven for biscuits, put your biscuit dough on top as dumplings. And always fill your oven if you've got it running. Bake potatoes for hash browns or home fries while you're roasting.

    "Kindness and love being the core of human interaction rather than power and material gain is at the heart of everything worth struggling for"-SK-B
    Presenting the First Course of the iBrattleboro Foodie Forum
    Authored by: JoanneN on Tuesday, February 26 2008 @ 08:37 PM GMT+4
    This is a tough subject for me. Since i wish to eat healthier and would prefer to buy only organic and local meat and produce. THe problem of course is money and also my daughter has Cystic Fibrosis. She needs to be on a high calorie, high fat, high protein diet. Not so easy a task when I need to eat low fat, and a good carb diet. EEEK! I try my best to buy local, but most of the time I cannot afford to. The meat thing bothers me the most since organic and local meat costs so much. I have started making at least 2 vegetarian evening meals a week. I crave beef though on occasion and do not want to eat meat that i do not know the history of especially with everything in the news about cloned beef and companies mistreating the animals. Well i could go on but than I would be typing for hours.