Making Ends Meet ... Feeding A Family On A Budget.

Canada
April 30, 2007 2:01am CST
I grew up poor, as my mom was widowed at an early age, leaving her to look after my older sister and brother, myself, and my younger sister. We'd sometimes 'have to make do,' when it came to mealtime, depending on the time of month etc., as related to the money we had on hand at the time. However, there was always 'something' to eat for every meal, even though it would be considered 'sparse' at times. Below is a 'meal' my mom would serve, when funds were running low. *** Boats On The River Place 6 - 8 unsalted soda crackers in a bowl. Boil the kettle, and pour boiling water over the crackers to cover them. Drain off water, when crackers were 'swollen up' from the boiling water. Sprinkle crackers with brown sugar, and pour milk on top. This would be our supper some nights. Another 'trick' she'd use to fill us up, was to encourage us to eat a slice of bread and butter, with the canned fruit we'd often have for dessert. *** The term 'Boats On The River', was used by a good friend of mine's mom, as he was telling me about this 'dish' that his mom used to serve when he was a boy. We just called it crackers with brown sugar and milk, but the 'fancy title' makes it sound better to me. Did your family have meals sometimes, that were inexpensive, and would help to stretch the budget? What were (are) they, and did (do) you enjoy them? Do you agree (as I do) that these 'simpler' times were better in some ways? We were happy, despite some difficult circumstances, and learned to be thankful for what we had.
3 people like this
5 responses
@rainbow (6763)
30 Apr 07
My mum used to do that with ryvita if there was nothing for breakfast. We used to have a tin of baked beans and fried onions for tea, sometimes there'd be mushrooms, yum. Cheese (grated so it goes further) on toast bread and butter pudding - bread, milk, sugar sultanas, baked in the oven a pound of minced beef would start as mince and onions and mushroom, turn into sweet and sour or spaghetti bolognaise (add a tin of tomatoes and or pineapple) the next night and curry the night after (add curry powder and sultanas). left over mashed potatoes and veg were fried up to make bubble and squeak pasta could be boiled with milk and sugar to make a macoroni pudding any veg that looked a bit sad would be put in stew, curry or pie crust to use it up. sugar sandwiches, slice of bread with sugar sprinkled on it banana or apple sandwiches, slice of bread and sliced fruit if we only had eggs the yellow would be used to make eggy bread with a bit of milk and and fried. The white whisked, a little sugar added and popped in to oven to go sticky and brown, this often went over any apples that needed using up. I am not quite so good at using up, I tend to buy what I need but I do make a lot of these now, sugar sandwiches are out, but I used to enjoy what we ate and when you think how much healthier we were, maybe it wasn't such a bad thing.
3 people like this
• Canada
30 Apr 07
We had really good food, growing up, despite the fact that we were on such a tight budget. We had our own vegetable garden, homemade canned fruits, jams etc., and also grew raspberries, strawberries, and the like. I remember a friend who used to bring brown sugar sandwiches to school, although I didn't. We also ate creamed peas on toast, leftover oatmeal (fried), leftover mashed potatoes made into a roll, and sliced and fried etc. etc. My mom always used up all of her piecrust by rolling it out, sprinkling it with brown sugar, a bit of cinnamon, and butter on the top. Then she'd make it into a roll, and bake it ... yummy, and great memories, now that I think of it. Thanks for this, Rainbow.
2 people like this
@rainbow (6763)
2 May 07
I remember the leftover pastry being spread with jam like a turnover and cooked too, lol. we grew fruit and veg in the back garden and a small greenhouse made of a few old windows in the corner of the back wall - painted white to get more sun, it was lovley really, picking raspberries, brambles, peas, apples, plums etc to freeze for winter. If I had enough garden I'd have more of my own produce, I think it does the kids good to see the food grow and look after it.
1 person likes this
• Canada
2 May 07
I agree! It sure did me good to work in the garden etc. when I was a child. Thanks for reviving so many memories for me Rainbow.
1 person likes this
@samson1967 (7422)
• India
30 Apr 07
Your dishes are sparese, but adequate. I like simple foods simply. Not to save money or due to budget constraint. I love always a simple rice gruel or curd rice.
3 people like this
• Canada
30 Apr 07
I guess there are different ways of looking at what's considered adequate, and what isn't. It's great that you are satisfied with simpler foods, and we 'had' to be happy with what we got, when I was a child. Because of my mom's knowhow, we never had to go to bed without some type of a meal. Thanks for sharing.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 May 07
I would remember my mom making "extenders" whenever we would be short of money. Left-over chicken or any meat (like fish meat) or even vegetables would be covered with flour, then deep-fried, in order to "extend" the size of the portions. These actually taste good with sauce/catsup! This recipe of hers is like Tempura (Japanese food) with flour covering of shrimps/prawns and vegetables -- the poor version of it, though. Happy myLotting!
2 people like this
• Canada
1 May 07
Your 'extenders' sound really tasty. It's amazing how easily foods can be stretched, with a little imagination, and know-how.
@webeishere (36353)
• United States
30 Apr 07
When our children were little the wife & I both worked at restaraunts. We would always bring food home from work saving a lot of cash this way. We also learned to use Rice-A-Roni and adding many different things to it to have a meal that would last a few days. Macaron N Cheese was a HUGE staple also in our family as that's a cheap meal to make. Thanks and have a great day/evening. HAPPY POSTINGS FROM GRANDPA BOB !!~
2 people like this
• Canada
30 Apr 07
Thanks for this Grandpa Bob! I use various types of rice, like you mentioned to this day, and have become good at the art of stretching food out. I guess I've followed in my mom's footsteps somewhat, in this way.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 May 07
My mom would make hamburg hash (hamburg with some sort of gravy) and we would eat it on top of mashed potatoes. I loved it! Also,she would make macaroni and tomatoes with hamburg (Exactly what you think...Just the three ingredients) I really liked these dishes and yet they were cheap and simple and stretched so that we would be full. Today, we live on a budget, somewhat, and I make Hamburg Helper at least once a week and dishes like shepherds pie and chili that fill up our tummies. My son also likes Kraft dinner. LOL "The simpler things in life are the finest" so they say! :)
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 May 07
In fact I have a nice hearty stew in the slow cooker for dinner tonight! :) Simple Comfort Food
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 May 07
These dinners all sound delicious to me, with the exception of the Kraft Dinner, as it's not something I enjoy too often. I think my daughter ate so much of it when she was little, that it mostly lost its appeal for me. I agree, that those simple times from our childhood were the best. Thanks heavenschild.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 May 07
Your stew sounds delicious! Comfort Food is great!
1 person likes this