Poor People's Food

@cynthiann (18619)
Jamaica
March 28, 2013 9:06pm CST
When I moved to my adoped country, cornmeal was considered to be poor people's food. We actually used it to feed out dogs on the farm. And the dish was called 'turned cornmeal'. I knew that economically impoverished people used it and added any left over vegetables or meat and cooked it for a main meal. So, despite loving cornmeal pudding and corn bread and cornmeal porridge, I had never cooked it this way or even tasted it. Unconciously, I had rejectd it as cheap food for poor people and thought that it would taste awful. I was influenced by friends in this decision and I am being honest. I should mention that I am trying to eat more meatless meals for my health and two days ago read the recipe for turned cornmeal. So with laptop on the kitchen counter, I made this dish and to be frank, it tasted so good. I sauteed garlic, skellion, thyme, onions, grated pumpkin and hot peppers and black pepper in a little butter then added coconut milk and lastly the cornmeal when the water was boiling. I cooked it for about twenty minutes stiring anxiously as this was my first time in making the dish. I ate it with steamed calalloo (similar to spinach) and it was a dish fit for a king at a very cheap cost. Have you tried meals or dishes what are considered to be for economically deprived people only? What foods are cheap in your country that people would eat? I will eat this recipe at least once a week from now on.
8 people like this
19 responses
@Hatley (164640)
• Garden Grove, California
29 Mar 13
okay I lost my first response so copy I never knew it was called poor mans food as I grew up eating corn bread corn pudding cornmeal mush and loved it and still do . we have corn bread quite often here and beans of all kinds are considered cheap and i love them especially chili beans and baked beans and really beans are so good for you. Pasta is another cheapy and I love my spaghetti with tomato sauce with garlic and basil in it.Beef stew is fairly inexpensive too and really filling too.Another cheaper dish is meat loaf which I dislike the way they make it here.I always made mine with chopped celery and onion and green peppers and it was so good,Here they just put chopped carrots and it does not ave that m uch flavor just oiulky meat, I always used the leanest ground beef I could get.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
29 Mar 13
What os cornmeal mush? I haven't heard of that dish before. I haven't made a meatloaf in years and to be honest, I did not make a good one really. Minced beef is not cheap here. You see? We both love cornmeal
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (100331)
• United States
29 Mar 13
Hey, Hatley, I had a friend from the Daktas that ate scrapple, isn't that a cornmeal dish? Cynthiann when we made mush it was stirring cornmeal into boiling slightly salted water and cooking until done, however long that was. We then ate it with milk and sugar.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
29 Mar 13
If anything, it's probably the processed foods that extremely poor people eat here. The food companies have made them so cheap, and so people get away from healthy, natural food, and eat too much fat, sugar, flour, etc.
2 people like this
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
29 Mar 13
I am trying to eliminate bread and fats from my diet but it is difficult as they are the cheapest things available. I am eating also the roughest natural kind of oats porridge with skimmed milk for breakfast and unprocessed honey to sweeten. Just a teaspoonful of honey. So difficult and expensive to eat healthily. I have to drop weight too
3 people like this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
29 Mar 13
Yeah, you want organic food, no pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormone, additives, etc., and it costs more than food with all that other crap....
2 people like this
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
29 Mar 13
That's right. And definitely nothing containing a growth hormone!
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Mar 13
I eat corn meal porridge because my mother is from the islands and it was the norm. she was not poor when she was little either. I eat rice a lot because it stretches my meals. I am also trying to make meatless meals more. The problem is my man loves meat more than anything.
2 people like this
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
29 Mar 13
No, cornmeal porridge is not considered to be poor people's food and is still a favourite out here in all classes of society. It is the tuned cornmeal that I am talking about. It is called different names in different Islands . For example in Barbados it is called coo coo or something like that. Yes, rice can stretch a meal. I am finding it very expensive to eat more fruits and vegetables as the last hurrucane destroyed our crops. Hurricane Sandy is the one that I am talking about
2 people like this
• Philippines
29 Mar 13
This is the first time I heard poor peoples food but anyway it is just a matter of interpretations on how you treat things around you.
2 people like this
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
29 Mar 13
I agree with you but this is what I was told when I first came to my adopted country. So what food do you eat that is cheap in your country?
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (100331)
• United States
29 Mar 13
Beans, dried beans are poor folk food that are nutritious and filling and cheap and we eat them often. I do put a little ham in them, or other smoked meat. I also make cornbread to go with them. I wounder though, if I could get hubby to eat your recipe. We would eat cornmeal mush when I was a kid. . . it was cheap but I thought it was heaven when we got to eat it. I am putting a lot more veggies into my meals as well. Especially fond of spinach.
@GardenGerty (100331)
• United States
29 Mar 13
Oh, I explained up above about mush. Look up scrapple, you will enjoy it. No matter what I am doing with beans I either soak them overnight or parboil them and rinse them then cook them on low on the stove or in the slow cooker. I will add things like tomatoes, and some people add sugar and stuff to make baked beans. I put them in a meat dish to extend it or mash them for a dip. Hummus, for instance, is been dip made from chickpeas, but it is good to mash and season all other kinds as well. My hubby likes butter beans made into a dip. Lentils are great for meatless meals as well. A lot of people combine beans and rice for complete vegetable protein.
1 person likes this
@ajithlal (14568)
• India
29 Mar 13
I also think beans, spinach, peas etc are less costly and contains lots of nutrition.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
29 Mar 13
Beans and peas contain protein and are good for us. I know that because we add coconut milk to the rice and peas (it is a national dish) it makes it a complete meal nutritionally and could be eaten with gravy alone plus vegetables. I guess I am exploring alternatives to eat healthy.
@celticeagle (118551)
• Boise, Idaho
30 Mar 13
This is sort of weird. In the beginning of one sentence you say "So, despite loving cornmeal pudding and corn bread and cornmeal porridge" and then a comma and you go on with "I had never cooked it this way or even tasted it". So do you mean you hadn't tasted it this other way or? I am a little confused. This 'turned' cornmeal sounds really good. So poor Kings are eating well and you were missing out. We have a weed like spinach called Lamb's quarter. Very good steamed like you would spinach. Haven't had it in years. I fix beans and ham hocks(I don't think you can even get this cut anymore here in U.S.) or used to. This is a dish considered for poor folk. Sure is good! I like navy beans and hamburger too. With onion powder on it. It is delicious!
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
31 Mar 13
Sorry. I meant really that I was put off eating turned cornmeal because of what my friends had said - it being poor people's food. But I did love cornmeal pudding and corn bread. Just this particular way it was cooked. I have ham hocks right now in my freezer but I don't know how to cook them with beans. Does this dish have a name?
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (118551)
• Boise, Idaho
31 Mar 13
That's okay. Beans and ham hocks is the name I have ever heard. I just cook the beans and when they are about done I put the ham hock in so it cooks down and the flavors mix together. I also add sliced onions just because I like them. You might find a recipe online.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
31 Mar 13
ounds great and I am going to try it. Very nutritious too. I woud also as onions and maybe garlic and a little hot pepper. Thank you for this idea as I just used to cook it down with a gravy
1 person likes this
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
30 Mar 13
Glad you liked it. I grew up on poor people food, like Ramen noodles. I ate them so much as a kid, I honestly can't bring myself to eat them anymore. My kids and hubby like them though and will have them regularly.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
30 Mar 13
I know what hyou mean with some food. My mother served plain old boiled potatoes with most meals and now I don't cook them that way at all. I give the twins noodles sometimes but with a chicken broth which doesn't have the excess salt. Have a wonderful Easter
• United States
30 Mar 13
We had hot dogs almost all the time too.. so that's something else I really can't stand to eat anymore.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
31 Mar 13
I hate hot dogs too. Just thinking I am eating preservatives no matter how fancy it is dressed up
@ajithlal (14568)
• India
29 Mar 13
Some countries sometimes poor people haven't any food to eat. They have no money to buy food items to eat. Sometimes they eat raw rice and its water with salt. But they haven't no curry to add with rice & water .
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
29 Mar 13
Do you mean that they have no fire to cook the rice?
1 person likes this
@ajithlal (14568)
• India
29 Mar 13
I mean cooked rice with water and salt.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
29 Mar 13
Sometimes we add cooked meats and vegetables and cook this with rice but instead of using water we use broth or chicken soup to add more nutrition. Rice is versatile and things canbe added to make it into a complete meal. But yes,often in my country too people will eat it alone but most people grow some vegetables or yams and sweet poatoes to help their diet
@topffer (34590)
• France
31 Mar 13
The main use of cornmeal in French cooking is for cakes, and it has never been considered as poor people's food. In North and Western France, potatoes had/have the reputation of being poor people's food, while in Center, South, and Corsica it is chestnuts and chestnut flour. But it is because many country people were surviving with these foods 1 or 2 centuries ago, and I think that, even if potatoes and chestnuts have still this reputation, they are not "poor people's food" today : fresh vegetables and fruits are not cheap enough, and poor people's prefer to buy processed foods in supermarkets, full of fat and sugar...
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
31 Mar 13
Yes, in Ireland (I am of Irish blood but was born and lived in the U.K.) potatoes were always served at most meals. The point that I am making is that each country varies but these so called poor people's food is often the healthiest dish to eat and very tasty as well as being economical. I would love to taste chestnut flour. We woud roast chestnuts on the fire in my home as children but I could bever afford them to buy them in my adopted country - far too expensive
1 person likes this
@topffer (34590)
• France
31 Mar 13
I suppose it is the shipping cost that is expensive. If it was not, I would send you some chestnuts in autumn : I have a graft chestnut tree in my garden, giving big fruits, perfect to go with a piece of game meat. Chestnut flour is interesting because it is gluten free, but personally I don't use it often : it is heavy to digest.
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
29 Mar 13
Wow that sounds good. I love cornmeal when I make it and then chill it in a loaf. After it is chilled, I slice it, fry in butter and pour syrup over it. My family love it so much, I have to make lots. Now for your statement about poor people food. I think right now Ramen noodles are considered poor people food, it's cheap and nutritious and many college students live on it. And speaking of college, here is a bit of info I learned about food for poor people. Back in the 1950s, rich foods and meat were for the well-to-do, poor people ate fruits and vegetables, until they discovered that a rich man's diet was unhealthy and that the poor were much healthier. Now, fruits and vegetables are expensive making it a rich man's diet. Pretty interesting, huh?
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
30 Mar 13
Oh yes, ramen noodles. I remember eating lots of them at one time but I would put in my own broth as the salt factor was too high and add veggies. I so agree with you re food - the meat and fats that were considered a luxury are actually no good for us. In an earlier response I said how extra porrdige woud be made at breakfast and then this cold porridge would be fried at lunchtime. I am fascianted buy the similarities. May I ask if you live in the south? Cornmeal is cheap and healthy and going to be a part of my diet from now on. Our fruits and veggies are high too due to hurricane sandy destroying everything. But they are coming back and I have six beautifully large and tasy mangoes that are almost ready to eat.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Mar 13
No I don't live in the south, but my family is from the southern part of Ohio, but Ohio is still a northern state. Still, I remember my dad frying up "mush" (mush is what we call store bought corn meal made especially for frying) and I have always loved it. That said, being in the north, fruits and veggies are expensive here, with or without a hurricane, unless the particular food is in season, which is mostly in the summertime. And speaking of mangos, we have a mango and pineapple so I cna make a new recipe with salmon..Cant't wait to try it..
29 Mar 13
okay keep the spirit of enjoying her corn pudding, many indigenous people who live in the jungle in this hemisphere are still consuming forest products such as yam roots.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
29 Mar 13
Yams are an excellent food especially when combined with vegetables. What is a typical meal for you that doesn't cost too much?
30 Mar 13
no , nothing I like homemade food my mother. :)
@Rainegurl (2158)
• Philippines
31 Mar 13
We have what we call dried fish. It is fish tried under the sun and preserved by lots of salt. In our region, it is called bulad. It can be considered as poor people's food. It is really salty but it is heaven dipped in spicy vinegar and eaten with rice. It smells too. Your recipe sounded delicious. Cornmeal is not really popular in our place. If it is available here, I doubt if it is considered food for the poor. That tasty thing you cooked would probably be gourmet
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
31 Mar 13
We also have dried fish preserved by salt and it is called 'salt fish'. We soak it and boil it in water a few times and then fry it with hot peppers, garlic and add cabbage or other vegetables
@artemeis (4043)
• China
30 Mar 13
Is this very popular in Jamaica? I must admit that the recipe sounds quite delicious and interesting. Since you are recovering I wonder if you would consider milk over coconut milk being that the latter is too fattening. Do you any photos? About poor people food, I could not help recalling a typical beggar's dish - Claypot Rice where rice is being cooked in a claypot over direct fire adding chicken cubes, slices of Chinese sausage and green vegetables. Historically, the original recipe is a composition of gathered leftovers which are being thrown away and collected by the beggars who would then recook them in their claypots. It is quite a simple recipe but it is a gourmet hit in Asia. For a dish which is not even considered a delicacy or value could become a success in the gourmet circle is certainly a wonder. So, do you think yours could be commercialized? I could see a nice cozy place by the beach somewhere in Jamaica called Cynthia's Place serving Turned Cornmeal.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
30 Mar 13
If I was younger then maybe so, but I am old now - or so I'm told. You see, the point I was making is that the dish you described is actually nutritious. When I first came to the Island many years ago, our workers on the farm usually cooked over open fires. The kitchen being a building separate from the dwelling home in case of fire. Dishes, like your one, were prepared and baking wa done too with a small coal fire under the bottom of the pot and then burning coals were put on the lod of the ot and the pudding/cake baked away quite happily. I want to get back to more simple foods. I am amazed to see virgin coconut oil now being the latest rage in cooking when coconut oil was given such a bad rap in the 80's. We employed a lady who would grate the coconuts and boil it in water and then it was left to set and the oil rose to the top of the cans. P Re coconut milk, it was the milk available when people did not have a fridge. I know that it is high in fat content but only use skimmed milk otherwise and have cut out butter, spreads etc. I just love it
@missjahn (4578)
• Philippines
30 Mar 13
i do not know that corn is a food for poor. for as far as i know, it is a good food to include in your diet. much safer to eat for those who have high blood pressures and diabetic persons because it contains lesser sugar. i love eating it in a cob, very delicious. you can sprinkle iodize salt and butter to it. very nice. you can make a soup out of it as well, very tasty and nutritious. there are lots of recipes you can make out from a corn. no, for me, poor people can eat and prepare foods anyway they wanted it and there are no foods for rich or for poor as much as to claim any rights in this world as well. thanks for sharing this :)
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
30 Mar 13
Sometimes it is the cheapest food that many have to buy and cornmeal from the responses that I have received, seeems to be used extensively in different countries. It is relatively cheap and so nutritious as you rightly pointed out and I am fascinated by the similarities in which people from different countries use cornmeal.
@cutepenguin (6457)
• Canada
29 Mar 13
I don't know. I think so many different cultures live in this area that while there are definitely more expensive foods, there aren't really foods that people reserve for poor people.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
30 Mar 13
Not even Ramen noodles?
@TLilly12 (1230)
• United States
29 Mar 13
I never had a meal like this before, and I never heard the term, Poor People food before but I guess you learn, something new everyday, there are some new dishes I want to try, but I will waiting until I move to try them, that way if I don't like the dish I won't make it any more.
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
29 Mar 13
Well that's fair enough!
@bounce58 (17526)
• Canada
8 Apr 13
I grew up in a place where people were so economically divided. The rich where ultra rich, and they kept on getting richer. And the poor kept getting poorer. Although my parents worked hard to keep us away from the lower spectrum, we certainly couldn't consider ourselves rich. So, once in a while, we would have 'poor people's food' prepared on the table. This consisted mostly of dried fish. Now, I live in a place where there isn't much difference what rich and poor people eat. So, once in a while I crave for those 'poor people's food'. And when I do manage to find it here, I consider it as a treat!
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
2 Apr 13
Glad it turned out well for u. About all i use cornmeal for is to make cornbread which i love but do not make very often because i don't need it. I guess dried beans are about the cheapest thing we can eat around here. I love them to. I cook things that are not real expensive. Everything thing u buy at the grocery here is expensive.
• United States
31 Mar 13
Have you ever tried top ramen with taco bell hot sauce? taste just like poverty lololol no i cant say iv had really bad dishs that were for the poor class.