Wednesday, January 21, 2009


So, New Year's Day and it's resolutions are just about a month old. More and more American's are opting to not make resolutions at all. If you were one of the few who did make a resolution, it probably fell into one of these categories 1. losing weight , 2. excercising, 3. eating more healthily, 4. paying down your debt.
The new year has started to look a lot like the old year. If you didn't make any resolutions, may-be now you'd like to make a resolution now, to live below, if not way below your means.
In the different newspapers, blogs etc, there have been different recipes published that helped stretch your food nickle during the Depression years. Personally, most of the recipes make me cringe because they are so high in saturated fat and starches. During the Depression, I guess you ate to stop your stomach from growling than for nutrition.
Meals that I have come across are Spaghetti Sandwiches in which families actually spread cooked spaghetti across a piece of bread. The other piece of bread for the sandwich would be spread with , to quote the author "the thinest skim of bacon grease, mayonaise or butter."
Another meal was called Squaw Stew, Squaw Supper and other names. It consisted of greasing a cast iron frying pan with bacon grease, and stirring in a can of creamed corn, left over boiled potatoes, left over vegetables and topping it with a few thin squares of Velveeta cheese. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and a little brown. "Oven meals helped to warm up the house too." one person reminisced.
Some families only had meat once a week. "Mother cooked a chicken or a roast on Sunday. It was wonderful to come home after mass and be greeted by the warmth and the smell of meat roasting in the oven! Any leftovers were used as garnishes for our meatless meals throughout the week." one woman remembered fondly.
Today, we might do it a bit differently - if we can. For instance, we now have pasta products like Smart Taste by Ronzoni. There are other brands available, but this is the brand that I buy because it is available most of the time, and it does go on sale. Another brand that I have used and liked is DreamFields but I have had a hard time finding it. Each serving of Smart Taste (I'm reading off the Penne Rigata box now) has 6 grams of protein, 1 gram of sugar , 1 gram of fat (no grams of saturated or trans fats) and 43 grams of carbohydrates of which 6 grams are dietary fiber.
So to take one writer's Depression dinner which consisted of a platter of spaghetti with one can of (heated) diced tomatoes poured over it and chunks of Velveeta cheese on top of that (melting into the hot tomatoes), I have replaced the plain spaghetti with the more nutritious Smart Taste Penne Rigata, I have heated a can of Goya small pink beans (rinsed and drained)in a can of diced Del Monte tomatoes in a pot until hot. I mixed the pasta into the tomato/bean mixture and topped it (completely) with squares of Velveeta cheese. An inexpensive meal made without meat and my volunteers all thought it tasted pretty good. Some thought it would be better without the addition of the beans. Okay, they are probably right, but, the beans were added to make the meal more nutritious.


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