Depression Era Cooking Once Again – Frugal Challenge

Cast Iron Pans websizeMaybe it’s because kids are back in school, or maybe it’s just the change of seasons peeking out from deep in the woods, but I’m feeling nostalgic these days, whatever the reason.  Putting your youngster on the school bus once again is always cause to stop and reflect.

Folks I know are all looking in the rear view mirror these days.  Frugal living tips often are pulled from our ancestor’s experiences and are the topic of increasingly robust debates in all corners of the world.  What may be one person’s most trusted frugal idea, can be another person’s most vehemently opposed idea to save money.  No matter what the answer is for saving the most money and resources, the debate will rage on and it is a good thing, indeed.

One topic that gets a lot of discussion is saving money on food.  Earlier in the year I raised the issue of cooking like our grandmothers and mothers did during the Depression Era.  When I look back on some of the discussions, I realize that we all have the same desire – to cook good, frugal meals that our families will enjoy.  Take a look at some of our discussions and great family recipes that our readers were willing to share by clicking here.

The issue of frugal cooking seems to resonate with many folks.  Once again, we’re trying to dig our way out of a depressed economy.  We’re all counting our food dollars and trying to make every penny stretch just a little further, while keeping our families’ tummies full.

I’ll share one of my family’s Depression Era recipes with you that I’ve enjoyed.  After you read through this recipe, click here to re-visit the Depression Era Cooking discussion that we held earlier this year.  There are a lot of great ideas, very user-friendly recipes, and even a question or two about healthy-versus-frugal ingredients.  I hope you can find a few recipes to use in your own frugal kitchens.

Plentiful Zucchini Cheese Hot Dish

  • 6 or 7 medium sized zucchini
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green pepper (if you have it)
  • oil enough to fry vegetables
  • 2 or 3 medium sized tomatoes (or use some canned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon or so of salt
  • 6 or so slices of stale bread, cut in cubes
  • a little more oil
  • 1/2 cup or more grated cheese (if you have it)
  • a little butter if you have it

Use what you can out of your garden. Fry up the zucchini, onion, and green pepper in oil until vegetables are softened a little.  Add the tomatoes and salt, then pour the mixture in baking pan for the oven.  Throw the bread cubes in the hot skillet that the vegetables were in and brown them, adding more oil if you have to.  Put the bread cubes on top of the vegetables in the baking pan.  If you have cheese, grate it for a topping.  If you have butter, a few pats on top is nice.  Put the dish in the oven at 350 degrees for about an hour or until everything is hot and cooked.

This recipe was handwritten on a slip of paper in one of the old cookbooks I inherited from family members years ago.  You can see that the idea is to use what you have and stretch the meal with stale bread.  Cheese may have been a luxury by the looks of the instructions.  And, as we all know if we’ve planted zucchini, that is one crop that gives and gives and gives.  The more zucchini recipes you have on hand, the better off you and your budget will be!

Please take the time to look around the other Depression Era discussions we had, watch the video, and see if you can find something that can help you deal with the challenges that face your family’s budget today.

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2 Responses to “Depression Era Cooking Once Again – Frugal Challenge”

  1. jenny Says:

    If you go on YouTube and type in “depression cooking” there are videos of this cute old lady teaching how to make depression-era meals. Its neat to hear her stories she tells while she cooks. I highly recommend checking it out. here is the link to the “channel”

  2. Valerie Says:

    I love all your tips. I was wondering if you and/or your readers had suggestions for affordable cooking and maybe even the occassional eatting out for the gluten free.

    I cook from scratch alot, especially in the summer when I have fresh produce from our garden. But my daughter (who’s allergic to wheat) is hit or miss whether she’ll try what the rest of us eat. She’s 3 so we let her eat alot of bread products if that’s what she wanted, but now we know she has an allergy and I’m struggling to find affordable alternatives.

    I think i’m going to have to make my own gluten free baked goods (unfortunately baking’s my weakness in the kitchen), so that it’s more affordable. but it seems like all the gluten free baked goods recipes contain weird ingredients that the grocery store doesn’t carry and the health food store doesn’t even carry.


    love your site & newsletter,

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