Meesha had a post today that mentioned the 93-year-old woman who cooks Depression-era meals on YouTube and it reminded me that many of my favorite childhood recipes had their origin during the Depression.
All of these recipes will feed an entire family; the chicken and dumplings can be stretched over at least two meals. It's also notable that they consist mainly of meat and vegetables. Staying out of the center aisles of the grocery store is a big money saver.
Not all of my grandmother's recipes made the transition to the next generations. My mother and her siblings used to complain about being served Mock Chicken as children, but my grandmother would protest that she "Only made it one time!"
Still, the cooking sensibilities of my grandmother were passed down to my mother and then to me as I was growing up. If we had leftover roast beef, we made it into hash. If we had some roasted chicken or turkey and gravy, the leftovers turned up as pot pie. The ham bone from Sunday dinner was boiled with cabbage during the week. Stale bread became French toast or bread pudding.
Food was precious and you didn't waste it. Even the vegetable peels and rinds went out to the chickens. Post-meal scraps flavored the dogs' food.
Dealing with food this way is still second nature for me. I always have a plan for leftover meat and although I don't have dogs or chickens, the birds and squirrels in my neighborhood get to enjoy any scraps that get too stale for the humans to eat.
What's your favorite budget-stretching recipe? Did it come from the 1930s/1940s or is it more recent?