Thrifty Book For A Frugal Cook
- Getting Into The Habit Of Being Thrifty
Tartan Thrifty is all about getting into the habit of spending less without living less well. Some habits need to be carried out every day, some every week. Some only need to be carried out once a month – and, surprise, surprise, they are the hardest ones to keep up. To help with that you can find a wall-planner to help you keep on top of this week’s Thrifty Habits – the dailies, the weeklies and the ones that only come round once a month – here. Use it to plan when exactly you are going to carry out the Weekly and Monthly Habits.
This week’s monthly habits are to Budget for next month before you start spending your next pay, and to Share something.
Thrifty Things To Do This Week
Are you, like me, trying to use up the food you have in before you spend more money on groceries unnecessarily? Then, firstly, well done! This is an excellent – and relatively easy – way to cut your costs. It also avoids food waste. It does have the downside of making you use up some foods that don’t obviously go together though, especially after Christmas. A chunk of leftover stilton, 3 of the Quality Streets nobody ever eats and the fag end of a panettone is not the basis for a tasty lunch. I know, because I have tried.
Cooking like this saves you money but it does require you to be a little more creative than usual and for that you need an encyclopedic knowledge of what goes well with what. Happily, you can buy that encyclopedic knowledge in the form of “The Flavour Thesaurus” by Niki Segnit. Don’t be put off by the slightly dull cover – this is a cornucopia of creative inspiration for the flummoxed cook. It groups all foods, herbs and spices into families of flavours so you can see at a glance which vegetable, say, has a natural affinity with both potatoes and prawns. But it goes further than that by plundering Niki Segnit’s lifelong love of eating and cooking to come up with suggested pairings and occasional recipes for individual foods. I have been dipping into and at times wallowing in this book for six years now – and have learned something I didn’t know every time. Something that made our mealtimes more delicious.
So why do I count this as an essential book for the thrifty cook? Quite simply, because it has saved me many times over from sending out for take-away in desparation because there was “nothing” to eat in the house. Last night, for example, when faced with the remains of a packet of frozen prawns, a carton of cream and half a savoy cabbage mouldering in the fridge I almost dialed for pizza. But Saint Segnit saved me: I looked up cabbage and prawns and found that both get along well with nutmeg. I also discovered that the bitter taste of cabbage that stops Tartan Dad and the Tartan Boys eating it is not released when you cook them in cream. So I cooked the veg in cream and milk, added the prawns for the last minute, grated on nutmeg and tossed the lot in spaghetti. It was delicious.
Whether you just want inspiration to liven up what you normally cook, want a handy guide to how to cook a bargain ingredient you have never cooked before, or need instant advice on how to turn what you have to hand into a meal, this plain little book is your brilliant friend. Worth every penny.