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poverty cooking

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Interesting, Ambergris.  I glanced at hers and saw it would be similar to our standard at the grocery.  So I did mine off the top of my head...without counting.  Then looked at hers and had a couple to add.  [  I forgot chocolate!...might need to add chocolate chips as well as cocoa!]  Then I counted it up and ....35.  :shrug:



1. Apples

2.Fresh or Dehy Bananas






8.Canned Tomato

9.Tomato sauce/paste

10.Canned or Frozen Gr Beans

11.Canned or Frozen Peas

12.Canned or Frozen Broccoli

13.Cheese ….Cheddar and Mozarella


15.Olive Oil

16.White Flour

17.Hard Red Winter Wheat

18.White Winter Wheat

19.Oat Groats or Flaked


21.Black Olives


23.Asian Calrose Rice

24.Baking Soda ...lots

25.Baking Powder





30.Crisco and/or Lard

31.Meat....canned or fresh


33.Eggs [tho we have them from ducks]


After reading hers:


35. Cocoa


36. Buckwheat   .....if I was going long term, for the Vit C


MtRider ....can't keep mine at 20 but we certainly do use basics  :cook:

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18 hours ago, Ambergris said:

I saw a video about an Australian recipe book called, I think, 26 Ingredients.  It's not available on Amazon yet.  It's based on the theory that a full diet can be based on 26 common ingredients, including butter and flour and the like, with the goal of not throwing away so much.

The video made me think of this thread.


If you had to bring your diet down to 30 ingredients, what would you choose?  


Looks like this is hers:

The Ingredients

Cheese (we eat very little, but it is sooooo good!)
Coconut Peanut Butter
Corn Flour  Legumes (dried beans/lentils/peas)
Eggs   (Flax Seed)
Milk Powder Almonds to eat/butter/make milk from
Mince White Rice to eat/make milk from
Plain Flour
Pumpkin Frozen Berries/pineapple/mango
Self-Rising Flour  Sprouting & Micro Green Seeds
Stock (make your own from the chicken and vegetable trimmings) Replace with lettuce/cabbage
Tinned Tomatoes
Tomato Paste
Zucchini replace with a green veggie with a higher nutrient content - broccoli/cabbage/kale


Fun exercise!  Thanks for posting her list!  I assume we are allowed things like salt & herbs?  



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The herbs you can grow probably go without saying, like garden greens and garden tomatoes.  I dropped zucchini in that bucket.

I would have to add oatmeal and vinegar too.

I would drop the lemons because I have limequats ripening over an extended period.  Also, once I move, I plan to get a calamondin to extend my sour-juice season(s).  I could use vinegar or just do without when they're out of season.  I need ginger, but then I have it in the yard.  With my pecan tree, I can skip the walnuts too. 

1. Apples





6. popcorn

7. pumpkin

8.Canned Tomato chunks

9.Tomato powder

10. Vinegar

11 garlic

12 corn grits




16.biscuit Flour

17.Hard bread flour

18. stock (home made)


20.Barley pearled

21.Black Olives


23. Rice...assorted 

24.Baking Soda 

25.Baking Powder





30.Crisco and/or Lard





35 black pepper

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This is just off the top of my head and in no special order. I did the first 30 then added 5 more because other people did.  I might have cheated on number 30 but I eat so much of it.


1. Eggs

2. Spaghetti Sauce

3. Spaghetti

4. Onions

5. Garlic

6. Olive Oil

7. Coconut Oil

8. Oatmeal

9. Potatoes

10. Noodles

11. Flour

12. Tuna

13. Hamburger

14. Chicken

15. Great Northern Beans

16. Canned Tomatoes

17. Frozen Broccoli

18. Frozen Cauliflower

19. Tea Bags

20. Sugar

21. Salt Sense

22. Peanut Butter

23. Honey

24. Cheese

25. Apples

26. Milk

27. Bread

28. Baking Soda

29. Baking Powder

30. All Of My Home Canned Soups!


31. Canned Peas

32. Canned Corn

33. Home Canned Green Beans

34. Mushrooms

35. Rice

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2 hours ago, Mt_Rider said:

PB and beans....  :)


All of our lists are similar.....being able to actually cook rather than frozen dinners, etc. 


MtRider  :cook:

Methinks that is the real kay to successful poverty cooking...learn to cook from scratch.  Its soooooo much cheaper!

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When we lived in NC we had three college age boys at home. Man I thought it was tough feeding them when they were kids and played sports. I learned to cook just about everything from scratch. I remember one time Kroger had an AWESOME sale and I stocked up. My shopping cart was overflowing. I had like 5 5# bags of unbleached flower, cornmeal, all your basic supplies and this lady looked at my shopping cart and said "Do you know what to do with all of that?" I was floored. This lady was older than me (I was mid 40's at the time) I said yes I cook everything from scratch. She was shocked. She said I need to come to your house and learn to cook. I asked if she knew how to make pie crust and homemade bread. She said no she never learned. I just looked at her and smile and pushed my cart on down the isle. Even now with an empty nest we still cook 99% of the stuff from scratch. So much healthier.

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  • 1 year later...
On 10/31/2016 at 12:35 PM, TheCG said:


Huh. How is it that every time we're broke, I realize that I just bought a bag of potatoes?


Note: I am reading this thread, and DID NOT just buy a bag of potatoes.


But I might while I'm at the store!

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One thing to add is a tube of tomato paste. I had never seen it before until we were visiting youngest in south Texas and went to HEB. I started looking for it when I got back home and what do you know my store carries it. It is going to save me a bundle. You just don't know the number of recipes I have that call for 2 or 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. NO sense in opening a whole can. I am stocking tubes now.

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During my recent stay at my folks' house, they have the cooking shows on often.  I was a bit startled to find a cook squirting red pigment into the pot.  :rolleyes:  Well it LOOKED exactly like the tubes DH uses for his painting!!!  :lol:  But I deduced that it was probably tomato paste in new packaging.  But yeah, it would seal up without having to scrape out those tiny tin cans and put them in ziplocks....etc....to be lost in the back of the fridge......  

MtRider :cook:  

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Tho M does not like much garlic (and I love loads of it) the dehydrated onion & garlic in cubes, like bouillon cubes, are a good "have on hand" for me.  Have to look for the tomato paste in tubes & stock some of those as well as tiny cans.  But I don't have trouble getting rid of "extra" tomato paste I just make tomato juice from the extra and drink it for breakfast the next day.

One 6 oz can of paste + water to make 1 quart + 2 TB sugar + salt to taste = tomato juice.  Chill well, it ain't bad.

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Is it just me, or does November come by and empty out the budget??  I was rereading about Bubble & Squeak, and decided to see if there was such a thing as "skittely gumbo" (as in the old song)…."Skittely gumbo, hot pot, bubble & squeak..."


No skittely gumbo found, but I did find a cool variation on bubble & squeak called Rumbledethump!  LOL....


RUMBLEDETHUMP (from the Scottish border lands)

Boiled potatoes

Boiled Cabbage

Spring onions


Salt & Pepper

1. Take equal measurements of boiled tatties and cabbage and mash/mince and mix together adding finely chopped up spring onions and a wee bit of butter. Add salt and pepper. 2. Brown in the oven if required. (You can sprinkle with Scottish Cheddar Cheese for a lovely topping.)


1.  Add any cooked & mashed/minced turnips (or other brassica, I imagine) 2. Add milk or cream to mashed potatoes for a creamier texture. 3.  This was suggested as a side dish, for a 'main dish' put a fried egg on top.  


CHEESE PANCAKES (Oh those Brits!)

4 oz flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

a little lard or cooking oil

1/2 pint milk

4 TB grated cheese

Sift the flour and salt into a basin.  Break the egg in a cup, then make a hollow in the flour mixture and drop in the egg.  Add a little of the milk, and start to mix, drawing in the liquid to the flour.  Add the rest of the milk little by little.  When all the milk is added, and the mixture is smooth, beat it with a wood spoon until little bubbles appear.  Sieve into a jug, add the cheese and stir.  

In a small fry pan heat 1 TB of oil or fat.  Spoon 1 TB of the batter into the hot pan, rotate the pan to cover the bottom with batter and cook about 2 minutes until edges look crispy, then flip and cook the other side.  Remove from the pan, put on a plate and continue until all the batter is used up.

Wrap pancakes around one of these fillings if desired:

1.  a small tin of baked beans, heated up

2.  Chopped leftovers, heated up sizzly hot

3.  A fried egg

4.  Some cooked bacon

5.  a small tin of sweet corn, heated up

6.  Well fried sausages or cooked frankfurter

(I never would have thought of adding cheese to crepes to make them more of a meal!)


And their toffee!  Never thought I could make it myself. Apparently toffee is to the Brits what fudge is to the US.


4 oz brown sugar

4 oz butter or margarine

2 TB golden syrup (dark corn syrup)

1 small tin of condensed milk

1 Adult (this is from a child's cookbook)

Grease an 8x8 inch tin.  Put all ingredients into a saucepan, bring slowly a boil whilst stirring.  Heat until it has boiled 5 minutes.  Keep boiling and stirring while you test the toffee by dripping a bit off the wood spoon into a cup of cold water.  Cook, stir, and test until toffee sets hard in the water at once.  (If you are using a thermometer, this should read 268 F.  Remove from heat at once, and pour into the greased tin.  Let cool, watching it until you can mark it off into squares.  Mark it and let it continue cooling until it is cold enough to break it into pieces.  Store in a tin if you don't eat it all at once.  For raisin or nut toffee, stir in 2 TB chopped raisins or nuts just before pouring into the tin.


And BTW this little cookbook (theleftchapter.blogspot.com/2018/03/cooking-is-game-you-can-eat-w-toad-in.html) had Bubble & Squeak, too, and listed sprouts as a option if you had no cabbage.  And scones.  And potato pancakes (Boxty if you are Irish, Latkes if Jewish...they called theirs Gratie Taties).  Their version of "Toad in the Hole" is baked, with sausages in Yorkshire Pudding Batter.  Mmmmmm.


I love finding other countries' poverty recipes, they are so cool.



Edited by kappydell
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LOL  You have to have the 'magic' buttons to get rid of a duplicate post, Kappy.  ;)



I love those recipes you found.  So very simple and with things we might have.  And YES.  Using pancakes for savory-filled crepes.  :thumbs:  I make extra pancakes and use them as 'bread' for PB or some such.  Pancake batter never holds over so I just finish the batch and cool on metal racks.  


12 hours ago, kappydell said:

love finding other countries' poverty recipes, they are so cool.



MtRider   :reading:  ....I HAD to go look for scones! 


Edited by Mt_Rider
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When the kids were small I used to make "scones" every Christmas eve...and would add shredded cheese and bacon crumbles to the batter.  Then I arranged them on a plate with grape jelly in a dish so they could dip them in.  Still love them thingies! LOL

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Some of the coolest poverty recipes I have ever found were not invented due to poverty, but due to rationing!  WW2 rationing was so total that even BATH WATER was rationed...you were allowed to put 3 inches in your tub, and the cleanest person bathed first until the water started leaving as much dirt as it took off.  'the shared bath was a way for several people to pool their water allotment so they could actually put enough water in the tub to soak sore muscles.  Haybox cooking was the rage due to rationed cooking fuels.  but I digress...the recipes were quite creative.  The Gutenberg project has several ration era recipe books "Foods that will win the war and how to make them"  and the like.   Fun to read, fun to try, and fun to incorporate into the weekly menus.  I always did like to play with food....

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yep.  nobody knows how to stretch the food like someone who has been an involuntary participant in war.  Some of the recipes I treasure most were from concentration camp survivors, who passed them on to their children, telling them, "as long as you know how to make these foods you will never be hungry".  They posted them for the rest of us to also learn - Halushky,  pierogi, kluski, krutczky, golumpky. kapusta…...the names are nearly as much fun as the food!  Heavy on items that are cheap & store very well...flour, spuds, cabbage, sour cream, etc....

Edited by kappydell
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