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Old 03-15-2011, 11:33 PM
 
Location: Striving for Avalon
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As I carry on as a student and visiting friends houses on holidays, I've come to realize something....traditional European food is tasty and cheap.

I was visiting a friend in Germany, and despite his parents being well-off, they prefer the more traditional food, which by consequence, is quite inexpensive. It was delicious. Basically, our ancestors knew how to eat well and on the cheap, it seems.

Breakfast: Rye or dark bread, smoked sausage, jam. (Bread from a bakery is cheaper than a supermarket, if your area has bakeries).

Lunch: Knipp (basically German haggis: pork, oat groats pan-fried together). You take a portion of that and mix with mashed potatoes and apple sauce on the plate. Delicious.

Dinner: leftovers, bread.

My Swedish experience:
I decided to try my own hand at a basic one: Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, gravy or cream sauce, and a small quantity of Swedish jam (lingon is traditional, I only had cloudberry).

I omitted the cream sauce and gravy, as I found it overpowers the delicately spiced meatballs. The end result was something I would proudly serve to guests and cost $1.75 per portion (add $0.40 for some fresh bread, $0.60 for a portion of salad). To qualify, 650 calories constitute a portion. I ate them as a late lunch at 4:30 and had no need of dinner later. Generally, I like a mix of 5/6 parts ground pork, 1 part ground beef. The pork keeps costs down.
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A British experience

Bangers and Mash: Sausages served atop mashed potatoes and gravy. I prefer to use spices rather gravy for higher end sausages. For a lower end one, I prefer a mayonnaise with mustard grain "dip" for the sausage. Cost per 2 people: $2.50 (very, very basic sausages. Don't know if they're available in the US as this price range) to $7 (venison and pork sausages-game is relatively cheap here).
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COming soon I take on the Spanish paella.


What experiences do you guys with this style of cooking? Agree? Disagree?
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:44 PM
 
Location: Tricity, PL
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I agree with you 100%.
Europeans cook at home. They go out to eat when is a special occasion: dress nice, leave kids at home, have a quality time, don't rush.
So, they cook at home. Most recipes are continued from generation to generation. Mostly traditional and savvy. They do not waste food, and know how to cook tasty but cheap. Leftovers usually are eaten later that day, or modified - the next day.
Younger people like to try something new they see on TV or in magazines, but most have cookbooks from their parents, and knowledge how to prepare a meal, because they were helping them when they lived together.
BTW: it is very common that 2-3 generations live in the same house. Whoever stays at home cook for the whole family.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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For lunch, I often have Mamaliga, which I became familiar with in Romania.

Bring 2 parts salted water to a boil, add one part yellow corn meal. Keep on high, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula for a couple minutes, until it is a thick ball of dough that rolls over when you try to stir it. Cost, about 10c a serving, and takes 5 minutes. Top with butter, and cheese or sour cream. (It sticks to the pan, so use teflon, or soak the pan a few hours before trying to clean it.)
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
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The problem I see with these meals mentioned, no vegies, no fruits, a lot of starch and fat. Not sure that's frugal in the long run to your health. Now, if you switch to Asian type meals that's a different story. Lots of vegetables, very little meat, brown rice. I could eat Thai food every day and not get tired of it.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
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I've become fond of using those rolled pie crusts you find in the grocery store. Handy both for fruit pies and to make home made pot pies from left over meats and vegetables with a little gravy.

I also keep a plastic bag filled with a mixture of various dried fruits and nuts in my baking cabinet where I can grab a handful to use in oatmeal and cookies or muffins to make them more yummy.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:48 PM
 
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Brah.............the Crockpot.............greatest cheap cooking device ever invented. You can buy really cheap pieces of meat (or beans for the Veg***'s) and throw in a little veggies and seasoning.....and Wah-lah....have a really cheap, nutritious, delicious meal.

I buy greasy chicken thighs and throw 2 of them in frozen with maybe some purple cabbage and broccoli....wow, what a meal for less than a dollar.
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Tricity, PL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tickyul View Post
Brah.............the Crockpot.............greatest cheap cooking device ever invented. You can buy really cheap pieces of meat (or beans for the Veg***'s) and throw in a little veggies and seasoning.....and Wah-lah....have a really cheap, nutritious, delicious meal.
I prefer to do this kind of meals in a pressure cooker.
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:28 PM
 
Location: in a galaxy far far away
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I must agree about the crock pot. Used it today. I made a stew, using a tougher cut of beef, cut into chunks. Beef broth (low sodium) and lots of spices along with some mushrooms, onions, garlic, celery, carrots and one potato (I don't eat a lot of potatoes) and just a tad of tomato paste. A dash of red wine and simmered for 12 hours. I used about a pound of meat and ended up with enough stew to feed 5-6 people. Total cost to me less than 10 dollars. A serving of that with a green salad and dinner roll is a hearty meal.

Since I no longer have a house full of hungry mouths to feed, I'll be packaging the rest and delivering it to an elderly couple, who don't get a balanced hot meal, very often, these days. I thank my mom who cooked during the Great Depression and passed along lots of her "thrifty" menus. Thanks Mom!

Last edited by JGC97; 03-20-2011 at 11:52 PM..
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Old 03-20-2011, 11:40 PM
 
22,661 posts, read 24,599,374 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elnina View Post
I prefer to do this kind of meals in a pressure cooker.

Why, does the pressure cooker allow you to make a soup-type meal? I think that the fat (and a lot of the flavor) drains off into the bottom wasting calories.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:59 AM
 
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I don't believe this is a European phenomenon. The entire world is used to being poor. It is only the recent wealth of the USA that leads people here to believe that cheap food is neither tasty nor nutritious.
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