This is the fourth part of a series covering my experience with food insecurity. For the introduction to this series, please click here.
My grandma hated chicken. Like a deep-seated loathing. Like she would gag when she even thought about eating chicken. I get it now. She was born in 1941; at the end of the great depression and during a world war. Chicken was cheap meat and she grew up eating a lot of chicken. When she got married, she was expected to be a housewife and had to manage the household finances. Again, she found herself turning to chicken. As she got older, she couldn’t stand the smell of it.
It’s still a cheap meat and it’s one that I rely on to fill my babies’ bellies. It should come as no surprise that most of my dinners are chicken based. We buy ground beef or ground turkey as we can. Anything above $2 a pound is just too much, so buying ground meat doesn’t happen as often as it could. I’m much more likely to stock up on Christmas hams at .99 a pound.
I buy large bags of frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts at Walmart for around 1.89 a pound. That can be bbq chicken, chicken and dumplings, Mississippi chicken, roast chicken…. you get the idea. I can Bubba Gump the heck out of a list for chicken. Shoot, just yesterday the kids had chicken quesadillas for lunch using leftover roast chicken. Right now I still love chicken, but I worry whether my children are going to grow to hate it like my grandmother.
A lot of blogs about eating frugal will always resort to the old “rice and beans” meal. We don’t do that. The only kind of beans the kids will eat are soup beans. That’s one of the reasons why I stock up on Christmas hams. As we cook the hams, we wrap the bone in aluminum foil and pop them in the freezer. That later will be added to a crock pot with pinto beans. Serve with onions and cornbread and you have a very filling meal that costs very little. We couldn’t finish all of our last ham and I ended up freezing a lot of that meat. After the bone is used, I will use the meat to season the beans. It’s going to be a staple during this summer layoff. On the plus side, the crock pot doesn’t add too much heat to the house.
One way to not heat up the house during the summer layoff is to grill out. I love to grill out as much as the next American, but chicken and hot dogs are about as far as our pockets can stretch for it. Even then, the charcoal isn’t cheap. I still have firewood from when a bad thunderstorm knocked a neighbor’s tree down in our yard and I have a fire pit. A wire basket to cook over campfires only cost us around 10 bucks last year.
I garden, so we at least have fresh veggies to eat. We also get surplus from family gardens. That helps a lot.
Tomorrow, we will be discussing gardening and how it can help during survival mode.