False economies

An article in today’s Portland Press Herald, Recipe for survival: Shoppers switch to less expensive food this morning sent me over the deep end.  The reporter followed a couple on a shopping trip to the grocery store while they selected groceries intended to save money.  The couple chose boxed mac and cheese and chili, etc., on sale– a big savings, NOT.  The story went on to say that sales of instant mashed potatoes and pancake mix are increasing as people economize.  Pancake mix, I ask you!  At least most of the comments from readers pointed out the false economy in selecting processed food.  This is why we should be requiring every student to take a home economics class in school, where the curriculum is REALLY home economics — budgeting, meal planning, scratch cooking, etc.

And just in case, here’s a basic pancake recipe:

2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 T sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 to 2 cups milk
2 T melted butter or oil

Beat eggs with 1 1/2 c milk and butter.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Gently stir dry ingredients into milk/egg mixture until just mixed, lumps are ok. If it seems too thick add milk.

Heat skillet until a drop of water skitters across the surface. Add a drizzle of oil, spread it across pan.  Ladle batter into the size pancake you prefer.  Cook about 3 minutes until bubble form on surface and underside is browned.  Flip and brown to your liking.  Keep warm in oven or serve immediately.

Easy peasy.


8 Responses to “False economies”

  1. Weez Says:


  2. nancybond Says:

    I agree. There are many other ways to economize and “cut back” without sacrificing nutrients. Processed, packaged foods are seldom less expensive than those made from scratch, in my experience.

  3. Giddy Says:

    Oh! Don’t even get me started! A bag of onions, a bag of *real* potatoes, a bag of carrots, a bag of dried beans and a pound of inexpensive beef and a chicken will give a whole family dinner for days. And, it doesn’t have any of those awful things you read on the labels of those packaged, processed foods.

  4. ProfTheory Says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t suggest going to the economy menu at a fast food joint! No I’m not recommending it for truly budget minded shoppers.

    It sounds like the suggestions were for the “I don’t know how to (can’t be bothered with) boil water” types. I agree that Home Economics should be a requirement for boys and girls. In the dark days of yore it was only required of girls to take it and the boys would take shop. I guess the rational was the girls would become home makers and the guys would bring home the bacon. Them days are long gone – thankfully.

    They should also cover some basic gardening skill so that even if they don’t have a yard they can still grow some spices in a pot.

  5. frontporch123 Says:

    As an “old lady” I find it funny to see people buying processed food. I grew up in a time where there was only a small area with potato chips, pretzels and cheetos…now there’s a whole aisle! Ditto soda! I remember talk about food coming in boxes “dried” and no one thought they’d last. It’s so much easier to cook real food too! My father (who couldn’t cook and would be 110 this year) taught me how to make great pancakes! Ahh, the memories! Love to you all!
    Aunt Janet

  6. Beth Says:

    And serve with blueberry syrup from Pleasant Pond Orchard! I agree wholeheartedly with you on home ec in school again. Maybe with our current economy we will see the return of these important life skills back in the classroom.

  7. Renee Says:

    The Cincinnati paper ran a story a few months back about a local activist showing how hard it is to live on the food stamp allowance. As I recall, she ate hot dogs and maybe saltines and was hungry all the time. Duh. Not that it’s easy to survive on the tiny food stamp allowance, but she didn’t actually COOK anything for her week test. No rice, beans, potatoes, carrots, cabbage (the stuff my Depression-era mom cooked all the time — with the exception of rice). We’d all be better off if all kids took a real home economics class, learned basic cooking, how to sew a button, balance a checkbook. And they’d learn “cooking” isn’t a dirty word, and doesn’t mean nuking a plastic bag full of dubious ingredients.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: