Mrs. Bristol Cuts Ham (from old-photo.com)
Before grocery superstores were a quick drive away and take-out was a quick phone call away, people had to carefully plan their eating. Cost and versatility were important considerations. People had to work with what was available from their local grocer, butcher and baker.
I've been thinking a lot about this lately. Approaching eating in this way forces you to slow down. First of all, you must take time to plan: determine what and how much you can make with what's available. You need to carve out a pretty good chunk of time to shop. And then of course you need time to prepare the food. Preparing and eating food this way seems so much healthier: it involves less rushing around, gives you a deeper appreciation for your ingredients and the people who've prepared them, and is more cost effective.
So in my own life, I've been trying to go more old school with managing the household food supply. It's less complicated for me because my household is small: just my husband and me. Since I've been planning a bit more carefully, we have both noticed a positive difference in our culinary lifestyle. We eat waaaay better, for less money, and spend more time eating together.
One thing I'm learning is how to use meat more resourcefully. Instead of buying small packages of meat, I've tried buying larger cuts and using them in multiple ways. One of my favourites - especially for winter - is a hefty bone-in ham. I usually buy a half, weighing between 7 and 10 lbs. (I'm guessing), and I can get about five meals out of it. I start with this awesome recipe: Old-Fashioned Ham with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze. After smelling it cook all afternoon, we'll have some for dinner, and then I have tons left over. I put some in the fridge for the next few days for lunches and meals, and some goes in the freezer. Here are some of the things I've done with the leftovers:
Give it a try yourself and have a ham.
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Jane Hogeterp Koopman
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