Sunday, August 8, 2010

"Frugal Food Bible" review

I wanted to share with you a really awesome book that I found at the library today.  It is called, "Frugal Food Bible - Practical Advice for Feeding your Family During Hard Economic Times" by Better Days Books (ISBN 978-0-6152-1899-1).  If you can get this book through your library or book store, it is well worth time and effort!  I don't often recommend books, but this is one that I am planning to add to our home's personal library.
The front cover intrigued me when I saw it.  Pictures of ads from the days of the Depression and World War 2 were evident.  I was equally curious as I read on the cover that it contained advice "From Americans who survived and thrived in tougher times than these" and that the book contained "over 400 pages of classic frugal food recipes, household hints, money saving tips, backyard gardening guidance and more."
In scanning the table of contents, I learned that this gem of a book is actually 4 books combined into 1 publication.  The first section is the book, "The American Frugal Housewife" by Mrs. Lydia M. Child.  This publication was originally published in 1832.  The writings and values are ones common of that time, but are very important to us today.  Simple recipes using the basic larder stock are a blessing during times when grocery money is running low.  By incorporating many of these recipes to our regular meal routine, we can cut our food costs greatly.  Mrs. Childs includes information on topics such as simple remedies, how to make soap using wood ash lye, and how to clean/maintain your home in a more simple manner.
Section two contains, "Foods that Will Win the War and How to Cook Them" by C. Houston Goudiss.  First published in 1918, this publication contains great information on how to conserve your food resources.  It was written at a time when the nation was dealing with war and basic supplies were limited.  The frugality of these ideas and recipes can benefit us today as well as it did our Grandparents' generation.  There are recipes that show you how to make breads and other foods without wheat, sugarless recipes, and meatless meals.  One item that may interest you as well as maybe your children are the butcher charts that show where each cut of meat comes from.  For example, did you know that bacon comes from the belly area of a pig?  One feature in this section that caught my attention were the dinner menus.  These menus are hearty in their content but are a nice way to plan out your meals.  I will be trying some of these in the near future to see what ones we like.  It will be nice to have new meal ideas to add to our repertoire.
Section three is "Home Vegetable Gardening" by F.F. Rockwell, originally published in 1911.  It touts itself to be "a complete and practical guide to the planting and care of all vegetables, fruits, and berries worth growing for home use."  In the 1st part, a good basic instruction is given, complete with a planning chart to show how far apart to plant the rows of vegetables.  The 2nd portion teaches about vegetables, how to start from seed, when to plant, etc up to the harvest and storing of the vegetables.  Part 3 is about fruits and berries.  Much like the previous part on vegetables, this one gives great ideas on the planting, tending and harvesting of the fruits and berries.  There is also a calendar showing what to do each month to maintain and grow the fruits & berries.
The fourth and final section is "Cassell's Vegetarian Cookery - A Manual of Cheap and Wholesome Diet" by A.G. Payne, B.A., originally published in 1891 in England.  One of the purposes of this particular publication was to provide information and recipes not only for those who were vegetarian by choice, but the vast number of those who adopted the vegetarian diet out of necessity. This section is nearly all recipes sectioned similar to any good cookbook. 
Overall, the book is one of the best resources I have found recently to teach how to use basic ingredients found in most home larders and turn them into meals the family will enjoy.  The recipes are not as detailed as today's cookbooks are, but they are easy to understand.  There are some recipes with call for ingredients such as corn syrup, which today we may not choose to use.  There are substitutes today that can be used in the corn syrup's place.  The basic recipe would stay the same though, which is a great resource.
As I mentioned, I don't recommend many books, but this one is a keeper.  I will definitely be looking for it to purchase. 
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