Today I bring you another story from one of my favourite sources – the scripts of the United States Department of Agriculture Radio Service program ‘Housekeepers’ Chat.’
Here is the script, (‘For Broadcast Use Only,) – including recipes of course - of the program of September 26, 1932:
Subject: “Saving Day Hints.” Information approved by the
Bureau of Home Economics, U.S.D.A.
The lady around the corner made a call on Uncle Ebenezer and me yesterday afternoon, and she confessed the food sins of her family.
"My husband has a prejudice against most vegetables. He just doesn't like them. My brother lives with us, and he is a vegetarian and won't touch meat. The two children are just as bad. One of them won't drink milk, and the other dislikes eggs. With a family like mine, food bills certainly are high. No matter how hard I try to economize and plan simple and sensible meals, my husband complains that our food costs too much."
Uncle Ebenezer looked very serious and shook his head as he listened to our caller.
"Prejudices about food certainly are expensive," he agreed. "Pampered tastes and finicky ways need a good fat purse."
The food experts and nutritionists, who are helping out these days in our problem of household economy, agree with Uncle Ebenezer. Whims and fancies about food, refusing this and disliking that, they say, are some of the ways to make the food bills go sailing up into the stratosphere.
Of course, if you have all the money you want to spend on food, or if you don't care how much you spend, these prejudices aren't so serious. If you understand food values and have the money, you can humor prejudices and indulge preferences and still feed the family a well-balanced diet. But trouble sets in when you need to be thrifty, when you want to keep your family well, yet must feed them at small expense. Then you can't afford food prejudices.
One good way to overcome food dislikes is to get all members of the family to take an interest in the facts about food. Facts often drive out prejudices. You remember that the time was when many people scorned cabbage and prunes, called them "boarding house food" and felt that their families deserved better fare. And the time was when liver was a very humble food. A friend of nine used to say that liver was only fit for feeding cats. But times changed when the nutritionists began to experiment and discover the facts about food values. We housewives began to hear how rich cabbage was in vitamins — especially raw cabbage. And we began to hear that oven, the humble prune had great virtues. Liver became a food celebrity overnight when we learned its value for treating anemic people and for supplying us all with good red blood.
So if you want to feed your family well at low cost, banish prejudices from the house. To save yourself trouble and expense, let the youngsters learn early to eat every food you serve them.
All during the past week, I've "been collecting ideas for economy Monday, jotting down little notes so I could remember helpful things my friends have been telling me. And I'm ready today to exhibit my collection to you.
To begin with, I have some vegetable saving ideas. Some people waste vegetables without even knowing it. Take celery. That's one of our good fall vegetables.
"If you're really thrifty," says my Next-Door Neighbor, "you never throw away a bit of celery. You use both the tender stalks and the large outside stalks, you use the heart and use the leaves. Hot a bit of the whole bunch goes to waste."
Of course, the tender hearts and the white root never go to waste. They're the delicate part of the bunch, and you eat them “as is” But what about the rest of the bunch that isn't so good for eating out of hand?
The tough outside stalks you can use for soup or you can cut them up, boil them and serve them in cream sauce. Or stew the celery up with tomatoes and serve it as a combination dish. Carrots and celery diced and cooked together make another good combination.
Celery leaves are excellent for seasoning soups, stews and sauces. So don't throw the leaves away. If you can't use them all at the time, just dry them and put them away in a jar. They'll be ready then for seasoning any time during the winter.
Peas are another good vegetable sometimes wasted. I don't mean the young and tender green peas. I mean the peas in your garden that have grown middle-aged or somewhat elderly so that they are too hard and tough for serving just cooked and buttered. What do you do with them? My neighbor cooks hers until tender, presses them through a sieve and then uses the pulp for cream of pea soup.
As for beets, haven't we mentioned before that the thrifty housewife makes her beets go double whenever she can? If you have young beets with fresh unbroken leaves, serve the beet tops for one meal as greens and on another day serve the beet roots.
Here is a point about buying potatoes for economy. Buy smooth potatoes and you'll avoid the waste of catting out eyes, specks and imperfections such as are often found in knobby potatoes. If you want potatoes for baking, choose a kind that is dry and mealy. Waxy potatoes hold their shape well for salad and for frying.
Keep some small onions on hand to use for seasoning. Oftentimes when a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons or so of chopped onion, you don't need to bother to measure. You can just cut up one of these small onions and let it go at that.
Now here are five little helpful odds and ends of information. I'll just have time to give them to you before the menu.
Idea No. 1. To prevent your rug from curling and slipping, sew a triangular piece of corrugated rubber under each corner, pieces of rubber left from an old inner tube might do for this purpose.
Idea no. 2. If you have a new wooden drainboard in your kitchen, apply waterproof varnish to keep the wood from becoming water soaked and dark in color.
Idea no. 3. Oilcloth wears much longer if you first pad your table smoothly with newspapers.
Idea no. 4. Rubber aprons help save laundry work.
Idea no. 5. A rubber plate-scraper, sometimes called a “squee-gee”, is very helpful to the thrifty housekeeper. It makes its way around any mixing bowl much more closely than a spoon, so removes the last bits of cake batter, whipped cream, salad dressing or melted chocolate.
Now for the menu, another economy menu. The main dish is baked tomato with shrimp. Something new for the family. Then, fluffy boiled rice buttered; Panned cabbage; whole wheat bread and butter; and for dessert, Stewed fresh pears with lemon. Hot tea for grown ups.
Here’s the recipe for baked tomato with shrimp. Eight ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 cup fine bread crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
6 firm, ripe tomatoes
1 cup shrimp (canned)
I'll repeat that list of eight. (Repeat.)
Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the pepper and onion for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in the bread crumbs and the salt and pepper. Cut a slice from the stem end of the tomatoes and very carefully remove the pulp so the skin is not broken, and drain the pulp. Combine the seasoned crumbs, the tomato pulp, and the shrimp which has been rinsed in cold water and cut into even pieces. Add more seasoning if necessary and mix well. Fill the tomato cups with the mixture and sprinkle a few buttered crumbs over the top. Bake in a moderate oven until the tomatoes are tender and the crumbs are brown. Serve from the dish in which cooked.
Tuesday: “Hints for the Home Decorator.”