tight wad tuesday- delia's frugal food

“…..Who, then, is this book for? Quite simply for people like myself, those who have lived and cooked during the affluent years and now find themselves caught up in the spiral of inflation, rising prices and impending food shortages…..”

-by Delia Smith (Delia’s Frugal Food)

This excerpt was not written in recent months, but back in 1976 when the book was first released. Interesting that what was such a significant subject then is even more relevant today. At the time of the book's original release, Delia Smith's Frugal Food provided home cooks with a wide range of tasty recipes that were cheap and easy to prepare, encouraged readers to make do with what they had and even offered advice on how to cook using less energy. The book’s success led Smith to television, where she enjoyed a long reign throughout the 80s and 90s as Britain's celebrity chef. It was during this time that the 'The Delia Effect' began. Store shelves would be stripped of a particular item the day after it had been featured as a key ingredient on one of her shows. Thirty two years later, Delia's Frugal Food has been relaunched, right at the height of the latest credit crunch. While it has been revised for the times (less drippings and more olive oil, plus new illustrations) its 170 recipes still show you how to eat well without having to spend a fortune.

fru – gal entailing little expense; requiring few resources; meager; scanty: a frugal meal.

In case you haven't heard yet, apparently frugal is the new black. Being one who prides myself on staying left of the mainstream, suddenly realizing that I am in the thick of a gathering trend is a reality that leaves me feeling somewhat uncomfortable. Groucho Marx was famously quoted for stating “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member”. But really, I should just get over myself and be grateful that the previous era of gluttony and over consumption has been forcibly decreased and people are now looking for different ways to live well with less.

But much of what I have read lately on the subject of frugality gets my knickers in a knot. It usually seems to be referred to in a somewhat negative tone. I feel very strongly that being frugal need not equal scarcity, deprivation or lesser quality. When approached with the right attitude, practicing frugality offers one an opportunity to be creative, innovative and resourceful. It also presents us with good reason to share with others, to trade skills, knowledge and resources and, in turn, to build and strengthen communities. I am hopeful that such experiences will make us become more grateful and appreciative for all that we do have, be it material or not.

As for Delia’s Frugal Food, I must admit that it is not a cook book that I am particularly drawn to. But its concepts and philosophies certainly speak to me. It is a wonderful contribution when such books can get more people cooking (and eating) well. Teaching others to be creative and thoughtful with ingredients and competent with methods all result in helping to make us healthier….body, soul and wallet.

1 comment:

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