- Teaching Home Economics to Daughters -
This post is part of an ongoing series to give you an inside look at what I am doing to teach my 15 year old daughter (Amy) the art of homemaking skills. I will also share stories and memories of how I taught my older daughters (currently ages 21 and 22). You can expect to see these posts every Tuesday, here at The Legacy of Home.
Category - Meal Planning on a Budget.
When we owned our country store, we had to keep track of our inventory. We did not want to run out of things like sugar or canned corn. So we kept a list of all the basic items we needed. Please realize, this was an old fashioned, Mom and Pop, country store with hardwood floors and old wooden shelves. There was no computerized inventory. We did things the old fashioned way. We even had a rotary phone!
This is where I got the idea of keeping a list of inventory for our kitchen at home. However, I only use it as a
Amy and I Make the List
I sit at the kitchen table with paper and pen. Amy (15) looks through the cabinets, shelves, and refrigerator. She tells me exactly what we have on hand. She also tells me the quantity.
For example - 3 cans of green beans, 28 eggs (she actually counts out the eggs), 10 pounds of potatoes, 10 boxes of pasta, 5 pounds of carrots, 10 cans of tomato sauce, 2 loaves of bread, 6 sticks of margarine, 1/2 can of coffee, 10 pounds of sugar, 20 pounds of flour, 1/2 can of shortening, 1 gallon of milk, 1 can of juice-mix, 10 pounds of burger, 16 oz bag of mozzarella cheese, etc.
Once every item is written down, we begin the process of making menus and creating a small grocery shopping list to make up for needed items (if necessary).
The Menu Plan
- I require counsel for this. (smiles) I always call my oldest daughter, Rachel (22) to help us. I tell her exactly what I have on hand (from the list) and she gives me a ton of ideas for creative, economical meals. Next, I look through my old cookbooks and find more ideas. Then I ask various family members for suggestions, based on the inventory.
As each menu is written down, I cross off the exact ingredients from our inventory list. For example - if we make a dinner consisting of meatloaf, green beans and mashed potatoes, I cross off one pound of burger, 1/2 a stick of butter, one can of green beans, 5 pounds of potatoes, 2 eggs, 1/2 a bottle of BBQ sauce, 1/4 of a can of bread crumbs and a portion of the milk.
We keep this up, planning meals and crossing off the needed items from the inventory list, until nothing is left and I have enough meals to get us through the required number of days (such as 2 weeks).
The Shopping List
I will often need a few items. This might include: 1 bottle of BBQ sauce, 1 gallon of milk, 2 dozen eggs, 2 cans of corn, etc. I will only buy the few exact items necessary in order to FRUGALLY clear out my pantry based on the meals we have written down.
I want to stress the fact that I do not create a pantry list based on things I want, or things I hope to have on hand. For instance, even though we love to make homemade pizza, I rarely have the necessary spices -like basil and oregano. So I end up using only one or none. I do not have the money to stock my pantry with basic necessities. I simply use this inventory list to carefully, prudently and creatively use up what we already have.
**Historical Pantries included canned garden produce, and bulk basics like coffee, grains and sugar. These were mostly farm pantries, where the family was able to obtain eggs, butter, milk and meats from their own animals and land.
Please contrast this with a modern day kitchen - we use the store fliers to stock up on sale items. We also take advantage of "reduced" goods offered for a fraction of the retail price - like yesterday's bread, meat and produce. These food items form the basis of a modern kitchen pantry.**
I'd love to hear about your kitchen pantry. Is it a closet in your kitchen, some cabinets, or a beautiful piece of
Is there a creative, frugal meal you often make when the pantry starts to look bare?
Very Hard times - No Income and the Basics of Life.
An Elegant Home Despite Poverty - with pictures of my home.
An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email.