Tag Archives: budget menus

Cook Book Challenge, Can I Do This?

I’ve been reading this book from the 1960s on making cheap dinners. It has no non-meat based meals and uses lots of prefab stuff I wouldn’t. On the other hand, they also deliberately use many of the bits/pieces left from one meal to the next. But they don’t use trimmed fats, HM bread, etc.

Feeding two people for $1 of course isn’t possible now, [unless you’re eating grass in your own back yard, and the taxes might make that cost too much!]

The book is from 1967, just about the time I was first starting to cook. The menus have usually 2 starches in them, bread & potatoes too, which I also wouldn’t do, and many fewer green vegetables. It’s an interesting read.

I think I’ll find one of their menus and price out what it would cost to make it now, just for grins.

The rate of inflation between 1967 and 2012 is 586.8%, so that a $1 meal should cost $6.87 now. Don’t let anyone fool you that we don’t have any inflation, even at 1-2% a year it adds up over time!

I wonder if their menus will work in that price range?


We’re having hamburgers for dinner. There are three recipes in the book that use ground beef, none of them as simple as hamburgers: herbed ground beef, ground beef and cheese, and ground beef with chili beans. The ground beef and cheese looked maybe like cheeseburgers, but no. The recipe is a stuffed hamburger with the meat formed around a slice of cheese.

Okay, I bought meat yesterday, on markdown sale. I have 1.13 lbs of 85% ground beef. Regular price $4.19/lb, original price was $4.73 – I got it for $1.50 less than that, or $3.23, which is only $2.85 a lb. The ground beef price in the book is .52 a lb, or 18% of what I paid for my pretty good deal! So much for feeling really good about that price ‘eh?. If I’d paid .52 a pound, my package of beef would have cost me .59 ! Acc. to Jill Bond in the Mega Cooking book, ground beef comes in 25 lb tubes. I wonder if I agreed to buy that much how much I’d have to pay for it?

DH will cook the beef in 2 patties and cook them with a little sweet onion, olive oil and Worcestershire Sauce. We’ll have bagged veggies with it, probably green beans, as that’s what we’ve got open. The veggies were I think $2 a bag, on sale. I have no idea what I paid for the onion! I buy them at near wholesale in the fall from a farm stand the day they close for the season. I don’t know what I paid per pound! Figure the beans are 1/4 of the package, that’s .50, the meat was $3.23. I’ll guess $2 for everything else: part of an onion, the olive oil, margarine (on the beans), and Worcestershire, then it’s $5.73 or $1.14 less than what I figure their $1 meals would be, above. Sigh. I thought my cost was better than that, but live & learn I guess! And, if I figure in energy costs, I’m sure we’ve spent more than they had. Although, in all honesty, their figures didn’t include energy costs either.

Note: On 4/29 I went to make dinner and found that DH had only used 1/2 the hamburger when he made them. I cooked the rest of it up with chili powder and onions and we had tostadas for dinner, and there was some left over. DH will probably use that for a lunch. This means that the package of meat, which cost $3.23 actually was used in 5 portions (2 hamburgers, 2 tostadas, 1 single meal), or a cost of about .65 each portion. That means that instead of the .52 the meat cost in the original recipe for a meal, it costs us $1.30 for 2 meals, which might be the best I can hope to do?