Great British budget menu

I’ve just been watching a programme on bbc called great British budget menu. It was about 3 families who can’t afford to put decent food on the table within their budget so are buying convenience foods, and how they can start buying and cooking fresh ingredients again. It was interesting although I felt the chefs really struggled to get grips with the central problem. They didn’t even mention the fact that the whole canon of Traditional British cooking comes from a history of rationing and food shortages and as such, so much of it can be produced on a budget. Nor did they make clear, although they definitely realised, that you need to shop longer-term rather than day to day in order to manage a small budget. They did realise that each house needed a store cupboard of basics to start them off, and they provided a decent list to get people started. They provided a list of basic recipes, some of which were great, but some of which didn’t consider that you can’t necessarily buy the correct quantities, and that if you have to buy a packet of something that’s bigger than you need, you then need the skill to use it up in another recipe. Can people do this? I have the impression they can’t. They were also about half veggie, which misses the point I think. Of course it’s cheaper to cook without meat, but we need it in our diets, or to properly substitute it. More useful would be recipes which don’t use much meat and pack in the veg. But a few of the chefs realised and did this.
Whilst searching for my link I found a review, admittedly not in a major paper(!!) but it does make a few of the same points I’m making here. Read it here ( it’s the skills we need. We used to have them, now we don’t. So I’m going to do my own little series on budget cooking, and the relevant skills. Perhaps the bbc will pick it up and I’ll be invited to do my own version of the programme. But if not, at least I will have my tips all ready to teach Samantha, so she’ll be ready and armed to go out and cook in the big wide world!

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