I read The Everything Meals on a Budget Cookbook on my Kindle Fire. The format was extremely easy to use, but unlike one I can hold in my hand, it’s probably not a book I would use very often. However, even if I did find a print copy, it still wouldn’t be a favorite.
The book explains in the chapter entitled ‘Cooking on a Budget’, you should approach saving money on food as you would any other project: with a plan. The author, Linda Larsen, who created and tested recipes for companies like Pillsbury and Malt-O-Meal since 1987, and written articles for Woman’s Day magazine advocates writing lists, planning menus, and cutting coupons.
Many of Larsen’s recipes are basic ones which can be found elsewhere. She includes traditional convenience foods in her ingredients lists like canned beans, vegetables and condensed soup, as well as white flour and sugar. Granted this cookbook was first produced in 2008, just as the general public was beginning to truly grasp how unhealthy these foods can be, but there are plenty of people like me who want to save money on food, so Everything Meals on a Budget Cookbook remains available.
While this is not a book I would use on a regular basis there are some interesting recipes I might try like Larsen’s recipe for Old Bay Seasoning. This is why I read cookbooks – the ‘aha moments’ when I discover something that interests me. I enjoy finding a recipe I’ve never made or one that recreates a product I usually purchase at the grocery store, like Old Bay.
The Everything Meals On a Budget Cookbook gives cost per serving, so you can see at a glance which recipes cost less to create. However, I question the book’s accuracy in reflecting current food costs. In Appendix A Larsen gives a cost comparison between canned or boxed foods and its’ homemade counterpart. Appendix B gives sample menus, their costs, and a shopping list for each.
The Everything Meals on a Budget Cookbook is part of a series of titles on various subjects, including many cookbooks. As a cookbook this title is moderately interesting and those who want to save a little money on food preparation may find it of some use.
Reviewed by Leigh
Old Bay Seasoning (From The Everything Meals on a Budget Cookbook)
Old Bays Seasoning is the classic blend of spices used for cooking seafood. You can make your own mix; it’s cheaper and it’s fun.
1T celery salt
½ tsp paprika
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp each white and cayenne peppers
1/8 tsp all spice