In her op-ed piece, Susan Gregory Thomas describes how she was struggling as a freelance writer and realizing she was spending an astronomical amount of money on food that she could feasibly produce, grow, and make at home. She notes, "when I couldn't afford fancy food — never mind paraben-free shampoo — for my babies, I figured, if peasants in 11th-century Sicily did all this, how hard could it be?"
What did she discover? She could make a single cut of meat stretch for a whole week, granola was a cinch to bake in the oven, bread can become a new routine, and homemade yogurt and cheese taste pretty darn good. Most of all, she learned how to really stretch leftovers into new meals so her family wouldn't become bored with the same old thing, but also ensuring that they didn't waste anything that they'd spent so much time and effort growing.
The first example she gives is making your beans last for three days. Gregory Thomas details how on Day 1 her family will eat cannellini beans with pesto and kale; on Day 2, they'll add that mixture to a frittata; On Day 3, she'll blend the beans into a paste to spread atop crusty bread.
• Read the whole piece: Back to the Land, Reluctantly at The New York Times
• For other frugal tips such as "What to Keep in Your Pantry" or her recipe for "Infinite Pesto," see the sidebar, Tips for Frugal Living.
(Image: Megan Gordon)