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My Grandma passed away at the age of 94. She was a wonderful cook and I was lucky enough to inherit her recipes. Many date back to the 1940s and 50s. Grandma prepared them in a charming country kitchen with no running water and most of her produce came from her garden, not from the grocery store. These are made-from-scratch recipes. I wish I had spent more time with her in the kitchen and . . . I wish I had spent more time with her for so many other reasons.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Produce Co-op -- What a Great Way to Save Money

About a year ago I read about this produce co-op and I thought it sounded like a good idea.  But . . . I was reluctant to try it out.  I didn't know anyone who had participated and I wasn't sure about the quality of the produce they would provide.  The prices were great, but I had to pay in advance and then pick it up at a particular location within a 15 minute window.  So much pressure!!! :)

I finally gave in and placed an order for the Produce Basket.  With the delivery fee and the required one time $2.00 contribution for coop bags, my total came to $24.25.  Take a look at a snapshot of the Produce Basket.

This picture doesn't begin to do justice to what was in the basket.  There were bananas, plums, nectarines, fresh ginger, cilantro, Napa cabbage, button mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, oranges, apples, carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower.  The bag had to weigh about 30 lbs.  Amazingly, everything was very fresh and well worth the money spent.  Some weeks the bag weighs 40 lbs plus.

The co-op delivers every two weeks.  When I arrive at the pick up point, there are probably 50 people waiting in line to get their produce.  Pick up goes very quickly.  Everything is sorted into bags and boxes and our orders are labeled with our names.  I have quite a time carrying all of my purchases all the way to the car.

Check out the co-op when you have time.  Their website is www.communityhelpingscoop.com.  There are groups all over the St. Louis area.  I happen to be part of the High Ridge group.  Be sure to sign up for a group, and they will e-mail you a couple of days ahead to remind you to order, and then send you a reminder to pick up your produce on the delivery date.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Grandma's Recipes

Most of Grandma's recipes have been for what I call ordinary everyday recipes that came out of the 1940s through 1960s.  There are tools in the blogger world to look to see how many people read posts and I've definitely found a pattern.  The more exotic the recipe name, the more visits there are to that post.

There are certainly gems hidden in the posts on this page -- I've had the pleasure of discovering most of them.  It's just a shame that more people don't take the time to read back through the recipes to discover the basics.  Grandma didn't have the luxury of running to the grocery store just to pick up a forgotten item.  Her shopping was limited to one day each week -- usually Saturday.  She relied on items in her freezer, on her canning shelves, or from her garden to plan her dinners.

It couldn't have been easy.  I can't imagine not being able to just run to the store for something I need to complete dinner.  That happens to me frequently.  Grandma was a planner.  She had to think ahead -- there were no microwaves to defrost meat or other items.

We have so many luxuries when it comes to cooking compared to those who cooked years ago.  One of my resolutions for 2013 is to get my financial house in order.  To accomplish this, I'll need to review my grocery budget.  That's one area that can use an extra eye!