Friday, 7 November 2008

Fashionable frugality

India Knight has just produced The Thrift Book: Live Well and Spend Less. Have to admire her for being so quick off the mark. Among other things, she recommends a cook book entitled, wait for it,
How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy Balanced DietWith Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time, Even If You Have a Tiny Kitchen, Only Three Saucepans (one with an Ill-fitting Lid) and No Fancy Gadgets - Unless You Count the Garlic Crusher... (author Gill Holcombe)
Both these books are doing well on Amazon.

Haven't bought them myself because I learnt thrift at my Cumbrian mother's knee. She was fearfully economical having been brought up during the last war and then marrying an Army officer who had to live on his meagre pay.
At one point my parents were allocated an unfurnished Army quarter/house and so were obliged to furnish it as cheaply as possible - they even bought a second-hand black carpet. Absolutely none of the little girls at my school had a black carpet in their sitting room, so I was mortified.


My main economy now: I don't spend much money on clothes because I am about to go on diet. Actually am always about to go on a diet - most Monday mornings, in fact. Like everybody else, I am cheese-paring about some things and extravagant about others. I spend money on heating because I like to be warm, but I can't bear it if somebody throws away the marmalade pot before it is finished, washed and recycled, or starts a new carton of OJ when there are three juices open already in the fridge etc etc. My mother was always saving dire left-overs in washed-out yoghurt pots and Flora cartons - she was far too thrifty to buy Tupperware - so you never knew which of these pots actually contained Flora and which would contain a sinister spoonful of ancient gravy.

I wrote an article about my mother's economies years ago and it went down a storm. People came up to me and said mine's just like that or even, I'm just like that. Clearly, she was ahead of her time as she was always green.

5 comments:

Ms Mac said...

My garlic crusher just broke. I had no idea how much I used it until I no longer had it. I wonder if your mother would ave had a thrifty suggestion to replace it!

Susie Vereker said...

My mother, or more likely my conservative father, didn't approve of garlic, Ms Mac. She was a good plain cook and believed in meat and two veg. So looks like you'll have to go down to Migros and get one. I say down because I have a vision of you living on top of a hill on the edge of the V of the D.

Jan Jones said...

Oh, Susie, my mother would SO have got on with your mother!

Debs said...

I received my copy of, An Old-Fashioned Arrangement in the post today. Thank you so much, I can't wait to read it.

sablonneuse said...

It sounds as though you and I have things in common - like a mixture of extravagance in some areas (I always prepare too much food when entertaining) and hating to waste anything.The perpetual starting a diet sounds only too familiar as well.
Great news about the book being out!