The Minimalist on what's in & what's out for 2009

A little bird passed this along to us, and I thought it was well worth sharing! A lot of his recommendations are extremely frugal as well – fancy that. Making your own simple stocks, using old bread for breadcrumbs and croutons, avoiding cooking sprays (full of preservatives and really, when you think about it, insanely expensive compared to using your own oil in a pump bottle), using dried beans instead of canned when possible – this is all right up our alley. Some of these topics are things we planned to discuss on this very blog!

I must quibble slightly with two of his recommendations: for vanilla beans over extract and tomato paste in a tube rather than a can. Vanilla beans ARE wonderful as a special treat, but the cost is really outrageous for using regularly if you’re trying to budget. Using a good quality vanilla extract is a much better bet (Cook’s Illustrated rated plain old McCormick’s as the best, and we concur, after shelling out way too much for fancier brands that honestly didn’t deliver). And the tomato paste in a tube, well, it’s true that there is often paste leftover after using the frequently-called-for two tablespoons, but I’ve never had  trouble saving it in a small tupperware container and using the rest within a few days. The tubular kind, again, is just too pricey.

The rest of the article is just great, though. Words to live by!


  1. sandy says

    Anne and Donna-

    Congrats on your new adventure together! I love your tips. Imust agrre on the vanills, the pricier brands taste like cough syrup to me.

  2. says

    Thanks, Anne, for passing along great tips.

    I want to add one of my favorite fugal foods: frozen spinach. This has got to be one of the best bargains in the grocery store! If you’re using spinach cooked into a dish, the frozen version (well drained, of course) works just fine and is a fraction of the cost of fresh spinach in the produce department.

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