Thursday, November 11, 2010

Frugality

I guess it's because my mother, who was a child of the Great Depression, taught me well that I hate to waste food. If we left food on our plates, she would invoke the starving millions and urge us to finish it up. She used butter papers to grease pans and saved minuscule portions of leftovers, thinking fondly that she would actually use them in future meals.

Toward the end of her life, I would jettison a couple of these suppurating packages a day when I visited her - if she caught me cleaning out her fridge, I'd get yet another lecture about wasting food, even though the food I was throwing away was far past edibility for anyone but cockroaches. I was always terrified that she'd actually serve those fuzzy unrecognizables at dinner some night. You can see that I come honestly by my frugality.

Last week, I had half a loaf of sourdough baguette left from an earlier meal that I couldn't bear to throw away. I was roasting a chicken that night when I had the idea to cut the bread into chunks and add them to the roasting pan in place of potatoes. I tossed them in a very little olive oil, sprinkled them with herbs de Provence, and roasted (actually, toasted) them alongside the yardbird. They came out crisp and crunchy, nicely flavored with herbs and a dash of caramelized chicken juice. Delicious!

The only change I'd make next time is that I'd add them about halfway through the hour of roasting - they were crunchier than I expected. Next time, I'd like the crisp outside to give way to a chewy interior. But, for a frugal alternative starch, I was pleased as punch, given that I couldn't very well send that bread to the starving millions.

6 Comments:

Blogger namastenancy said...

That sounds yummy. You can also make Tuscan Bread Salad from "left over" bread and even make your own breadcrumbs but I am sure that you know that. I wonder how many of us had parents who went through the Depression because I think that's where some of that uber-frugality came from. My grandparents had it as well but my grandmother was as talented as you are in putting those "left-overs" to good use. My mother- not so good. I suspect that she incubated alien life forms in those little dishes of green fuzz but I was not brave enough to investigate closely.

Thursday, November 11, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

OMG, Zoomie, you are *thisclose* to Zuni's roasted chicken with bread salad. Try it! It's superb.

Thursday, November 11, 2010  
Blogger Ms Brown Mouse said...

Ooo, that's almost fried bread you had there, a breakfast treat even I don't eat anymore :)

Friday, November 12, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, your Mom sounds a lot like mine. How did they maintain the fantasy that they would actually _use_ those bits of saved stuff?

Cookiecrumb, I have heard about that chicken but never eaten it. Must try. But making it would be hard - too much hot chicken flipping for my simple soul.

Ms Mouse, it was more toasty than fried but chicken-y, too. Rolling my eyes.

Friday, November 12, 2010  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie, never fear the Zuni recipe. It's roasted. And I've made it at home. Doable!

Friday, November 12, 2010  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, I will try it at Zuni before attempting on my own, so I know what I'm shooting for. :-)

Saturday, November 13, 2010  

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