Sunday, 24 February 2013

Isn't the price of meat shocking...



First of all, a lovely welcome to my new follower Sara Oliver, do you have a blog that we can view? 

We were warned last year about the rising cost of animal feed and how the poor harvests around the world would affect the cost of meat and other foods that rely on grains such as bread and its associated baked products. Alcohol also falls into this category but at the end of the day, if you need to, you can either do without or reduce your intake.

Food however, along with water, is necessary to sustain life. In our current season, the cold makes us want to eat more so we have to eke out dishes with more vegetables which in themselves, have also risen in price.

Friday saw us doing a small top up at a local supermarket looking at the price of meat, fancying a Sunday roast other than chicken or ham. No luck, I just wasn't prepared to spend so much on so little. Although we normally get our meat from a local butcher, due to us being in said supermarket, we ended up buying 3 packs of casserole meat for £10 (would have been £12 for the 1.2 kg– not a huge saving).

We know the farmers in general are missing out and that shops have to satisfy the needs of their shareholders so we can probably take a rough guess at who is winning here. It certainly isn't us!

The first lot of meat went into a large saucepan to make a vegetable and meat stew. Gone are the days when it was a meat stew. We had a portion Friday night with dumplings. What was left had a can of kidney beans and some hot and spicy sauce added to it to make it into a chunky chilli. The contents of the pan were then divided into 2 portions and frozen. Sorry, forgot to take a photograph.

The other two packs were minced, along with an onion and dry fried with a good dash of Worcestershire Sauce. Then, 3 carrots, 1/4 of a swede, 3 small leeks, a 2” portion of butternut squash and a tin of tomatoes were added. It was slowly cooked for 2 hours, stock cubes added, thickened and divided into 2 dishes and a container. What was left of a bag of potatoes was cooked and mashed and put on top of the two containers to turn them into Shepard’s Pie. 

One is for Sunday along with the small carton of gravy. The other plus a bag of mince, will be frozen for a later date. 

So I managed to get 6 meals for 2 people from those 3 x 400g packs of beef. I'm sure I could have done better by adding lots more vegetables. Some days, my brain just isn't up to it plus, it is the end of the month and my fridge and vegetable rack is almost empty.

23 comments:

  1. Getting 6 meals for 2 people out of £10 worth of meat means you are probably going to come in at one pound a head for the meals (if you take into consideration the veggies you have already added and a portion of veggies to serve with them), this is a BRILLIANT price.

    Don't forget this is good home cooking at it's best and you are providing it for LESS than the the cost of a tiny cheap supermarket value ready meal.

    Sara's blog can be visited at
    http://afrugalwife.blogspot.co.uk/ I had to search to find it but it's well worth a read :-)

    Sue xx

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  2. Thanks for that Sue, you are right, it is less than the price of something similar cooked in a factory, probably far less than a finest version. Thanks also for the link, will have a read of it.

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  3. Yes, you did very well to make the number of meals out what you bought but I agree it takes a lot of energy and planning to be frugal like this and it can be exhausting some days.
    You have to know that you made good meals out of what you bought and are not living on frozen dinners or a lot shop-bought cakes and bread etc.
    I was reading recently that in 1930 people spent 25% of the incomes on food - today it is about 10%. The Food Programme did a segment of the food subsidies that we have enjoyed for many decades and the rising cost of food globally.
    I have been thinking a lot lately about this and have decided to make my food purchases a priority. I dont drink or smoke, dont have pets, dont have a smart phone, dont have gym memberships or go to weight loss clinics or the hairdresser but I think there are things that I could still cut back on. I recently re-did my insurances and saved over $1,000 a year - that will be spent on food - any small savings I can make will be spent on food; this will become my reality.
    I just feel I must start to think differently about the necessities of life.
    Would love to hear your views on the above.

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  4. Thank you Lizzie. Yep, some days are harder than others. We are similar to you in what we don't have but I do have a home hairdresser. I have always cut DB's hair since we married, just about got it right after nearly 32 years! Great savings on your insurances, always pays to shop around providing you don't lose anything on the insurances that you might need. The 1930's figures are interesting. Maybe in the 30's they didn't have mortgages, cars, and other insurances and bills like we do today. Also, most people wouldn't have had fridges or freezers, also shopped weekly as that was the only way to keep food fresh. I really do think food and food shopping has to be a priority. Animals produce methane, not good for the planet and also eat/roam about on pasture that may in future need to be used for food growing. I love Food and Drink programme here. Usually cook too expensive food but they also tackle global issues.




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  5. Today I managed to make one portion of beef stew from the freezer become three portions by putting it in a pie and serving it with cabbage from the garden and some oven chips. I guess this is the secret for meat eating now, make it go even further.

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    1. Now that is a good ideal Dan, thanks for that, can't beat a pie even if it does mean more calories!

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  6. I think that you did well with your £10 worth of meat, since reading a few blogs I have started potting oats into my minced beef meals. I started with a sprinkle and gradually increased to about 30% and my family have not noticed. I like lentils for this but my daughter can not stand them in any shape or form.

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    1. I often do that with mince, it is amazing how much you can put in without anyone noticing isn't it.

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  7. I agree wholeheartedly about the rising cost of food. We are trying to cut down on the amount of meat we eat and everything gets veggies added ie carrots and onions. I have been buying frozen peppers and mushrooms for adding into things like curry, spicy beef and beans and spag bol, they work out much cheaper than using the fresh ones and last ages. I don't work the cost out to the penny but try in my head to base meals around a pound a head, just like your meals today which cost less than the cheapest supermarket ready meals and are of a much higher quality.

    You can't beat home cooking!

    Karen

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    1. That is very true about home cooking. The problem is that people who don't home cook seem to think it takes forever. Its like making bread, probably less that 25 minutes to prepare, after that it takes care of itself. Once in the freezer, get it out the night before and warm up the next day. What is so difficult about that? Yet so many buy these awful cheap prepared meals believing you can't cook for a cheaper price. We are having the larger of the two Shepard's pies for tea with a few peas. I reckon size wise, it will be bigger than you can buy.

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  8. Great post, Dc, and I agree with everything you've written. I get VERY incensed at the thought of just who benefits from food prices..and it is never the farmers or the shoppers. Criminal.

    Thinking of what Lizzie says, yes, it can be tiring making a massive effort regularly to make multiple meals to stretch your purchase, but actually that is the kind of cooking `i most enjoy - I tend to do it when I have time, an afternoon in the kitchen producing meals from scratch is relaxing. Coming home from work tired, having to get a meal from scratch on the table within the hour IS exhausting, and i am so glad I no longer have to work that way. (There's a lot to be said for retirement!)

    I am learning a lot from your blog - and also remembering a lot, I was taught to cook from scratch from my mother, and always did in my early years as a wife and mother. Then lazyness crept in. Partly because of lack of time.However I now have the time and the inclination.And the necessity!

    I have a small book called "Marvellous Meals with Mince" had it for YEARS, by Josceline Dimbleby (I doubt she ever had to eat mince in her life!) which has some brilliant ideas in it. (No faggots, though!) Thanks again!

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    1. You are welcome, glad you enjoyed the read. I had to teach myself to cook (other than what I learned from school). It was a long hard slog but got there in the end.

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  9. I am astounded when I go to the supermarket that it seems to be more expensive every week. We are having less meat and bulking out with veg and I am also having a couple of veggie options each week too.

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    1. The majority of our meals are probably vegetable based now. Meat is the exception or rather a decent amount is. Meat for us is the new 'salt and pepper'!

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  10. Stew, chili and stir fries are my favorite ways to use a small amount of meat and lots of veggies (especially the ones that are past their prime like limp celery). The only problem with home cooking is that it usually tastes better so easier to overeat (so says hubby)

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    1. That is very true but then portion control has to come into the equation. It also helps keep the food bill down. We eat early at 5.00pm each night, mainly just one course. We don't eat anything after then except maybe a piece of fruit. We weigh ourselves every Sunday making Sunday our naughty day, puddings and cakes but only if we feel the need. Yum Yum!

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  11. Hello and thank you for noticing me! Sorry I'm so hard to find (can you tell I'm new to all this blogging lark?) but Sue's right and I can be found here: http://afrugalwife.blogspot.co.uk/.

    Funnily enough, hubby and I were just having the same discussion over the price of meat yesterday. He's very much a meat lover and feels hard done by if he's given a meat-free meal. But he did say he was willing to try some meat-free meals "as long as it's not salad" so I'm thinking we can make a game of it and experiment a little.

    I agree with the others and think you've done well in getting the number of portions you have out of the meat you bought. We try to bulk out our meals with lentils and veg to double our portions, but that can be a pain with fickle little toddlers deciding they don't like carrots, peas, sweetcorn blah, blah, blah from one day to the next - sometimes more time is spent picking frowned upon veg out of portions than actually eating dinner!

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    1. Other than peas, leeks and carrots, if you grate your vegetables, they generally can't be picked out in most dishes and often dissolve into the background but you are still getting the benefit. I can't use too many lentils as it upsets DB's stomach.

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    2. What a good idea - thank you!

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  12. When I see the price of meat and fish it makes me even more glad that we chose to stop eating it last Summer. Now, it would be a decision that was forced on us by rising prices. Both J and I have lost weight without trying since we stopped eating animal products, so that's been a welcome side-effect. I fitted into a size 14 top and size 12 jeggings last week which is much better than the size 22 tops and size 20 trousers I was wearing 3 years ago.( I'm still classed as obese though!)

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    1. DB is in a similar boat. Most people who look at him (that we know not strangers :), think he is fine in the weight department but the old machine says he is at the top of overweight. I am at the top of normal and usually put some on this time of year but most years, lose it when the warmer weather appears. You are doing well, what a good side effect and feeling full at the same time!

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  13. I used to love my Sunday roast but it would take such a large portion of my budget now that I have had to abandon it - the times they are a-changing.

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    1. I think I might have a go at Haslet, (aka Frugal Queen's blog but no recipe unfortunately). It can be made into a roast looking shape and eaten both hot and cold.

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