Menu Economy

M. FRANCES HUCKS October 15 1939

Menu Economy

M. FRANCES HUCKS October 15 1939

Menu Economy



of Chatelaine Institute

THE PART women can play in national affairs was never more important than it is now. Canadian women are not called upon to fight in the front lines, but in other fields there is a job for everyone. And regardless of outside duties, the main concern of the woman with a home to manage is that her family shall be adequately cared for, even though the budget may need to be adapted to a scale consistent with national economy.

When it comes to planning the meals, it may be possible to cut the food allowance without depriving the family of any essentials: on the other hand, any saving that can be effected may depend altogether on careful planning and wise spending. In’ either case a knowledge of food values, marketing and economical food preparation is essential. With such knowledge, meals can be planned to include all the necessary food elements, supplies which give the most value for the least money can be bought, and dishes which are attractive and appetizing can be prepared with a minimum of trouble.

Milk should be the first consideration when planning the meals, especially if there are children in the family. The lower the food allowance, the more important is milk. Dried or evaporated milk may supplement the fresh supply, if desired, and is excellent in soups, desserts and beverages.

Fruits and vegetables should be chosen according to the season and to the amount of money available for this group. At least one fruit and two vegetables are necessary every day for health’s sake, and may be selected from the fresh, canned or dried varieties. Make sure, however, that raw fruits or vegetables are used several times a week. Apples, oranges and bananas are good value. Tomatoes, fresh or canned, will offer the same protection nutritionally as oranges, and at lower cost. Among the vegetables, potatoes are the best value for the money spent. Cabbage and other green leafy varieties should be included as often as possible.

Cereals and breads are important in any meal-planning scheme, but doubly so when each dollar must do extra duty. Use the whole-grain cereals in preference, as they are rich in minerals and vitamins. Serve them for noon and evening meals as well as for breakfast. Remember that rice, macaroni, tapioca and cornstarch belong in the cereal class and can be made into economical and appetizing casserole dishes and desserts, or used to good advantage in soups and stews.

The protein which the family needs should come from the milk, from eggs, meat, fish, cheese, peas and beans, and

nuts. Children should have a minimum of three or four eggs a week and—unless the cost absolutely prohibits it— adults should have the same number. Inexpensive cuts of meat have as much food value as the more costly ones, and a savory stew or tender meat loaf can be just as appetizing as a chop or steak. Fish helps to keep the menu varied and is an important source of protein. Cheese and nuts are good just as they are, and are excellent mixers. Beans or peas may be prepared to serve as a main dish for lunch or supper and are good occasional substitutes for meat or fish.

Sweets and fats round out the family requirements of food. Simple sweets are best, and the best place for them is at the end of a meal. Use molasses or honey occasionally instead of sugar, and sprinkle brown sugar on fruits that need a bit of sweetening. Plain cookies or gingerbread are popular with children and have a place in a planned diet. The best fat to use is butter because of its vitamin A content.

Careful Shopping Saves Money

THE next step is wise buying. There are many little ways of reducing the money outlay—shopping in person instead of by telephone, running no bills, carrying food when possible and studying the advertisements for real bargains. It pays to buy staples in quantity when they are offered at special prices and when storage accommodation is available. Pay attention to quality; it isn't necessarily economical to buy cheap grades. In the case of most canned goods, Government grading protects us from inferior products. It’s a great help to many housekeepers to make out a marketing guide and refer to it when planning and purchasing. In the case of meats, for instance, list the cuts which are best for broiling, those which are preferred for roasts, pot roasts, stews, pies, meat loaves and so on. Calculate the amount of waste when figuring the cost; buy large roasts and plan for appetizing left-over dishes. Don’t forget the less usual meats, such as liver, kidney and heart.

Use the same care in choosing vegetables and fruits. Buy in season and pick for freshness and quality. It’s cheaper to pay two or three cents more for a product and use it all than to choose poorer quality and have to discard spoiled portions.

Buy the cheaper eggs for cooking, choose the large packages of such things as shortening, flour and baking powder, and use day-old bread if it is cheaper; it’s just as nourishing.

Think of the conservation of fuel when menus are being planned. Occasionally the whole meal can be cooked at once in the


Chilled Apple Juice

Bacon and Fried Tomatoes Toast Tart Jelly

Coffee Tea



Creamed Sea Food on Toast Assorted Relishes Fresh Fruits

Crackers Cheese

Tea Cocoa


Julienne Soup Roast Boef Creamed Potatoes Baked Squash Chocolate Pie and Whipped Cream I Coffee Tea






Casserole of Rice and Left-over Beef with Vegetable Soup

Brown Bread Bananas and Cream Tea Cocoa

Fried Ham and Eggs Mashed Potatoes Creamed Celery or Onions Apple Crisp Coffee Tea

Stewed Prunes with Lemon

Brown Toast Jam

Coffee Tea


Sausages Sauerkraut Canned Strawberries Jelly Roll

Tea Cocoa

Hot Meat Loaf Brown Sauce

Baked Potatoes Turnips Baked Indian Pudding! Lemon Sauce Coffee Tea

Apples Plain Omelet Toast Conserve

Coffee Tea


Pepperpot Soup Crackers

Potato and Green Pepper Salad

Prune Souffle Tea Cocoa

Braised Tongue! Creamed Potatoes Cole Slaw Fresh Fruit Cup Iced Cake

Coffee Tea

Halved Oranges Cereal

Toast Marmalade

Coffee Tea


Macaroni Custard J Bran Muffins Chilled Melon Tea Cocoa


Meat Pie

Vegetable Marrow Baked Tomatoes Coffee Jelly Whipped Cream Coffee Tea

Tomato Juice Cereal

Toasted Muffins Jam

Coffee Tea

Creamed Pilchards on Toast Celery Curls Stewed Plums Tea Cocoa

Breaded Fillet of Haddock Mashed Potatoes Peas Baked Cocoanut Custard! Coffee Tea

Stewed Plums (from Friday)

Toast Honey

Coffee Tea


Bean Soup

Mixed Vegetable Salad! Apple Sauce Cookies

Tea Cocoa

Shoulder Lamb Chops Hashed Brown Potatoes Buttered Beets Pumpkin Pie Coffee Tea

oven. If the main part of a dinner is to be cooked on the top of the stove, plan a dessert which can also be cooked there, or one which needs no cooking. Arrange to bake biscuits or cookies, to do a few apples or some cup custards w hen the oven is hot for the roast.

Good cooking and attractive serving round out the program of safe economy. Study food combinations, tricks with seasonings, novel forms of service and interesting ways of garnishing. With such devices, the plainest dish becomes something to remember, and a clever manager can get by on a slashed food budget without her family even suspecting that strict economy is being practiced.

As a guide, we’ve planned meals for a week, with one special recipe for each day. The cost hasn’t been cut to an absolute minimum, but may be reduced by making simple changes where you see fit.

Chocolate Pie

3 Squares of unsweetened

chocolate 3 Cupfuls of milk

2 Tablesjxxmfuls of cornstarch

3 Tablespoonfuls of flour Yi~Y\ Teaspoonful of salt

Y Cupful of milk Ï Egg

2 Tablespoon fuis of butter 1 Teaspoonful of pure vanilla

1 Baked pastry shell Sweetened and flavored

whipped cream

Cut the chocolate in small pieces and put with the three cupfuls of milk in the top part of a double boiler. Heat over hot water until the chocolate is melted and beat vigorously with a rotary beater. Combine the cornstarch, flour and salt and mix to a smooth paste with the half cupful of milk. Add gradually to the hot mixture and cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Continue cooking over hot water, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes. Beat the egg slightly, combine with a little of the hot mixture, return to the double boiler and cook, stirring constantly for about one minute. Remove from the heat, add the butter and vanilla and beat well. Turn into a baked pastry shell and cool. Serve topped with lightly sweetened and flavored whipped cream.

Casserole of Rice and Meat

2J^ Cupfuls of cooked rice

2 Cupfuls of cooked minced


1 Teaspoonful of salt Y\ Teaspoonful of pepper

1 Tablespoonful of minced


Yi Teaspoonful of grated onion Ï Egg

Cupful of bread crumbs

Line a buttered mold with the cooked rice. Combine the cooked minced meat with the seasonings, the beaten egg and bread crumbs, adding four tablespoonfuls of gravy, or one-quarter cupful of boiling water to moisten, and turn the mixture into the baking dish. Spread the top with a layer of rice and cover with waxed paper. Place in a steamer and steam for forty-five minutes. Serve with gravy or other savory sauce. Six to eight servings.

Baked Indian Pudding

3 Cupfuls of milk

5 Tablespoonfuls of cornmeal

2 Tablespoonfuls of butter 1 Cupful of mild molasses

1 Teaspoonful of salt

Y\ Teaspoon ful of cinnamon Yi Teaspoonful of ginger

2 Eggs

1 Cupful of cold milk

Scald the milk and gradually add the cornmeal, stirring constantly. Cook over boiling water for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the butter, molasses, salt, cinnamon, ginger and the thoroughly beaten eggs. Turn into a buttered pudding

dish and pour over the mixture the one cupful of cold milk. Bake in a moderate oven—350 deg. Fahr.—for one to one and a half hours. Serve with milk or cream or with lemon sauce. Eight to ten servings.

Braised 'Tongue with Diced Vegetables

1 Beef tongue (about 3 pounds)

2 Cupfuls of diced carrots

2 Cupfuls of diced celery

I Cupful of diced mild onion 4 Cupfuls of stock (liquid in which tongue was boiled)

4 Tablespoonfuls of flour 4 Tablespoonfuls of butter

Wash the tongue thoroughly, cover with cold water and bring to boiling point. Boil gently for about two and a half hours, then remove from the liquid, skin and trim the end. Place in a roasting pan and pile diced vegetables around it. Over the meat and vegetables pour the lour cupfuls of stock, cover and cook in a slow oven—325 degrees Fahr.—for one and a half to two hours. Remove the tongue and the vegetables to a hot platter and thicken the liquid in the pan with the flour which has been browned and blended with the melted butter. When smooth and thick pour some of the gravy over the tongue and vegetables and serve the rest in a gravy dish. Six to eight servings.

Macaroni Custard

1 Cupful of cooked macaroni 1 Cupful of soft bread crumbs lí Cupful of melted butter

3 Eggs, slightly beaten I Cupful of milk

1 Cupful of grated cheese

2 Pimientos, chopped

1 Tablespoonful of chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

Combine the macaroni, bread crumbs and melted butter. Beat the eggs slightly, add the milk and grated cheese and combine with the first mixture. Add the chopped pimientos and parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper and turn the mixture into a buttered baking dish. Set in a pan of hot water and bake in a moderate oven—350 deg. Fahr.—for about one hour, or until the custard is set. Serve hot with cream sauce to which chopped mushrooms or green peas may be added if desired. Six servings.

Baked Cocoanut Custard

4 Eggs

Y\ Cupful of sugar lí Teaspoonful of salt 4 Cupfuls of scalded milk 1 Teaspoonful of flavoring

(almond or true vanilla, or half and half)

Y¿ to 1 Cupful of grated cocoanut

Beat the eggs slightly, add the sugar and salt and gradually pour on the scalded milk, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the flavoring and the cocoanut, turn into a lightly buttered mold or individual custard cups. Set in a pan of hot water and bake in a moderate oven—325 to 350 deg. Fahr.—until linn. To test, insert a knife in the centre of the custard; if it comes out dean the custard is done. Cool and serve. Eight servings.

Mixed Vegetable Salad

1 Cupful of chopped carrot.

raw or cooked 1 Cupful of cooked peas 1 Cupful of sliced celery Chopped peanuts, plain or salted

French dressing Chopped mint Lettuce

Combine the carrot, peas and celery and add a few chopped peanuts. Just before serving, dress with French dressing to which a little chopped fresh mint has been added. Serve on crisp lettuce. Approximately six servings.