Perhaps you have never been poor. If you haven’t, bless your soul, and may it stay that way. If you have, you’ve probably learned some good cooking skills. I’m considering writing a cookbook entitled, “How to Make Food Out of Nothing.” I learned this skill from my mother, who learned it from her mother, who learned it from her mother. The skills my mother didn’t have – like the proper care and maintenance of gravy – came from my father, who learned it from his parents, who learned it from theirs, etc.
To illustrate: my mother’s breakfast as a child was often cocoa and toast. It was a cheap way to make milk and bread seem like a fun way to start the day.
My parents once found Grandpa Frank in the kitchen at 10pm, with cooked chicken meat all over the kitchen table. He probably had the equivalent of half a dozen chickens cooling, putting it all into bags for later use. He’d gotten it on crazy sale somewhere. “Want some chicken? I just thought I’d cook some up…”
I don’t remember whether it was my great-aunt Fern or my great-aunt Melba, but somewhere in the annals of my ancestry, the term “blender spread” came into use. The said great-aunt (and respective great-uncle) had about 9 kids and little money. Every morning, they would make whole-wheat pancakes for breakfast. Every night, for dinner, they would make whatever casserole or what-have-you they could pull together. And every afternoon, for lunch, they would put the leftovers of dinner in the blender and spread it on the leftover pancakes from breakfast. Lunch. Yum.
We’re not poor enough to be using “blender spread” yet, but you know, when the milk goes a little sour, I still drink it. When it goes a lot sour, I start thinking of good uses for buttermilk, because I don’t want to waste a dollar’s worth of milk. So when about a quart of milk took a buttery persuasion this week, I got out the waffle iron and got to work.
Waffles are a really cheap food, when you think about it. A little butter, a little flour, a couple eggs, some sour milk, and a dash of salt and sodas. Nothing to it, really. And when you stop to consider that waffles are way tastier in almost any bread capacity than sliced bread is, it’s an easy decision to make. I could spend a few dollars on a loaf of bread, or I could spend a few dimes on a triple batch of waffles.
We have approximately 42 waffles in the fridge right now, with some extra batter I didn’t have time to cook last night. Combine that with some gravy I whipped up (out of nothing, of course), and dinner was fantastic, filling, and about the same price as a package of ramen noodles. And we’ve got enough leftover waffles to feed the personal guard of Attila the Hun. I’m a genius, people. A freaking genius. ♦