Sustainable Living: Kitchen Tips from the Great Depression

It just so happens that sustainable living practices coincide with times of recession.

It makes sense, when you think about it. During economic recession, saving money means using less – turning down the heat, making your own dinner, and using less fuel, being kind to the earth as a result.

In general, these practices also mean being healthier. It’s a 3-in-1 deal, and how can you say no to that?

The amount of things you can do to save energy are only as limited as your imagination. It just means reworking how you think. Do you really need to throw away that Ziplock bag, or can you reuse it?

Today’s tip: Make your own food.

(This goes along with our post about victory gardens! Growing your own vegetables, fruit and herbs is cheap and fun.)

Pre-made/frozen meals use more plastic & cardboard waste than home-cooked meals, not to mention all the added sugar & preservatives. Do your body and your wallet a favor: don’t buy prepared meals.

Just take a tip from YouTube star Clara, a 94-year-old cook who demonstrates meals that her mother made during the Great Depression. In her popular online show, she shows how to stretch ingredients to the furthest degree and still get a great meal out of it.

You can check out Clara’s videos and recipes here.

"Wilt-not waste-not" fresh vegetable care released from 1941-1945

“Wilt-not waste-not” fresh vegetable care released from 1941-1945

  • Cooking your own meals takes some planning. It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it. Plan out a week’s worth of meals, including leftovers, before you go to the grocery store. That’ll keep you from the temptation from buying unnecessary, unhealthy packaged food.
  • Fresh food is your friend! So are rice & pasta, good staples to keep in your pantry.
  • Reduce the amount of meat you use, or get rid of it altogether. Meat is more expensive than most other foods you’ll buy.

And there you have it. Some simple ideas to get the healthy train going. If you eat out constantly, try starting out with a couple cooked dinners a week, and see where it takes you!

Do you have any kitchen tips not mentioned here? Do your fellow sustainable cooks a favor and write your tips in the comments!

How to Start Your Own Victory Garden

Winter is on its way, but some of us are already dreaming of spring. And why not put that anticipation of spring to good use?

During World War I and World War II, the government promoted the creation of “victory gardens” or “war gardens”, vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted on private property and public parks.

On a similar vein, Seattle, WA has confirmed plans to build a “Food Forest” full of fruit trees, herbs, and more, all available to the public free of charge.

Creating victory gardens helped with multiple things at once. The public food system was becoming overburdened, and if citizens created their own gardens, more factory food could be shipped to soldiers. They also made people feel like they were truly contributing to the war effort and boosted morale.

411px-INF3-96_Food_Production_Dig_for_Victory_Artist_Peter_Fraser

“A Victory Garden is like a share in an airplane factory. It helps win the War and pays dividends too.” -Claude R. Wickard

Victory gardens can be just as useful today – for slightly different reasons. With a growing movement toward at-home solutions, self-reliance, and locally grown foods, victory gardens fit right into place.

So how do you start your own? With perseverance, yard space, and some seeds.

  • Planning is important, which is why you should take the winter season to read up on gardening and the right plants for your area of the world.

408px-Deposit_Seed_Co_Victory_Garden_Catalog_1944_-_Flickr_-_USDAgov

  • Pick your plants. Which veggies, fruits or herbs do you eat the most often? If you’re new to gardening, which ones are the easiest to grow?
  • Decide where to plant your garden. Will you pick a nice patch in your backyard, or will you need to use creative containers like window boxes?

With some patience and reading up, a victory garden can be yours!

Sources:

Victory Garden Informational pdf
As usual, Wikipedia
Starting a Victory Garden
Wartime Educational Film