About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

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Grocery shopping like the past

December 11, 2023

I am thankful for the time that I was born and raised.  I have fond memories of my younger years and was raised city and rural life so I was able to understand not having and having, sensible and not practical.  Not practical is what we have much of today.

Some of you have seen this old store on my blog several times before, this store belonged to my Great Aunt and Uncle and was my most favorite place to go.  The creaky wood floors, the squeaky screen door, a pot belly stove in the middle of the store, groceries on shelves on the walls, folks came and sat in wood chairs around the old wood stove and caught up on talk. Penny candy in jars and my Uncle cut meat and cheese in his small butcher area. Those days long gone now but not in my heart and mind.

I started off life in the city and city life changed quickly.  Our house in the new subdivision that was built in what used to be a strawberry field.  This area grew faster than a cricket can jump.

My mother making Pate Chinois.

I do not have a lot of photos to use as an example from the time I refer to so I re-post some of my family photos to use for a description.   Meals were more simple, I feel one reason is that we did not have television at this time and families stayed to pretty much to what they knew from when they were growing up. There was advertising in the newspaper and on the radio but this was a much slower time and I wish you younger than me folks could feel those times like I do and I am trying my best to show you how it was so we can get some better sense in what we need to do today.

When Charles and I came to our senses and decided to live a more simple, practical and old fashioned life we never knew that was the beginning to getting out of debt and living a more exciting life of doing history studies.

Everyone needs a budget, even if you are doing good with your finances. This post is for the "Many" people that are feeling the financial pinch.

Back to basics can help our finances, it can calm our home, it can bring us together.  It will take letting go of things and doing what makes sense instead of listening to advertising. 

This old recipe I have for peach cobbler that was passed down to me that originated from my Grandmother or before her. My mother typed it on this card and gave it to me. Why am I showing this peach cobbler here?

Because, what there is to know about this recipe is this was made during peach season, when peaches were harvested.  This cobbler is made with fresh peaches that were sliced and sugared to taste.  This is an example of the past verses today of eating seasonal or eating whatever we want all year.

Food is more expensive when it is not in season, if we are eating food that is not being harvested in our area right now then it was picked and shipped from many miles away.  

Make sure you have a meal plan of some kind, a shopping list, something to tally the food price on the item you take off the shelf so you know before you get up to the checkout you are within budget.  

I have a special money holder that I keep my weekly grocery money. Each week I must balance all of this, what I am spending verses what my budget is and the best way for me is, I can only spend a certain amount. 

Right now I am shopping on Wednesday because that is when the sales start where I like to shop. Have you figured out how much gasoline/petrol you use to get to the grocery store?  It all adds up and very important to stay on budget.

This day I was catching a ride with Charles and this is the area of town he was working.  I wanted to get shopping pictures for this post to give a visual idea of what we are doing. It was Wednesday so I decided to go here.

I try to stay to my list as much as possible.  I do figure in my spending for a few items I may have accidentally left off the list.  I am trying my best to get this budget on track that also means I do not go back to the store during the week.  I have to figure out something else that we have in the house.

I put myself into a mindset of long ago because that helps me to visualize what they had then and now. Long ago I would hand my list to the grocery clerk and my food and goods would have been brought to the counter by the clerk. 

I look at the buggies today at check out and see them overflowing, a site that would not have been seen long ago. A home with kept staples, we do not need a lot when we go weekly shopping. 

Charles tried his hand at making the half loaf of bread on my blog and he did a good job.  This was his first loaf (half loaf) of bread.

We slice the half loaf from the middle first so the sides go together and the slices are similar for a sandwich. 

I am working on making things easier, I am keeping my baking needs on the counter so I do not have to do as much reaching or go up on a step stool.  

Same for the pots and pans.  Now I have them in a cabinet in the kitchen so they are easier for me to reach. 

If there is something that you can do to make it easier for you to cook meals at home to keep from spending on take out or just eating junk, then this would be a good thing.

I am not going to do a post with all kinds of fancy grocery lists and menu planners, I have tried these and it keeps coming back to keep it basic and keep it simple.

Think basic, the old way basic.  This means a quieter, calmer home, a home with a routine. Getting up early and putting the kettle on, get started on the important things that keeps a home running smooth.  Think basic meals without a lot of expensive ingredients.  Think of meals that your generations before you ate.  Learn about the food that is grown in your area, people in the past ate what they could get and did not have a large variety of different food. 

 It can be a cottage pie

It can be a meat, carb and veggie. Eat similar foods often so you can use up the fresh food before it goes bad. 

Don't forget the simple sandwich and put whatever you have on your sandwich.  Going from my experience and memory from the past, a sandwich was the most common thing we ate for lunch. 

I know that today, health and nutrition is a very big deal.  One problem I see is there is too much confusion about what to eat, and what is healthy. Another problem what they consider healthy is very expensive and trendy.  Also, the last thing a doctor has ever talked with me about is nutrition, such as never!  

Health is very important, "however" being able to afford food "and" a place to live is important too. Here in the U.S. automobile insurance, dental costs, and death insurance, health insurance, and the bills that follow what the health insurance does not pay, and also medication costs, makes food costs seem to be the last thing we add to our household budget planning. Charles and I have made this comment many times when budgeting, "But we haven't figured in groceries,  pet food and gasoline".

Homemade crackers

Our common sense comes in to play here.  We know certain food items or too much of something is not good for us.  We also know that we need to get a certain amount of the the necessary nutrients in our body.  If we make cooking at home too complicated we end up in a fast food lane or a restaurant. We need to re-arrange our thinking, stay away from processed package food and eat basic. 

When we figure our bills to see what money we have left for food and we have no money left for food then some things that come with a bill we have to disconnect or let go. We can also cut back by turning off things that pull electricity.

When we figure a food budget first, then write down all our monthly expenses, we will see what needs to go.  Many times that makes us know how bad it is and how little we have to spend for food and why all of this going back to basics from long ago makes sense.  

If we are trying to keep a food budget, then we should never walk into a grocery store without a plan and just pick out what we want to eat and pay whatever the costs at the register. It takes getting in a routine.

We all live in different places,  we have come from different ethnicities and we eat different types of food. I feel it is good to keep our culture and heritage close to us and embrace those generations before us with traditions. Writing out a shopping list from me would do you no good since you eat different meals than Charles and I do. 

There is so much choice today that it is like we are trying to eat every different type of food all the time.  Then there are the manufactures that are making new things to keep us buying.  We can stop the confusion and the expense if we either just go basic in any way you feel is basic or embrace your roots.

Dinner plates Now and Then

I can show you that the dinner plates, dessert bowls, juice glasses in our older dinnerware are "much" smaller than new dinnerware today. That says a lot about portions long ago vs today, the dinner plate to the right is from the 1940s. In another post on my blog I show the difference in size of pie plates.  So another savings in affording food is we get our serving sizes back to the old days.

Do your best to try and "feel" how it was long ago.  You can do this by studying the past, watching old movies.  Some of you younger folks might think the 1960's or 70's was older and it was, but I mean well before that time.

The old newspapers were filled with recipes but these recipes were for people to try, this did not have anything to do with what people really ate day to day in their homes. Recipes turned into cookbooks that were sold, many food industries were behind many of the commercial cookbooks. When it comes to affording to shop for groceries, the old home way was simple meals. 

We try to keep something always growing in our small yard garden.  The past couple of years we have had a difficult time due to the heat in summer,  health and this years drought. We keep trying to find ways and adjust and we keep trying.  

To sum this up, do your best to make some kind of meal plan, learn your prices of the food items, this will change but it gives you and idea on planning. Take some kind of inexpensive notebook and write things down.  Find out how much money you have to spend and try and set a routine, whatever works for you.  

Stay within your budget, try and not make extra trips to the store so you don't buy extra food while you are there. Don't go to the store hungry. Go basic and try to stay basic once you have it figured out.  Remember the nutrition is in the broth when you cook your vegetables, include the broth in the meal. Pass up the junk food and drinks, our body needs water intake. 

Let us know in the forum how you are doing with this, it is good to share experiences from around the world and we can take ideas from each other that may help. 

The link to my forum is up at the top of the page, you do not have to sign up to read the forum but you do to comment.  This is just a step to keep spam away and to keep the site safe. 

Links below to a couple of things I mentioned. 

My 2013 post on half loaf of bread.  https://gdonna.com/cooking-from-scratch/half-loaf-of-bread/

How to make the peach cobbler post.  https://gdonna.com/cooking-from-scratch/old-fashioned-peach-cobbler/

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