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How to Cook with Economy and Grace

Watch the How to Cook with Economy and Grace video

You can imagine how excited I was to find chickens for only 94 cents a pound on one of my shopping trips. I didn’t expect to see such a bargain on poultry in these inflationary times. However, I also didn’t expect to see some of the critical comments I received when I went to my YouTube community page to let everyone know about my inexpensive chickens and where to get them. The disapproving comments gave me the opportunity to reflect on cooking with economy and grace, which is the topic of my conversational video with you today.

Affiliates note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My content may contain affiliate links to products and services. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. It does not affect the price you pay.

What Was Wrong with My Bargain Chickens?

As part of my series on how to stock up on real food and fight inflation, I filmed a video on 5 Cheap Foods to Stock Up on Now for Your Fridge and Freezer. For this video, I visited a Walmart in Central Texas as a follow-up to my earlier video on 10 Cheap Foods to Stock in Your Prepper Pantry.

I chose Walmart to shop for the foods in both videos since most everyone in the United States has a Walmart nearby and could find the same foods (and hopefully the same prices!) that I found for my videos.

During my shopping trip, I was excited to find chickens for only 94 cents a pound, which averaged out to be a little under $5 per chicken. Wow! In these times of rapid food inflation, I was so happy to find such a bargain.

I highlighted the inexpensive chickens in my video, and I also put a post on my YouTube community page to share my find in the hope that other folks would be able to find the same kind of chicken at the same price at their local Walmart.

I wasn’t prepared for the upset comments I received on my community post.

You see, the chicken that I found for under a dollar a pound wasn’t organic or pasture-raised. I received a number of comments pointing out that the chicken came from a commercially-raised farm.

If I was such a fan of nutrient-dense foods and Nourishing Traditions, the commenters asked why I would want to encourage people to buy non-pastured, non-organic chickens?

Making Real Food Choices

There’s no question that I love and support traditional nutrient-dense real foods, which include:

  • Organic foods
  • Pasture-raised animals
  • Eggs from cage-free chickens
  • Wild-caught fish
  • And more!

However, sometimes these items don’t always fit in your budget. Sometimes, our budgets can be so tight that we have to choose between paying $25 for a pasture-raised chicken or paying for gas so we can get to work.

Sometimes, people need to make choices, and that’s what I mean when I’m talking about cooking with economy.

Cooking with Economy

Cooking with economy means spending within your budget and stretching your food as far as you can.

For example, if you buy a chicken (at whatever price), you can stretch your chicken by:

  1. Roasting it.
  2. Picking off the leftover meat from the carcass to make a soup or tacos. (For folks who are not fond of dark meat, you can disguise it with spices or within other recipes.)
  3. Using the carcass to make bone broth.

By following this process with every chicken you buy, you’re being very economical and living the spirit of cooking with economy.

As you probably already know from my previous videos, I just love roasting chickens because they are delicious and give me so much to work with for future meals and making bone broth.

First Time Making Bone Broth?

If this is your first time making chicken bone broth, I usually recommend collecting at least three chicken carcasses and adding chicken feet to ensure that you have a gelatinous bone broth. You can generally find chicken feet (or chicken paws as they are also called) at your neighborhood grocery store.

Here are a few videos on how to make chicken bone broth, depending on your kitchen device, such as your stovetop, slow cooker, or Instant Pot. (And don’t forget the chicken feet too!)

I also show you How to Make Collagen Rich Bone Broth for Under $2 using chicken necks and backs.

Cooking with Grace

Cooking with grace means showing grace to others, and this goes hand-in-hand with cooking with economy.

If we are following the same process of using up every last bit of the chicken we can afford, whether it’s a $5 or $25 chicken, we are cooking with grace because we are not busting our budget or putting ourselves or our family under stress.

We don’t want to be rigid and feel that we have to get the $25 organic chicken every time we go to the grocery store. If this impacts our budget and we don’t have enough money for other needs, we’re going to put ourselves and our families under stress.

Stress is not good for our health. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a stressful situation, especially when you’re trying to create a traditional foods kitchen to help improve your health.

Roast Chicken

We want to be grateful to be able to afford the $5 chicken, and if you can afford the $25 organic chicken, show grace to those who can only afford the $5 chicken by encouraging them and not being critical.

We want to be loving and kind to everyone, especially with what we’re going through nowadays. So celebrate being economical and show grace to others who may also have tight budgets, even tighter than what you may have. In doing so, we create a much better world.

Show Yourself Grace Too

And be sure to show grace to yourself too. You may want to get that pastured chicken, and you may feel sad and disappointed to get a chicken that’s not raised as well. However, go easy on yourself. You’re doing the best you can, and over time, things will get better with grocery prices and your grocery budget.

Praised Chicken in an oval dutch oven.

Get the chicken you can afford and serve that chicken with love, even if it’s just for yourself. Before I married my sweet husband, I was single for a long time and ate alone for many meals. (I sometimes had my Boston Terrier or other dogs to keep me company.)

Think to yourself that this meal I made for myself or my family is better than anything I could get from a fast food place or prepackaged food from the grocery store.

Cooking Real Food Helps Your Grocery Budget

Did you know that the more you learn to cook real food, the more you’ll find you have money in your budget because you’re not buying more expensive preprepared foods? It’s true, and you’ll help your health too.

I have many videos to show you how to make things homemade, which lowers how much you have to spend at your supermarket. With less stress on your grocery budget, you may be able to afford to get pasture-raised chickens and eggs, especially when they go on sale.

I go over a number of recipes you can make homemade in my video, but here are just a few.

How to Make Homemade Sandwich Bread

Making bread homemade will be cheaper and more nutritious for you. Whether you’re a new or experienced baker, try making the following no knead sandwich bread recipe.

Add up the cost of your ingredients along with the little time it’s in the oven, and you’ll find it will be much cheaper than a plastic-wrapped loaf of bread at the grocery store with all kinds of ingredients that you’ve never heard of.

Yes. This sandwich bread is made out of all-purpose flour, but remember that’s okay. You can move up to baking with whole grains and sourdough as you become more comfortable with making food homemade.

How to Make Homemade Mayonnaise

Another recipe to try homemade is making mayonnaise. Much of the mayo sold at the grocery store has soybean oil, and we want to avoid consuming this oil since it can cause inflammation in our bodies.

Just like with your freshly baked loaf of bread, you’ll find that homemade mayonnaise is cheaper and more nutritious than the store-bought brand.

Cooking with Economy and Grace

I like to meet people where they are on their journey from a processed foods kitchen to a traditional foods kitchen.

If you feel that you have to buy everything organic and use only the choicest ingredients to create a traditional foods kitchen right away, you can become overwhelmed, disheartened, and stressed.

Do what you can when you can with real and homemade foods, and it will get easier over time.

And if you see someone who can only afford a commercially-raised whole chicken, celebrate their economy. Graciously give them a big hug (in-person or virtual, both are nice!) and let them know how wonderful it is they are making a delicious meal with real food and lots of love.

Download Your Free 36-Page Pantry List

For an extensive list of the traditional foods you can make and purchase to stock your pantry, be sure to download my free 36-page Traditional Foods Pantry List. This comprehensive eBook is full of links to recipe videos, helpful articles, and more!

10 Steps to Inflation Proof Your Pantry

In these times of skyrocketing grocery prices, it’s easy to feel powerless. However, we can take steps to inflation-proof our pantries to fight rising grocery prices. Watch the following video and download the free checklist to learn more about the 10 steps you can take to fight food inflation.

An Everlasting Meal

The phrase of cooking with economy and grace comes from a book called An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. I love her writings, including her Something Old Something New book that reinvigorates classic recipes that many folks have forgotten. I talk about both of Tamar’s books in today’s conversational video.

And on the topic of cooking with economy, I also recommend the Substituting Ingredients book by Becky Sue Epstein. I highlight her book and five substitutions in the following video.

Kitchen Academy Videos

Are you looking for more traditional foods videos? If so, I invite you to join the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy. Members of this optional paid YouTube community get access to exclusive videos, live streams, and other members-only perks. Plus, your YouTube comments include a special members-only badge.

In the following members-only video, I talk about How to Deal with the Rising Grocery Prices of Real Foods.

Stay in Touch with Mary’s Nest

  1. Subscribe to My YouTube Channel for Traditional Foods Videos (Free) - When you subscribe, be sure to click on the notification bell that will let you know each time I upload a new video.
  2. Subscribe to Mary’s Traditional Foods Newsletter (Free) - Get a free 36-page eBook for signing up: How to Stock Your Essential Traditional Foods Four-Corners Pantry.
  3. Join the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy (Optional Paid) - For more detailed videos and exclusive members-only perks, join my YouTube membership community.
  4. Order The Modern Pioneer Cookbook (Optional Paid) - Get a printed book of Mary's nourishing recipes from a Traditional Foods Kitchen. This bestselling cookbook is published by Penguin Random House with their DK imprint.

I look forward to having you join me in my Texas Hill Country Kitchen!

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Disclaimer:I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.

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  1. Mary, I love you and your channel … such wonderful, useful content. For those who can afford “organic, grassfed, etc., lucky you! For many, that is unrealistic — unless we’re trying to starve. So, $0.94 chicken is fantastic!
    Viewers can choose what eorks for them — but criticism is unwarranted.
    The content is free. If it doesn’t “work” for you, so be it. For the majority, it’s very helpful. Thank you, Mary💕

  2. Mary, I truly enjoy your posts. I take the pointers you give and apply them to my situation and place in life. Thank you for the effort you put into what you share. God bless and may he grant you many more days to help us look at things in a manner that is always intended to help.

  3. Mary I understand your surprise over the reactions you received but on ce again you demonstrate how to accept even unreasonable criticism.

    Thank you for helping cooks of all economic means the skills they need to bring health to their homes and save money.

    You do such a thorough and thoughtful series of videos. Thank you. One day I am going to successfully make kraut and have a working sourdough starter and make bread

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for your kind words! Sounds wonderful! Sauerkraut is a superb fermentation for beginners. And you’ll love the taste of your first sourdough boule!

      Love and God bless,

  4. You are gracious & kind. Most people are having to make choices between traditional food & less expensive (for the short term). Thank you for being supportive of everyone.

  5. Dear Mary,
    I was very sad to learn you had so many critical comments when you shared the bargain chicken shopping experience. I have been watching your videos and been a subscriber for several months. I have appreciated your guidance and noticed you ALWAYS emphasize following our own family budget and you are forever offering tips and sharing pearls to help people get started economically. Please do not feel badly from the rigidity of those few “critics”. I am grateful for you and the guidance offered to become a better cook for my family. Your wisdom and advise are much appreciated.
    Your sweet friend,

  6. Mary,
    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It is so easy to become discouraged when the budget doesn’t allow the absolute best choice. So many people have already cut out the “processed foods” and don’t really have more to squeeze out of the budget and a $25 whole chicken versus a $5 whole chicken well the $5 one means that you can buy vegetables and rice and chicken and whole milk and dry or canned beans for the same $25. You are a calming voice of reason and I consider myself blessed to have happened upon your youtube channel and blog Praying for blessings for you and your family

    1. Hi Cindy,

      Thanks for your kind words! Yes. That’s perfect for being able to use the $25 to buy a whole meal and then some.

      Love and God bless,

  7. I’m so sorry people can be so ugly. I’m 57 and organic has only been around for a short part of my life. I’ve turned out just fine esting plain old conventional food and I rarely buy organic. I think it’s way overpriced and overrated. I agree that families need to do what’s within their means. It’s not anyone’s place to judge. Thank you for all the hard work you put into your channel and blog

  8. Mary, you are so kind and graceful! I appreciate your posts, as I am sure many others do. We outway the negative sayers. Keep up the good work and God bless!!

  9. Mary, I think you are doing a fabulous job of educating us in all aspects of helping us provide for our families. Even though I love organic foods as well. I buy them only when I can afford it. Sometimes, we can only do the best we can at that time…and maybe I can afford the organic kind next shopping trip. Don’t listen to the haters. You are doing wonderful and I really enjoy your videos. Keep up the good fight. You are AWESOME!!!!

  10. I tend to buy organic and healthier nutrient dense choices often but do the same as you living in Los Angeles.
    I can buy a $5 rotisserie chicken or $15 frozen, kosher, organic, blah blah sometimes- the price and/or convenience factor win and it’s ok. We love you Mary you are beautiful and wise and I appreciate all you do.

  11. Hi Mary!
    I just want to say that I stand by you and all that you try to teach! I didn’t see the comments because I don’t do FB, but to those who were critical to you — BOO HISS SHAME ON YOU! I get so tired of nasty humans that are so selfish and judgemental.

    I applaud you for hanging in there and thank you for teaching those of us who understand your approach to food and storing up for “whatever may come”.

  12. Please find it in your heart to ignore (dont even respond) to judgemental haters..
    Thats not where your amazing energy should ever go. You have been a true blessing to 99.9% of everyone that follows you. Please just keep doing what you are doing, minus giving oxygen to haters. Be Well, Be Blessed and

  13. Dear Mary,
    I so appreciate your kindness and generosity in sharing your knowledge, time and empathy for others and meeting others where they are in their journey.

    I appreciate your many wonderful tips and willngness to help others in these challenging times. You’re right, $25.00 can make a BIG difference in eating a few good meals or getting to work that week so you can continue to provide meals for the next two weeks.

    May God bless you and keep you and your family.

    Hugs – Elaine

  14. Mary – My father, an immigrant from Italy, worked hard and achieved multi-million dollar status in his fifties. One of his favorite things was to go to the grocery store when whole chickens were on sale and purchase 2 or 3 and come home, cut them into pieces (he learned how as a boy and taught my brother and I how to cut a chicken) and then put them in the freezer. He has passed away but my brother and I still buy whole chickens on sale and cut them up.

    1. Hi Annette-Marie,

      Thanks for sharing your father’s love of cooking whole chickens that you and your brother carry on to this day.

      I’m confident he’s smiling down from heaven and watching over you and your brother!

      Love and God bless,

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