Account empty – plate full: Savings tips for cooking and shopping

Anyone who has to flip every dollar twice at the end of the month or is always on a permanent budget may not have the nerve to get creative in the kitchen. Not only is it a shame and bland, because cooking can be a relaxing and fulfilling pastime, but it can also be unhealthy to eat only wheat toast, boiled ham and ketchup.

low budget cookbook

Someone who knows the feeling is the current “Spiegel” author Sebastian Maas, who published the book “Gar es ohne Bares” in which he collected recipes for everyone “with a small budget and little time “, some of which have also already appeared as a column.

He himself comes from “simple circumstances”, as he tells the AZ: ‘During my studies, my money was never enough – despite several part-time jobs. If I still had 500 euros less at the end of the month, there was meat sausage for dinner or I had to’ borrow’ something from the apartment- share my roommates’ fridge.”

In the meantime, that has changed, his view of the supermarket has become more open – the Hamburg journalist now wants to pass on his knowledge of the possibilities of cooking something tasty “even on a small budget”.

For sustainability: Buy regional and seasonal products

So what do you do when you know about healthy eating but only have a small budget? Maas says: “‘Expensive’ does not automatically mean ‘good’ and ‘cheap’ does not automatically mean ‘bad’.

This is proven time and time again by comparative tests of branded products with discount offers. He says if you’re not treating yourself to luxury ingredients flown in, you’re automatically cooking even more sustainably using regional and seasonal produce.

But he admits: “I don’t want to sweeten the situation. Conventionally produced fruits and vegetables are often more contaminated with pollutants and, through price dumping, create new poverty in the production chain.

Recipes are largely free of animal-derived ingredients

The pulverized and plastic-wrapped peppers from the supermarket have a different effect on the environment than the Demeter variant from the neighboring farm. That’s why no one should go without vegetables. But according to Maas, it would be “the task of politics, ecologically, socially and to make nutritionally ‘good’ food equitably accessible to all.” »

In his book, the amateur chef largely avoids animal ingredients and meat. Why? “In my book and my column, I made the resolution never to be more expensive than a meal in the canteen, which is three euros a portion. If I prescribed meat in a recipe, I would be obliged to recommend cheap meat. I’ve done a lot of research on the subject for years. Since then, I can no longer reconcile cheap meat with my conscience. Unlike fruit and vegetables, the following rule applies here: ” cheap” can never mean “good”.

Moreover, even cheap meat will become more expensive in the coming months due to the rising cost of animal feed, which will make plant-based alternatives more attractive,” he explains. That’s why I sometimes write in recipes when what meat might be fine.”

When Andi Schweiger is not outside, he works in his cooking school on Wiener Platz.

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And preventively: What role does education play in relation to its own diet – in addition to the available budget?

Maas says: “An early knowledge of ingredients, substances and preparation methods will help later making healthy choices at the supermarket. Children learn eating habits not only at home, but also in kindergarten, at school and with friends. They don’t miss what others have on their plate and are constantly faced with advertising. So they need good role models in the kitchen.”

From leftover peels to superfoods

Sebastian Maas is now a pro with leftovers. He has three tips for anyone trying to save money on groceries: l “Throwing away uneaten food hurts your wallet,” he says. “I like to keep trimmings of peeled carrots or slightly overripe vegetables in the freezer. When I have enough of them, I make a broth. The same goes for many overripe fruits and berries, which I freeze and turns into jam, oatmeal or smoothies instead of throwing them away.” “Many things that are sold at high prices as “superfoods” in this country can be replaced by cheaper, local ingredients: instead of chia seeds, you can put flax seeds in bread and muesli , instead of pine nuts, I roast sunflower seeds for pesto and salad.Even the antioxidant coloration of acai berries carries over into the vile red cabbage.Ã We often unconsciously throw away the best of what’s attached “You can make great pesto from carrot tops, and the lighter leaves of cauliflower are delicious when fried crispy and salted as a garnish for stews or curries,” advises Maas.

Recipe tip from “Gar es ohne Bares”: Squeeze Potatoes

Costs: If you can get cheap lemons, 99 cents a serving

Ingredients: 1 kilo of small rather waxy potatoes, 2 to 4 cloves of garlic, 8 tablespoons of olive oil, 4 tablespoons of natural yoghurt, 4 tablespoons of cream cheese, 1 handful of chopped parsley , the zest of an organic lemon, salt and pepper

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees with air circulation, boil the unpeeled potatoes in salted water for a good 10 minutes until they can be pierced without resistance. While cooking, chop the garlic and brown it in a lake of olive oil. As soon as it begins to be lightly browned, immediately turn off the heat and strain the oil through a sieve into a bowl. Spread the briefly cooled potatoes on a baking sheet and mash them, for example with a jam jar or a potato masher. “The fun part,” writes Maas. Spread the flavored oil on the mashed potatoes, salt generously and bake for 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the desired degree of browning. Combine all remaining ingredients for the dip. Serve potatoes with dip and garlic cloves.

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