|I top-dressed the strawberry beds last week. This was the most sickly of|
the beds. I'm hoping the top-dressing will help in the rejuvenation process.
Do you remember the first really amazing strawberry you ever tasted? I remember mine. It was picked directly from the garden. I couldn't believe that this delicious, sweet, flavorful berry was related to those other things I'd always bought at the supermarket.
Being frugal with the grocery budget isn't just about buying the cheapest foods available. It's about obtaining the best foods possible within one's budget. Many of us do things like keep a garden or make our own soup stock from bones. These activities not only save us money, but they yield really delicious foods. Berries that taste like berries were meant to taste. And chicken stock that tastes just like chicken stock is supposed to taste.
We sometimes find ourselves fooled by the manufacturers, fooled into thinking "they" know what chicken stock is supposed to taste like, or the cheese sauce on boxed mac and cheese is how cheese should taste. And then we make something from scratch and wonder why ours doesn't taste like the manufacturer's version. Why doesn't grape candy taste anything like grapes? Why does strawberry jello only remotely taste like strawberries? Why does canned chicken-noodle soup taste more like salty broth than chicken?
I began growing a garden to save money and make sure we were eating enough healthy foods. What I found was that freshly harvested vegetables and fruits taste amazing. And to take this even further, I discovered that fresh apples, purchased or homegrown, taste way better than apple, fruit-flavored snacks.
I'm an accidental foodie, you could say. I didn't set out to prefer really fresh produce, or scratch-baked breads and treats. I set out to save money on groceries. I just discovered, somewhere along the way, that these foods taste really good.
Do you remember the homemade ice cream I made with my surplus of whipping cream, back in December? I had made a quart of chocolate ice cream, to save for my daughters's birthday in the freezer, over winter. This was some of THE best chocolate ice cream that I have ever tasted, made with real whipping cream, whole milk, real vanilla extract, cocoa powder and sugar. It was a bargain to make, and turned out to be as good as any "premium" ice cream available to purchase.
Because I have a small grocery budget, I need to dedicate almost all of my budget to really good, whole foods. I don't sweat that organics and free-range are not in my budget. I buy the very best foods available that do fit into my budget.
And as I am able, I go to the effort and work to keep a large garden. Why? Because really good food begins with really.good.food.