Monday, 19 January 2009

A year of The Frugal Cook

Twelve months ago today I started blogging as The Frugal Cook. I can't claim credit for the idea - it was my publisher's who thought it would be interesting to chart my efforts to cut back and eat more thriftily.

I remember wondering if I'd have anything to say (hah!) and whether I was mad taking on the extra workload. (I was!) But it's been nothing but fun, so much so that I now have two other blogs on subjects that interest me - The Cheeselover and Credit Crunch Drinking.

The reason it's worked so well is thanks to all of you. All blogs need an audience, preferably a vocal one and the recent response to such topics as frozen veg and food for flu have shown that there's a wealth of expertise to share.

The book is now out, as you know, and has had some great reviews, most recently on Henrietta Green's FoodLovers' Britain (you need to scroll down the page to find it). There have been one or two complaints that there weren't enough recipes using cheaper cuts of meat but that was deliberate. My feeling was - still is - that people by and large want to eat the kind of food they were enjoying before the credit crunch, just to pay less for it and that they don't want to go back to the sort of dishes we had in the '50s. (The irony is that many so-called 'cheap cuts' are now dearer than some of the more expensive ones)

The most important thing I've learnt is that you have to shop and cook in a way that suits your own time and temperament. Some people manage to plan a week - or even a month - ahead but I find that I always end up wasting food when I do. Plans change, we go out to friends, they come round to us. I spend less when I plan two to three days ahead but I'm lucky enough to work from home.

You also have to keep your wits about you far more than you did even a year ago. The incredible offers on some products mean that prices may suddenly soar on others. The received wisdom that produce that food that is in season is cheaper than food that is not and that loose produce is cheaper than pre-packed isn't always the case these days. Offers of 50% off are not always as good as they seem. So it seems well worth while carrying on.

If you have a moment let me know what you think of the blog - publically or privately (to fibeckettATliveDOTcom) Is it useful to you? Could it be more so? Are there any subjects you think I should tackle (I've had a couple of good suggestions recently). Just let me know.

And thank you all again for making the blog and the book a success


Gerrymh said...

I don't follow many blogs but was delighted to stumble upon yours. I can't remember how I found it now but it was a happy accident.
I totally agree with you that I, and many others, want to continue eating well but cut our costs at the same time!
I have found your writing informative and sympathetic! keep up the good work...

Emski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emski said...

(Removed earlier comment because of embarrassing mistake!)
I've been following your blog now for a couple of months and always find it full of interesting comment and ideas. It's also very warm and approachable, whereas I have found some other sites in the food blog sector a bit unapproachable... I hope The Frugal Cook will be around for a long time to come!

Barbara said...

I am overjoyed to find a blog which reflects my fervent belief in sourcing and cooking good food economically. Many of the skills you describe I learned from my mother and my grandmother (and I am very nearly 70!) I am not even very poor, but frugal food is for me a way of life. PLEASE continue as I love your blog

notSupermum said...

I found your blog when I started looking for ways to cut costs, and glad I did because I've really enjoyed reading it.

I've already made a couple of suggestions so I won't make any more, just keep up the good work!

Fiona Beckett said...

Many thanks all - will do my best to keep up the good work!