How to adapt to Frugal Caribbean Cooking
Frugal Caribbean cooking is adaptable and easy to follow. Before diving into the Caribbean way of cooking, let’s define Frugal Cooking. Frugal Cooking is described as simple, every day and cost effective meals. Being frugal is to be able to stretch your budget. Why do we need to create a budget?
A budget helps us stay on track of our spending. It keeps our head above the murky waters, the danger zone, the road to stressful days.
What is Caribbean Cooking?
My definition of Caribbean Cooking is, cooking delicious budget friendly meals. Creating delicious meals can scare anyone if you are unsure of yourself. In the Caribbean, many meals are prepared with simple everyday ingredients. These ingredients are a staple in our culture.
Similar to many other countries, rice is commonly eaten in the Caribbean. Foods such as corn, millet, potatoes, yam, plantains, and cassava are found on many dinner tables.
The first dish I learned to cook was Rice and Beans. The perfect side dish to serve with any meat, poultry or seafood dish, ask any islander and they will be in agreement. Although many enjoy a nice bowl of white rice, adding beans, peas and even vegetables is a common way to consume rice.
What is Frugal Caribbean Cooking?
Frugal Caribbean Cooking is simple, every day and costs effective meals. Being frugal is to be able to stretch your money. It is alway easy to say that you want to save more money and also challenging to change your old spending habits to new frugal spending habits.
We all struggle with planning meals on a budget. Frugal cooking requires planning. It does not so much involve a budget. It involves the way you want to eat. If you want to eat caviar every night, be ready to spend money. Incorporating Frugal Caribbean Cooking in your lifestyle is not difficult.
Let me share a secret with you! Caribbean people love cooking with fresh ingredients. Yes! It is that simple. We love buying certain food items and ingredients in bulk because we always think that we are feeding large crowds.
When buying fish and seafood, why would you go to your monger and buy let say a whole snapper at $5.99 the pound whereas the snapper fillet is $7.99 the pound? In my opinion, it does not make sense. You are only paying more because of fish fillets. I think it is time to learn how to fillet our own fish.
Avoid thinking that the Caribbean eat different types of food. Have you noticed many recipes are similar in preparation and ingredients? Rice is rice everywhere; chicken is chicken everywhere; pasta is pasta everywhere; so forth and so on. We may have different names, but the ingredients are still the same. Let me refresh your memory on the Caribbean Cuisine. Check out these two articles, Discover the National Dishes of the Caribbean and Discover the Caribbean Islands.
Here are a few things to know about Caribbean food:
- Caribbean foods are cooked with spices and ingredients found in the region. Import has allowed Caribbean people to create foods in their own taste, with their own spices and ingredients.
- Several of our dishes are budget meals and aren’t difficult to make. For example Rice and Beans or Chicken with Peppers and Onions.
- Many of our dishes also take a long time to cook because we love adding different types of vegetables in our vegetable soup or stew. Are you thinking about White Rice served with Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Watercress?
- We may cook cheap meals, but they are not boring. They are delicious because we love using fresh spices and herbs versus store bought spices and dried herbs that may lack aroma and taste. We love making our own blend of spices and herbs.
We may at times cook a duck, for a special occasion, or just for the heck of it. Or if the price is right, why not? We splurge during the holidays.
I believe many of us are frugal by nature. We are spoiled because of “frozen ready meals” available at supermarkets. Have you looked at their labels lately, the nutrition facts?
Why are you torturing yourself? Why do you keep finding excuses not to cook? When was the last time you went shopping and filled up your refrigerator with healthy foods?
Check out my Caribbean Frugal Guide. It has a lot of useful information to help you make the right decision when shopping. Check out our recipes section, you will notice that the dishes are prepared with simple everyday ingredients.