There's a (small) part of me that is enjoying the food price rise. It's the part that came out during grad school and learned how to feed a household cheaply and nutritiously. There's something very satisfying about a process like this:
1. Look at the tin of steel-cut oats on the shelf in the breakfast aisle. Unit price: $5.54 a pound.
2. Look at the cellophane wrapped package of steel-cut oats an aisle over in the baking section. $2.89 a pound.
3. Find the bulk steel-cut oats in yet another section. $1.29 a pound. Bingo!
Yep, that's right. The exact same food for three separate prices in the same store, depending on the packaging/marketing. Similarly, sesame seeds are more expensive if you buy them in the "ethnic" section than in the spices. Cheaper yet if I can find a store that also sells them in bulk. The store labels that tell you the unit price are more often than not your friend.
Lentils + an onion + some cumin/red pepper, over brown rice, and maybe a dollop of plain yogurt on top? Dinner for both of us, under five bucks. A big bag of frozen peas plus more of the omnipresent onion, a little cardamom, and some splurgy but organic chicken broth = at least two dinner's worth of gooood pea soup. Bean burritoes are inexpensive- even more so if I get some of the produce this weekend at the farmer's market, to the point where I can get some cheap monterey jack at Trader Joe's to fill it out, with salsa and more of that yogurt sour-cream-substitute on top. Ahhhh, angel-hair pasta on sale for a dollar a box, time to stock up. That with some of the produce will make a lurvely pasta primavera. Bread? I've got ozarque's fabulous no-knead bread recipe, and that's a lot cheaper (and fresher) than a loaf of artisan bread. Factor in some TJ cheddar and a stray bottle of beer and I've got welsh rarebit makings.
Yes, meat's lacking there, but a few cheap meals helps fund the occasional Copper River salmon splurge. Do we -need- to be eating on the cheap? Not at the moment, but will eating lower down the food chain hurt us, after all? I don't think so. And I like fine-tuning my food budgeting skills.
What are your favorite on-the-cheap recipes?