Friday, April 9, 2010

Penny Pincher's Cookbook

Don't you just love a cookbook that helps you save money and feed your family well?! I do! The Penny Pincher's Cookbook by Sophie Leavitt is a little, unassuming paperback that I probably picked up for a quarter at someone's garage sale. It was published by Lancer Books in 1971, with a second printing in 1973; it doesn't give an ISBN (I know, that makes the hunt more challenging...sorry 'bout that!).

Although you may have to look around some, this little book is worth your effort. Sometimes I read cookbooks that are so dry and precise that I wonder if the author is truly a home cook or if she just watches someone else cook. This author is the "real deal"; she gives a list of tips that sounds like your aunt telling you what to do in the kitchen. Tip 35: "Here's a tip on how to keep opened boxes of raisins or prunes: Put them in a screw-top jar. If raisins dry out, drop them in boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes, drain and dry." This is just one example of her how-to tips and bits of cooking advice.

Sophie Leavitt, although she writes this book in a kitchen table/cook's chat style, is well-qualified to dish out cooking advice. Mrs. Leavitt wrote this cookbook with the cooperation of the United States Department of Agriculture. It was based on her years of food experience as a consultant to the Department. She also served as a member of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health. She was at the top of the food chain on nutritional information in her day! As impressive as her background is, I think it says something great about the woman that her book dedication reads, "To my husband, Boris, who eats my cooking and likes it."

The recipes in this book are basic, homemade staple foods that hold our weekly menus together. The author supplies us with recipes for making our own baking mixes and our own cake flour. She provides many recipes using beans, lentils and rice; all money-stretchers for the home cook. The book also has lots of delicious, filling entrees including a Fat-Free Oven Fried Chicken recipe. There's Cornmeal Dumplings, Turkey Stew, Spanish Rice and a Bacon Dressing to pour over greens, just to list a few!

I have been buying the Walmart brand frozen French Toast Sticks for my son to grab in the morning for breakfast. He can consume a $3.00 box in two days! Thanks to this book, I've found a recipe to make my own and stash them in the freezer; thrift bread store, here I come!

Page 39 Coffee Bread Strips

Cut a whole loaf of uncut bread into thick slices, then cut each slice into 3 strips; or use sliced bread and cut each slice into 3 strips.
- Melt about 1/2 pound of butter or 2 sticks margarine, but don't brown or burn.
-Mix 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 or 2 Tablespoons cinnamon.
-Dip each strip into the melted margarine, then into the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
-Coat the slices well.
-Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake in 400 degrees (hot) oven until the bread is golden brown and crisp; it takes only a few minutes or so. (I plan to put these in freezer bags and he can pop them in the microwave in the morning-just like the store-bought ones!)

I will be at these great swaps today:



  1. Thanks for being a great contributor to Momtrends! Next month is food month and I've got lots of foodie ideas to share. Stay tuned!

    And for any other commenters--join the fun every Friday at

  2. Sounds like a great read. I will put it on my wishlist.