Weird Oklahoma Dust Bowl Recipes to Boost Your Budget

Weird Oklahoma Dust Bowl Recipes to Boost Your Budget

Over the course of just two weeks, my regular grocery shopping trip to the store went from $65 to $95 without getting the extra food I normally get. Simple things like bread, cheese, soda and some cheap cold case meats. It was as shocking to me as I expected it to be to you. The price of fuel has penetrated the kitchen.

Of course, my first instinct is to find ways to save money. Where I can buy in bulk, use a coupon app to save more, and reduce my weekly steak and shrimp dinner. It’s a huge disappointment, but I refuse to go into debt for food until the apocalypse.

Fortunately, there is an infinite resource for feeding a family on a dime thanks to elderly people on the internet. The kind of old people who’ve lived through the worst financial crisis this part of the country has ever seen, but still…

Fair warning, these quick weird recipes are pretty far out. They mainly focus on nutrition rather than taste… as you know, the healthier it is for you, the worse it tastes, but cheap food is still food. Let’s get in.

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    Like many plants out there, tumbleweeds are as edible as they are annoying. If you’ve ever spent time in the far western half of Oklahoma, they grow on the prairie as far as the eye can see.

    While there are many ways to prepare it, Tumbleweed soup and the like, it would probably taste best if jarred and pickled.

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    Popcorn & Milk

    While butter goes with popcorn like, well, butter on popcorn, many people made up for it by pouring milk over theirs. It was hugely popular and more than just a breakfast option, especially since popcorn is and remains so incredibly cheap.

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    Corned Beef Salad

    To get right to the unusual is corned beef salad, which happens to contain no beef. It’s just canned corn, peas, gelatin, lemon, and vinegar cooked until you can mold it. Although some people disliked this dish, it was cheap, nutritious and filling.

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    carrot marmalade

    One of the best ways to save money on food is to learn how to make things yourself. Instead of spending $5 on breakfast jelly, make your own for $50. As unappetizing as carrot jelly sounds, people swear it’s amazing. It’s also super cheap.

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    bacon fat

    This will probably mislead some people, but cooking with bacon fat is a pretty common Oklahoma thing. Although bacon has gone up in price, it is possible to find it cheap from time to time. I bought 6lbs of it at Sam’s on sale for $2.86/lb a few days ago. I cook mine in the oven so I can put that melted fat in a pot, and I turn around and cook all kinds of things with it later.

    It keeps well in the fridge and has a long shelf life in the freezer. I keep mine in glass jars and take out a scoop when I need fat for cooking. Plus, bacon is life and everything tastes great, like scrambled eggs.

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    It’s no secret that you can literally pick a salad from the average unkempt lawn, but did you know that dandelions are edible? This is a recipe I’ve had before… I have hippies in my family and they make everything into food.

    Here’s the shocker, if you like the dark leafy and bitter greens like I do, dandelions will be a treat as they are a bit on the bitter side. Add some cheese and a little homemade ranch dressing and you’re done. lovely.

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    All Oven dishes

    Chances are, if you’re from Oklahoma, the first thing that comes to mind when you see “casserole” is “funeral food.” That’s the traditional offering to a grieving family, but it’s also a great way to increase your food budget.

    Personally, I like making Denver omelet casseroles with bell peppers, onions, eggs and cheap cut up deli ham. It also keeps very well in the fridge during the week, especially in sealable containers that you can grab and take to work.

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    Depression Cake

    Although a cake without butter and eggs may not seem so strange these days, the trend started during the dust bowl. Water was used instead of milk, oil was used instead of eggs, flour and sugar were still cheap, and whatever spices you had, it became the flavor. It was revolutionary at the time, and if you’ve made a boxed cake in the last forty years, you already know how good it tastes.

    Sidebar: Want some really epic chewy brownies? Replace one of the eggs with oil… Sprinkle with icing sugar and enjoy.

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    Before you get terrified at the thought of eating something so cute, rabbit makes a great meal. It’s extremely lean, full of protein, and free if you lock them up in your own backyard. Keep in mind that it has a gamey flavor and they are best roasted and brazed in their own blood, the French way. Also not badly breaded and fried in bacon grease. That said, humans cannot live on rabbits alone. In fact, you can literally starve if you eat rabbit. They are just so skinny.

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    Everything in brine, even fruit

    Don’t waste, don’t want is the name of the game from the Dust Bowl era. If you wanted a seasonal crop to last much longer than is normally possible, you brine it. It works for just about anything you can imagine, it’s such an amazing process. This doesn’t mean you’re going to make it taste like a pickle, this is just how you make things last.

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    Cornmeal Mush

    Corn flour may not be as universal as wheat flour, but you can include it in so many different recipes for so little money…if you just buy stale cornmeal. Johnnycakes, cornbread, and if you’re brave enough to try it, the mixture of cornmeal and water that people called Cornmeal Mush… I’d try it, how bad can it be?

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    Bean soup

    The tastiest way to stretch your groceries and still get all that good nutrition into your family has to be homemade soups. You can literally throw anything into chicken, beef, vegetable or seafood stock and the end result will be amazing. Adding beans will help fatten up, plus they’re super cheap and nutritional.

    I’ll say it too… Beans belong in a real chili.

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