Friday, January 8, 2010

Eat From the Pantry Challenge...and Gracie

I was very proud of myself tonight -- the farmers fry we had for supper made good use of boiled potatoes, leftover ham, couple of mushrooms and half an onion, with ambrosia (cut-up orange and fresh 99-cent pineapple, with a shmutz of whipped cream) for dessert.

Still doing ok. Milk's getting low, but it's on sale for 99 cents at the local King Soopers all weekend!

A passage in Grace Livingston Hill's Patch of Blue keeps coming to mind. 'Gracie' was a wonderful, if occasionally corny spinner of frugal romances -- a rich person gets their comeuppance and has to go live on the same street as their laundrywoman (horrors!).  But then they scrub out the grubby house and make it look nice; get honest work (grocery store clerk, office secretary, whatever);  meet the girl/boy of their dreams and life gets all rosyfied. These are awfully fun to read when it's raining and dreary out, you've got a cup of hot tea and a fireplace to drink it by.

In Patch of Blue, one of Gracie's very best, Natalie (the poor-but-wonderful girl) has just gotten a job. She and sister Janice have to keep things going for their sick mother. They "set their meager array of eatables out grandly, apportioning them for each day of the week, jubilant that it was going to be possible to get through to the first payday:"
     What's for supper? "'Toast and tea and a cup of junket for Mother,' said Natalie...'creamed codfish on toast with a dish of dried apple sauce apiece [for you and me], and warmed over cocoa. We simply have got to hoard every crumb till next Saturday. Can you stand it, Jan?' she looked at her sister anxiously.
     "'Sure thing,' said Janice bravely...'Aren't I husky enough to survive a week of codfish and apple sauce?'
     "'We're eating the codfish to-night so we can have a meat ball apiece to-morrow,' appeased the sister.
      "'Noble sacrifice!' giggled Janice. 'On to the codfish! Let joy be unconfined! No sleep till morn while youth and beauty meet --' is that the way it goes?'"

Follow the link above -- and you can get Patch of Blue for only one cent on Amazon! April Gold, Crimson Roses and Homing , some of Gracie's finest in this style, are only a penny, too.

Hill actually went through a period in her life when she was broke and hungry. Her pastor husband died suddenly; Grace and her young children were forced to leave the parsonage, with no income or prospects. She began writing novels as a way to survive. Every time she lived on shredded wheat crackers and a bottle of milk, every bowl of bean soup she ate, every meal gone without, every hem fixed or skirt reworked show up clearly. She wrote what she knew.

Here's to hoarding every crumb till next month...but I think I'll skip the codfish.

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