The Womanly Art of Thrift

13 Jun 2007

I have just read two really interesting posts, one by Rhonda at Down to Earth and one by Natalie at Isabella in the 21st Century. They are both about taking the time to wisely provide for our households. I love the thought of a well stocked pantry plus having more put aside just in case.

I have a wonderful book called "The Harvest Pantry" by Barbara Beckett that is full of great advice and recipes to help you establish a plentiful and useful pantry.

She says" A well stocked pantry is a treasure trove of food delights and a joy to see: garlands of garlic and onions; cured ham and strings of sausages; spicy chutneys and fruit jams; pickled onions and fresh cheese; bags of peas, beans and rice; boxes of sweets and fruitcake."
She also says "Think of your pantry as a place of beauty...Take pleasure in looking at it and thinking of all the fine eating to come...A pantry can be an expression of creativity and love - love of food, and of friends and family who will share it with us."

A well stocked pantry makes cooking easier and it can also see you through lean times when shopping in the pantry is all you can afford. If you have managed to stock up on non perishables when they are cheap (if store bought) or plentiful ( if preserved from the garden) then you will never have to go without.

In "The Hard Times Handbook" by Keith and Irene Smith they talk about a family food stockpile which can be a survival kit in hard times. " It will get you through a temporary food shortage caused by illness, unemployment, transport strikes or petrol rationing. It's a hedge against continually rising food prices. It will save money if you buy food in bulk and it will expand the variety of meals you have on hand at short notice. It will save you many trips to the supermarket or corner store. "

I really believe this is a huge part of our job as homemakers, not just to do the weekly supermarket shop armed with our carefully thought out list ( ha, ha I never leave home without it, I just can't remember which pocket I put it in ) but to go that step further and truly provide for our families by thriftly and carefully building a useful and plentiful pantry.

Making the best use of seasonal gluts helps to tie us to the land and the seasonal changes, it gives a rhythm to our lives and those of our children. Sniffing out bargains to be squirreled away develops in us the womanly art of thrift and gives a greater level of security to our household.
Pop over to Natalie and Rhonda and see what they have to say plus Ann at Downshifting posted on this sometime ago and wrote some interesting things.

10 Responses to “The Womanly Art of Thrift”

  1. This is a really interesting post - thanks for doing it. I've been doing a bit of research into food during WWII and have found some really interesting facts, and I'm learning alot from the time.

    Although sparse in nature, the wartime diet would've been a healthier and more ecologically-sound one, especially when it comes to growing-your-own produce.

  2. Timely post for me, I'm getting myself organised for my monthly shop. I've been a little distracted lately and have let my pantry run down.

    cheers Lenny

  3. I loved this post and I'm going to link to it. Like you and Tash I've been thinking about the war-time attitude to waste. It's what we need now, to get our carbon emissions down,make do and mend, frugality as a patriotic act. I'm linking to this post.

  4. I'm here from Natalie's blog....This was excellent, thank you! (o:


  5. Hello,

    This post seems like an appropriate one for me to thank you for all the inspiration months of reading here has given me. I'll be trying my hand at making jelly for the first time in my life. If it goes well, this could be the beginning of a new tradition in my household.

    The lamb we ordered from a farmer has been slaughtered and will soon be in my freezer. There is nothing like mint jelly to accompany roast leg of lamb.

    If the jelly-making goes well I will post about it.

  6. Hello Jenny, I was wondering why my visitor numbers jumped overnight. Your post is the reason. Thank you.

  7. Hi Jenny,

    This was such a wonderful post! Its really inspired me. My favorite part was ""Think of your pantry as a place of beauty...". I dont know how we've come to think we must find beauty in just things of "art" rather than simply art and beauty in real everyday things...



  8. A typically inspiring post. You have the knack of saying what I incoherently think! Probably you've come across "The Tightwad Gazette".

  9. What a wonderfully inspiring post -thank you so much. Would you mind if I linked to this post from my blog? Also, where did you find that wonderful 'consumer pledge' in the last photo. I always enjoy reading your blog, you have such wonderful things to say.

  10. I love your ideas on this post, and we try to live this way ourselves. We have 4 and almost 5 children and people always wonder how we do it-feeding them, etc. on one modest income. Well, the answer is we always shop sales, buy in bulk, bottle jam and applesauce in season. We try to keep at least a 3 month supply of food on hand, and are working on having a full year's supply on hand to have in case of emergencies. It's a comforting feeling to know that you always have food in the pantry, if your money is running low that week, or some unexpected expense comes up, or you're just plain busy! You'd be amazed at how cheap things like grains and beans can be when bought in large amounts. You can buy 50 lbs of wheat for what you would spend on 3 loaves of bread bought at the store!That's not to say I never buy any convenience food at all, but we try to make homemade as much as possible. Gardening is the next project we need to work on doing more of.
    I'm so glad I found your blog, I love to read about old-fashioned and thrifty homemaking ideas, and great recipes too! And I really love al of your old posters, they're so much fun to look at.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.