False friends: five mistakes Russians make when buying food

by time news

We analyze the cost of dumplings, sausages and concentrate for soup

Over the past year and a half, many have adapted to live in a crisis, while others are only trying to build a family budget according to new rules – and not always successfully. The old wisdom says that cheaper does not always mean more profitable, and this principle also works in the kitchen. “MK” recalled the 5 most common mistakes that Russians make in pursuit of economy in food – and offered 5 non-obvious alternative scenarios on how to organize a diet cheaper, tastier and healthier.

In 2021, we found ourselves at a crossroads – many grandmothers who had kept recipes for delicious and cheap dishes all their lives have already moved away from kitchen affairs, and young housewives understand the principles of saving in their own way. Therefore, many ideas that 30-40 years ago seemed the most natural in the world (for example, 5 dishes from one chicken), today are perceived as a revelation. And vice versa – things that objectively have never been cheap, for some reason have become a symbol of total economy. For example:

Instant noodles… Thanks to anecdotes and memes from social networks: curly Chinese or Korean noodles, colloquially called “bum-bag”, have become a symbol of pathological economy on food. Also, recipes with tips on how to make these noodles prettier are scattered across the Web: for example, do not pour boiling water, but bake in the oven under a cheese crust, mix with mayonnaise … Not really! The average cost of such noodles is 40-50 rubles per serving.

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An alternative is baked potatoes. The fastest way is to bake it in the microwave, then the process will take no more than 10 minutes. Two large potatoes are enough for any person to get enough. The cost of this lunch will not exceed 10-15 rubles, and the body will receive the same carbohydrates as from noodles, but potatoes are healthier – they contain antioxidants, vitamins C and B, flavonoids.

Sausages with pasta… This symbol of the marginalized in the kitchen was formed many years ago and continues to live with us, stubbornly ignoring the obvious facts: the economic situation in the country is changing, and the phrase “They eat sausages with pasta!” already does not in any way indicate a deplorable state of affairs. Rather, the opposite is true. The average cost of good sausages is 500-600 rubles per kilo (15-20 sausages), and to achieve a feeling of satiety, an adult needs to eat 2-3 sausages. A package of pasta is enough for a family of 4 for one dinner.

An alternative is inexpensive meat: for example, pork shoulder (about 300 rubles per kilo), which is easy to stew with the addition of vegetables. Onions, carrots, inexpensive red peppers, or frozen green peas, for example, add volume to the dish and provide a 3-4 day supply of food.

Purchased dumplings… And the point is not that they are being “shoved for God knows what.” Although this is the same: if decent meat is “shoved” there, dumplings will cost about 700 rubles per kilo. For comparison, for the same money on the market you can buy veal tenderloin, the most expensive type of meat. Well, cheap dumplings really do not have a good composition. An alternative is raw minced meat from a mixture of beef and pork for 350 rubles (cooked on the market in your presence), a kilogram of which is enough for 15-20 cutlets or meatballs, a large casserole with potatoes, a preparation for a casserole of naval pasta, etc.

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Ready soups… The variety of semi-finished products also creates the illusion of economy. Borscht concentrate – 250 grams for 100 rubles – looks like a pretty good buy, but can the same be said about the simplest chicken soup? An alternative is to buy at least the cheapest chicken (not pre-cut pieces!) At a price of about 300 rubles per carcass, cut out the back with leftover meat and get a natural collagen-rich chicken broth, moreover, a large saucepan. Well, the remaining chicken will not disappear: it is easy to make cutlets or chops from the breasts, bake the chicken legs and wings in the oven, and the meat remaining from the back after cooking is used for salad, filling for pies or pancakes. By the way, in the total economy mode, you can cook broth even from chicken “fingers”, that is, the extreme and thinnest phalanx of the wing.

Cheap vegetables “on their last legs”… There is an old proverb: “We are not rich enough to buy cheap things.” Another’s desire to save money is often used by unscrupulous sellers, especially in the markets. Bell peppers, eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes and other vegetables can often be seen for a truly charitable price, especially at the end of the season. The temptation to buy eggplants for only 50 rubles per kilo is great, but you need to be on the lookout. There is a great risk that at home, after taking apart the shopping bags, you will find that half of the vegetables are spoiled – they have begun to mold or rot, frozen, etc. The purchased vegetables will have to be sorted out, after which it turns out that for 50 rubles you bought not a kilogram, but only 400 grams of an edible product. So, wasn’t it easier to initially look towards a more expensive, but better quality product?

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