Something I do not really grasp is why “smart price” and similar product ranges aren’t popular. There seems to be a perception that they’re inferior products and carry shame with them. There’s also this strange notion many seem to have that they “deserve” better which manifests it in feelings of personal failure if they cannot afford to waste money on premium branded products.

To me food is food. If I can get it cheaply then I have more money free for other things such as creative supplies or savings.

For example lasagne plates, or whatever the pasta sheet things are called. I never buy anything but the cheapest ones as I cannot see what more they could contribute to the meal. My lasagne already turns out so amazingly well as to necessitate massive over production. That’s a fancy way of saying one tray is never enough to sate gluttony resulting from the deliciousness. I usually cook two or three trays of the stuff at once.

Similarly if possible I buy the cheapest mince. It’s mince, not steak. It’s going to mostly take on the flavour of things around it or be paired with seasonings that will make it wonderful. I’ve had people sneer at me choosing to buy it from Lidl but to date I’ve not made anyone ill with my cooking. Fat, maybe (try to resist having another portion, I dare you), but not ill.

There are of course things that I avoid buying the cheapest of – bin bags for example, but usually I find that it’s simply a matter of understanding what one gets for the price. The flimsy bin bags are fine for some jobs but not for others. Sometimes that’s what one wants, other times something much sturdier is required.

If I can save a few pounds here and there and put that money towards herbs and spices instead then that seems like an excellent course of action to me. The best bacon I can think of is some of the cheapest stuff from Lidl.

Lastly I wanted to say that much like looking after a Merlin is harder than a Harris Hawk making a smaller portion tasty is harder than a bigger one. A big batch of chilli can have some wonderful depth to its flavour and there’s room to experiment. By contrast a small batch can be ruined by a few too many shakes of salt.

Wherever possible make a big batch and portion it out. That way you’ll have your own ready meals in the freezer and plenty for now.

Nom appetite.

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