Eating meat frugally
If you have been reading my blog for a long time you will know that Man Wonderful and I stopped eating meat as one of the ways to help us get to where we are today - living a debt-free life. (And each sacrifice was totally worth it.)
Now we can relax the restraints a little (oo-er missus), for the last three months meat has indeed been back on the menu.
Having not eaten meat products for so long it took some adjusting to.
Not just physically and mentally - although more on that later - but financially.
Yes, you can buy 'value' meat products, but actually we don't want to because of what is in them and how they came to be. (If you think a value burger contains 100% steak from an organic, field-roaming cow that is carefully left to fall gently to sleep before it is operated on carefully by a trained surgeon to not use any 'nasty bits': you are fooling yourself. nd others who you might be cooking for.)
As we are both careful about the choices we make (Mand Wonderful is in his 70s and I am disabled), I decided that before we began eating meat again that I would research how the animals are kept and slaughtered*, and which meats are the best for our bodies.
*(I won't go into the details here, but I do urge you to research this yourself if you are a meat eater.)
What I discovered completely influenced our choices.
So. Grass-fed free-range pork is on the menu, as is wild venison when it is in season. Eggs - free range too - and locally caught fish.
We are mentally fine with these choices.
Well, that is another ball game.
Having lived from a larder containing rice, GF pasta, fresh fruit and veg, beans and lentils - which is the cheapest way we could feed ourselves long-term - we needed to budget for our choice of meats.
Because we wanted the eggs to be free-range, this doubles the amount they cost.
Grass-fed free-range meat is expensive.
These costs add to our monthly food budget.
So how to eat meat frugally?
Quite simply, buy the best you can - and either eat small portions of the protein, or stretch it out with adding other things.
Here is an example:
This week we bought a gammon joint.
In the local supermarket it would have cost us around the £6 mark. It would probably have come from the EU and nobody could have told me where it was raised and lived. That pork could have travelled further than I have in years.
We went to the local farm shop.
We paid just under £12. The name of the farmer is displayed. It is within 15 miles from where we live. The pig was living outdoors and eating grass.
Today I boiled then roasted the joint, and it will be sliced thinly to accompany a deluge of steamed veg and roasted spuds.
Tomorrow it will be eaten sliced with salad, and I will make three meals from the rest - a pie filling with veg, a makhani curry (with veg) and a stew with the peelings and leftovers from todays' roast; to be slow cooked at a later date.
Five meals for four adults for £12.
Yes, I could have done the same with cheaper meat, but we would rather pay more to know (a) it was grass fed, organic and local and (b) it actually tastes of something, which much of this force-fed meat doesn't.
Do you eat meat?
How do you manage to buy and eat it frugally?