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Lost skills and a tight budget

We are at the end of a golden age when our standard of living allowed us to buy our food either fully cooked or at least with most of the preparation done already. We were willing to pay that little bit extra for the spare time it gave us. What we didn't notice, was that our kids lost the home skills that our parents taught us - the art of preparing and cooking our food. At the end of this year students will graduate from school being able to solve quadratic equations, recite the periodic table, conjugate verbs and know what the legislative assembly does but cannot cook themselves a different meal for each day of the week.

Chef and bad bread

Today most young people have no idea what's really in their food. If they read the label and knew what's in it they probably wouldn't eat it.

Now the age of prosperity is drawing to a close. Although hourly pay rates are high, we have created a new social class - the "Underemployed" - people who earn a good hourly rate but don't have enough hours of work to earn enough to survive. In the developed countries, manufacturing jobs are vanishing as businesses relocate their production overseas, in developing countries where labour is cheaper. Technology has reduced the number of jobs that require human hands and it all adds up to the end of a prosperous era. Many struggling families are looking for ways to cut costs and it's the food bill that usually gets cut.

Peperoni salami

Home cured Pepperoni Salamis are a lost art today. Tomatoes were sun dried or bottled. Fruit was bottled while it was in season or made into jam. Today we pay someone to do all this for us.

You can reduce the household food bill without sacrificing nutrition if you simply use less processed foods and do a little of the processing yourself. Recently we had some friends visit and they were fascinated when I made some stuffing, rolled a roast of beef for dinner and used the left over stuffing to stuff some capsicums to roast with the roast - all skills that have almost vanished today.

I was talking to a takeaway shop proprietor who was saying his profits were down on previous years even though he was still serving the same number of customers. Customers who used to come in and buy fish with chips, were often just buying chips now.

Have a look around you, the cheapest food is usually the highest in starch, fats, salt and sugar - all the foods blamed for obesity. Obesity, once the symbol of opulence, has become the modern symbol for poverty.

In Australian secondary schools today, our graduate students can do all sorts of complex tasks but can not cook themselves a nutritious balanced meal unless it comes out of a packet. Add to this, the fact that full employment is becoming a rarity, household energy costs have soared over 300% (and are are projected to do so again) and many homes are facing a financial crisis. As a result they are cutting back on food, where they could save even more money if the simply bought less prepared food.

Another way to cut costs is to buy the cheaper cuts of meat. They are just as nutritious as the top priced cuts. Unfortunately few people know how to cook them these days, that's where we come in. You won't find recipes for eye fillet or T-bone steak here.

Supermarket aisle

Have we lost the art of preparing our own food and become slaves to packeted processed foods ?

In Australia the average family spends around a third of their food budget on snack foods, most of which are mainly carbohydrates, sugars and fats. For families with children, this rises to 50% of the food budget!

We are constantly being told that too much sugar and fats are bad for us. Unfortunately that's only part of the story. What they are not telling you, is that starches (like you get in flour, potatoes and rice) is actually the way a plant stores excess sugar and when we digest starch, our digestive system breaks it back down into sugars again, mainly glucose. For more on this see the Storing Glucose page in the Nutrition Section. We store excess glucose as fat. The simplest starch is made up of 22 glucose molecules. Put another way, a teaspoon of starch can be equivalent to 22 teaspoons of sugar!

One of the major factors contributing to the obesity epidemic is our modern Western diet, full of highly processed foods rich in starch or carbohydrates. But you can eat well on a tight budget, if you know how to cook the cheaper cuts. 500 grams of blade steak is just as nutritious and 500 grams of eye fillet, but costs around a third of the price.

Separator bar with green apple

In the Kitchen

At Kitchen Headquarters we take a practical and holistic approach to cooking healthy natural foods in your kitchen, that won't break the bank. There are a lot of web sites that have recipes but very few that cover the basics and explain why we do things that way we do!

We also cover things like preparation and general kitchen techniques. Have a look at our new section - "Using herbs and spices" for a foolproof process to make perfect asian dishes and fat free stews that don't taste like diet food. We even show you how to grow and dry your own herbs to keep the flavours in.


Povobruschetta - ideal food for hot weather

Today many of our foods are extensively processed with additives to enhance their shelf life, flavour, colour and reduce cooking time in today's bustling lifestyle, often at the cost of nutrition. Many of the basic culinary skills have vanished.

How many Mums today know how to cook beetroot and pickle it, make jam, jello or icecream with real fruit?

Nutrition - we go further!

We want our readers to not only prepare healthy food but to fully understand why it is healthy. Billions of dollars are invested by manufacturers every year to advertise their products, often overstating the health benefits and hiding the additives, toxins, carcinogens, excess salts, fats and sugars. We want our readers to be aware of the facts, supported by research, not urban myths, presented with the minimum of bias.

Coconut Palms

Indonesia's Lethal Food

Did you know that at least 1000 people die in Indonesia every year from falling coconuts?
Worldwide, they are more lethal than sharks.
A coconut can weigh 5kg and a coconut palm can be up to 30 metres tall.

Bluehost Web hosting advertisement and link

We've use and recommend Bluehost for web hosting (been with them since 2006). We receive a small commission if you sign up through us. This doesn't add to your fee but helps keep our sites running.

Bar - Gold bar with Granny Smith Apple

Shopping tips - get more for your dollar

Discover the sales gimmicks and tricks they use to pry that last dollar out of your hand when you go shopping. The trip home and the way you store your food can improve both the life and nutrition of your ingredients so we cover this as well.

Cut price quality ingredients

We show you how to preserve many of the gourmet ingredients you need when they are in season and at their cheapest. We look at sourcing ingredients from places other than the supermarket and even cover growing some ingredients at home.

Good food at home for less

Many young people today are not taught how to cook and suddenly find themselves dependent on takeaways and restaurants. Many of the recipes here are very basic for this group of people. Few food sites cater for this group. We also look at other ways to cook the cheaper cuts, for added variety, without breaking the bank, when you are on a low budget.

Knowledge Base

What started as a small venture has blown out of proportion. We have physicians, dieticians and researchers coming forward with arguments and ideas. We have kept to our promise and launched the web site but many articles that should have been a couple of pages long, have spawned many other articles. This site is a living and growing work and we ask you to keep this in mind as you view our pages: you are viewing a humble beginning that will grow each month. We'd love to see you coming back, staying with us as we grow.

The Products Section - Don't be fooled!

Our products section is not about selling you something. It's about getting the best deal you can, when it comes to purchasing products - including the grocery shopping you currently do at your local shops. That includes shopping tricks to help you keep your expenses to a sensible minimum, examples of scams and tricks that retailers and manufacturers use to give you less for more money and how they make use of retail psychology to separate you from your money. We do not accept commissions from manufacturers or suppliers for endorsements of products or ingredients mentioned on this site. We do not accept inducements for not mentioning products or services on this website either. We just tell it like it is.

Practical meals on a tight budget

With the Global Financial Crisis and declining employment, it's no use publishing recipes that require you to buy expensive exotic ingredients. Our meals are based on a tight budget. The few extras you may need will be used repeatedly so they won't go to waste.

Are you diabetic, overweight or suffering from heart disease?

We have the recipes, techniques and information that will help turn your condition around. Lets begin by understanding the relationship between starch, fat and glucose (the sugar you're told to avoid) Let's start to turn your condition around. Your condition is treatable and much of the damage can be undone. This isn't snake oil or magic beans, weare not selling anything - it is fact, backed by proper scientific research, confirmed academically qualified doctors.

Bar - Gold bar with Granny Smith Apple

Our Committment

We are contributors to the Open Source Community and all our sites are made entirely with open source software :

  • We use Ubuntu and Mint linux as operating systems.
  • Web design is done using Bluefish.
  • All graphics are done with The GIMP
  • Firefox and Chromium are our choice of web browsers.

We are committed to keeping the Internet free, affordable and out of the clutches of any monoply. It is a technological resource for all humankind, that's everyone in every country, not just a privileged few.

Basket of Fresh herbs

Go to:

Home Page
Nutrition Section
Recipes Section
Herbs and Spices
Products Section

Fruit Motif