Saturday, December 26, 2009

Frugal Food Tip: Pig out on Ham!

After my piece of cherry cream pie just now, I can hardly think about food, but I am willing to get past that   to bring you a money-saving tip!

My pig on a platter

Now is the time of year to stock up on ham, or "pig meat" as my two-and-a-half year old calls it. Our Safeway store has shank hams for .89 cents per pound. A half ham will cost between $6 and $8. I fully understand you probably don't want to cook a half ham several times a year. That's why you'll kindly ask your butcher if he could cut it up into ham steaks for you. I've never known one to say no (usually meat-cutting is an unadvertised courtesy).  Wearing perfume and lipstick before you ask will also help increase your odds. Just kidding (however, butchers may appreciate a whiff of a flowery smell). :)

When you get home with your ham steaks, you can package them up individually in freezer bags, or freezer paper. During a busy week, just grab one out of the freezer, cut it in large pieces (I usually take it in triangles but that's just me) and fry it up. So easy it almost makes me cry (except I don't cry easily, so nevermind).

Oh, the butcher will also give you the rump. You can use this for soup. When you do, make sure you don't leave your pot on the stove and head to the mall, thinking you'll be back in a half hour so you don't really need to add more water, but then several hours later, you arrive home, notice it smells like someone's roasting coffee, hear--from outside your house--your smoke detector sounding loudly (the one with issues), and realize you forgot all about your ham and beans. Which are now charred to the bottom of your Calphalon pan. Oh, and when you go to dump it out, don't dispose of it in your flower bed, thinking it will be good compost. The dog will just find it and eat it. And cleaning up the aftermath from that on the stairs as your dog tries desperately to make her way out in the middle of the night will really not be a very good thing at all. And you will just wish you would have added more water and turned the heat down. Or better yet, turned the stove off when you left the house.

So go get yourself a pig at these prices, but do be careful cooking ham and beans!

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