Thrift – a modern-day necessity?

Annie Joubert

Annie JoubertThrift – an old-fashioned word but a modern-day necessity?

I was chatting to one of my sisters over the weekend. She lives in South Africa so if we don’t skype each other we use Telestunt – calls are 3p per minute from/to a landline so we can have a good natter a couple of times a week for less than a pound!

Anyway, I asked her if she had any money-saving tips that I could include in my blog and she reminded me about when we were kids and how thrifty our mother was.

I didn’t have a shop-bought dress till I was 18 years old, but we three sisters had masses of clothes. All beautifully made by our tailoress mother who adapted a basic Vogue pattern and inserted clever detailing here and there, such as covered buttons on a shoulder or braiding round a cuff.

I remember saying to Alexis, my middle sister, that I would really love a dress with a shop label in it for my birthday. I think my sisters whispered to our parents because, to my absolute delight, I received a stylish winter suit with boutique labels in the jacket and skirt.

I cut these out when the suit had been worn to death and sewed both labels into my home-made frocks! I was a student then, lodging with 3 other girls and we used to borrow each other’s clothes regularly, so a label meant something even in those days.

I also remember how inventive our mum was with food, stretching a pound of mince (480g) to feed five people and the family dog. She used to mix a couple of tablespoons of oatmeal with it to bulk it out – we regularly enjoyed dishes such as cottage pie, barbecued beef burgers, chilli con carne, and moussaka.

Fast forward to 2011 and I’ve discovered soup! When my husband was undergoing radio-therapy treatment a couple of months ago, the radiologists stressed that my already-lean husband was not to lose weight because that would affect the important measurements/settings that pin-pointed where the radiation should attack the prostate cancer.

butternut squash soupGemma, MFC’s caring CEO, sent me a mouth-watering recipe for cream of butternut squash soup which was absolutely delicious and Alan devoured with relish.

Since then I’ve been soup making regularly and I can’t get over how easy it is using fresh ingredients – more nourishing and much cheaper than a tinned version.

Beetroot, carrot & ginger, broccoli & stilton, cream of celery, leek & potato have all emerged from our kitchen for my husband’s daily lunch, accompanied by fresh, seeded wholemeal rolls.

So home-made soup – good for the soul but better for the pocket!