Belmont Club

Hard times

Glenn Reynolds notes that for some at least, a home-cooked spaghetti meal costing $35 for 4 people is eating on a “shoestring”.

(CBS) Amanda Freitag is all about feeding the family. She’s executive chef at The Harrison, in Manhattan’s trendy Tribeca neighborhood. Freitag treats guests to an inspired New-American menu that tourists and New Yorkers alike can’t seem to get enough of.

As The Early Show Saturday Edition’s “Chef on a Shoestring,” Freitag sought to take a traditional, three-course spaghetti dinner and give it a little twist any family would love – on our new, lower, recession-busting budget of $35.

Of course the menu — “Beet Salad with Crushed Pistachios & Soft Goat Cheese, Lamb Ragu with Rigatoni and Fresh Ricotta and Greek Yogurt with Blood Oranges, Honey & Mint” just exudes excitement. And since ‘excitement’ is at the heart of eating out, the Frugal Cook describes the thrill of opening canned spaghetti at home.

Recently, I decided to look at whether spaghetti sauce is cheaper from scratch or from a can. … At Winco Foods, I bought 26.5-ounce can of Del Monte Mushroom Spaghetti Sauce for 78 cents. At most stores, in fact, I can find canned spaghetti sauce for one dollar or less per can. For comparison purposes, I also purchased one 14-ounce can and one 8-ounce can of tomato sauce, and one four-ounce can of mushrooms (stems and pieces). This came to over a dollar – and that doesn’t even include the onions, herbs and spices that I already had at home.

In terms of price alone, the canned spaghetti sauce is obviously the better buy. But for me, there’s more to it than that.

Maybe there is more to it than that; and not just the taste difference either. Once upon a time meals at home were not just about saving money; they were about dining among those you loved in a place the winter winds would never reach. So whether it is Lamb Ragu with Rigatoni, spaghetti out of a can or something made up by the shaky hands of mom or dad, maybe its the sound of the shoes and not the shoestring.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.