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Build a Frugal Pantry with Fat

Photo Source: Robert S Donovan

Cooking from scratch will save you money.
Recently, I went on a rather unorthodox shopping trip to Trader Joe’s and purchased a few ready-made items. We filled the cart with fun food, if you will, tortillas, french bread, hummus, and pesto. These are all things that I could make from scratch, but since we were splurging, we went for it. I’ll say!

The bill was about four times what I would normally pay for the raw materials. It hit home to me how much money we really are saving when I cook things from scratch.

If you’re going to cook from scratch, you’re going to need some fat.
Whether it’s baking, frying, dressing, or sauteing, fat or oil, even in a small amount, is necessary to add taste and texture to the foods you’re preparing. And although the US has gone lipophobic in recent years, it’s becoming a more accepted fact that your body does need fat. If your body doesn’t take in fat, it’ll make some of its own. Uh, no thanks.

There are all kinds of debates about which fats are “good fats.” Since I’ve read conflicting information and since I’m not a medical professional or a scientist, I’m not really going to go there in this forum. I leave that to your research and good common sense to decide. However, from a culinary stand point, I will say you need some fat. And I think nutritionists would agree on that point, at least.

I personally have been using butter, olive oil, canola oil, and coconut oils in my cooking and baking over the last few months. I find that a good price on butter to be less than $2 a pound. I can usually get 4 pounds for around $6 at Costco. Costco is also my best source for canola and olive oils, though the prices range. I haven’t yet found the best price on coconut oil, but I’m really liking it. (More on that later this week.)

These four ingredients work really well in my pantry. We use these fats and oils in differing ways, depending on the recipe. And using them sparingly really helps the budget as well.

What is your fat of choice and why?

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