View Full Version : Frugality and . . . seafood?
I'll admit that I am relatively useless in the kitchen (except to keep it clean) and I am in awe of all the from-scratch good cooking that members of this site prepare on a daily basis. DH is an awesome from-scratch cook, and he loves me enough to keep me well fed, so all is good. But I notice that people talk about chicken and veggies and beef, but very little about seafood. Now in my personal food nirvana, there would be berries and seafood, and good artisanal bread - oh, and chocolate :)
I would gladly eliminate beef and poultry and pork from my diet if I could afford to replace it with seafood, but that would not be budget-friendly. So I'm curious - do frugal people not dig seafood? Does this make me a pariah in the frugal community? Must I hang my head and walk the clam flats alone? Or are there frugal strategies for seafoodies of which I'm unaware? I noticed that Amy D of Tightwad's only seafood inclusion was the occasional tunafish sandwich - and that barely qualifies IMHO. A few things we are doing: bag of frozen shrimp in the freezer, good with rice and asparagus for dinner, bag of frozen salmon filets from Costco in the freezer, good as a picata dish with pasta, or steamed with veggies and rice, or cheapest good Italian peasant dish of anchovies with angel hair pasta and garlic and oil. In my next life, I'm coming back as a lobsterwoman/carpenter/horticulturist! Lookout!;)
We eat seafood a couple of times a week, rosarugosa. It's one of our protein sources, in a house with a husband who doesn't eat pigs, cows, or birds :) Usually that consists of the frozen shrimp and fish that you mention, done up not as a huge main dish but sometimes as a portion (as in a szechuan stir-fry) or as a small entree (like cod piccata).
But about twice or thrice a month we have a nice piece of fresh, wild-caught Alaskan salmon under sorrel sauce, or some seared scallops with tarragon, or similar. It's a splurge, but we more than make up for it in other ways. Food is one of the few pleasures that hasn't gotten completely frugalized.
Plus, remember, frugality isn't about deprivation, it's about spending your money in line with your values. So if you love seafood and find the expenditure of life energy worthwhile to buy it, then no shame, no blame! :)
We are eating more and more seafood. I am trying to have more protein foods in my diet and have been really pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to prepare. It's just as easy and almost as fast to bake up a salmon filet as to make spaghetti. This is key for us when we are tired and fighting over who will make dinner.
Oh, we love seafood. Yes, we have the occassional tuna. But we also buy shrimp when it goes on sale (usually somewhere between $8 and $10 for 2 lbs). If I have shrimp around, I'll usually buy a few scallops, too, and make seafood pasta. DH loves crab and crayfish, so I do prepare those for him for special occassions sometimes.
We'd probably eat more seafood, but we live in the Midwest, and it isn't as readily available to us as would be for someone living in a coastal area. However, we are located by a lot of rivers, so we have easy access to catfish, trout, etc. which we also love.
It's just as easy and almost as fast to bake up a salmon filet as to make spaghetti. This is key for us when we are tired and fighting over who will make dinner.
So true, fidgie! Trout is actually one of my easy, go-to dinners. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle a little salt, pepper, lemon pepper (or lemon juice) over the top, and broil for maybe 5-10 minutes. Throw some frozen veggies in the microwave while the fish is cooking, and you have a healthy (and yummy!) dinner in no time.
We eat a great deal of fish. My husband would eat it for every meal if he could, eg kippers or smoked haddock for breakfast, smoked salmon sandwich for lunch and a hunk of something like monkfish tail or haddock or cod or salmon or trout (insert any fish here!) for dinner - with an occasional foray into crab, lobster, langoustines and mussels!
We certainly eat it about 5 times a week. In many cases it is more costly than the meat it replaces, but we think it is well-worth it.
I have never been a big fish eater. Though I do love a good tuna sandwich sometimes. But the last few months I have been making sure that we have seafood once a week. Usually choices are tilapia and salmon. It really is pretty quick to cook. And we really like shrimp.
One of our favorite fish dishes during this record hot summer is a cool Nicoise style salad. Little red potatos, green beans, tomatos, capers, olives, boiled egg with a fresh vinaigrette and chunks of seafood all on a bed of romaine lettuce. Sometimes we use canned tuna but you can also use fresh fish or even shrimp. It doesn't take much seafood with so many other ingredients. I even sneak in an anchovy or two.
The next thing I am going to learn to cook is fish! I always seem to overcook it and it takes like rubber. Therefore, we rarely have fish. I did find at a garage sale a Mark Bittman book on how to cook fish. I'll start when the weather cools. Hopefully, I can get some good ideas and learn the technique. sigh
I've done a fair amount of research on fish that is sustainably harvested as well as low in mercury and PCBs. We buy wild Alaskan salmon, farmed tilapia from the western hemisphere, and wild Pacific cod. A lot of frozen fish is shipped to China for packaging, even if it says "wild Alaskan" - it's important to check labels.
Fish, even when it's straight out of the freezer, is one of our quickest meals.
I love Nicoise salad! I love most seafood, actually, but yes, it's true that it doesn't really fit into my budget. Mind you, my budget these days is really tight, so it's about keeping us fed and healthy, period, so we eat a lot of vegetarian meals and supplement with the meat that my father-in-law compulsively buys on sale (it's a weird hobby of his) and whole chickens or pork shoulders that I buy on sale.
I agree that seafood is generally quick-cooking and a valuable part of the easy, homecooked meal arsenal, but, for the time being, it's mostly off our menu. However, if someone treats us to a meal in a restaurant, I almost always order seafood. Yum!
This week on sale I bought small pink salmons without head or tails. They were about $2.99 each. I can feed four people a single good sized serving from this. So I went back and bought 6 more and popped them in the freezer.
In the UK, I buy fish which may be seasonal, for instance, Cornish pilchards (now being re-branded as Cornish 'sardines'. They make an amazing grilled fish and are very cheap at the mo. I buy organically farmed mussels from Loch Fyne - not too expensive. I buy Icelandic cod as it's a bit cheaper than that landed by our own fishermen. Scallops, Langoustines and 'spoots' (as we call them in Scotland) aka razor clams. Not ALL fish is expensive!
Glad to hear there are other seafoodies about; now I don't feel so lonely :) We buy salmon products from Seabear in Washington. It is a bit pricey but we think it's worth it, and I recently got a 40% off everything offer, so I did some stocking up as well as a couple of upcoming gifts. The smoked salmon and ready-to-eat salmon pouches are perfect "fast food" meals when it is too hot to cook. Smoked salmon with bagels and cream cheese and cuke slices, tomatoes and capers - yum! I know they smoke & prepare all their stuff right there in WA and I believe they pack and ship it from there, but I am not positive. "Shipped direct to you" doesn't sound like someone else is packaging it.
Ishbel, I recently ate my first razor clams, and you'll be horrified (or amused) to hear that they cost me $3.00 each, but they were all prettied up and sushified. We were delighted at our frugal hotel deal for our weekend in Portland, but dinner at the Old Port Sea Grill cost more than our hotel room for the two nights. But we SO enjoyed every bite :) We don't eat out very often, and it's a good thing, because we're not cheap dates.
I do like Nicoise salad too. Don't know why we never do that at home.
Kally, nice score on the pink salmon!
There's a fabulous recipe on Epicurious.com for angel hair pasta in a sauce made with smoked salmon, lemon zest, capers, dill, and cream. Deadly good. Just sayin' ;)
3.00 dollars EACH for spoots? We pick ours at the beach!
You can always spot another 'fisher' - walking along with a tub of tablesalt in one hand... You see the bubbles where they are hiding in the sand on the shore. You sprinkle a good amount of salt in the hole and, like magic, up they pop like water from a drainpipe (a spoot, in Scots). You have to be quick to catch the little blighters though!
Originally posted by Fidgiegirl.
frugality isn't about deprivation, it's about spending your money in line with your values. So if you love seafood and find the expenditure of life energy worthwhile to buy it, then no shame, no blame!Ditto! Ditto! Ditto!
The trick is, so find a local place to fish, and bring in your own.
I bought a Bag 'O parts at the International store on Saturday. It was $2.xx and it contains 2" - 3" parts of sea creatures such as squid, bland white fish, fake crab meat, etc. So, that is frugal! The International store has so many wonderful kinds of flash frozen fish, most with their heads still on. Wish I knew what to do with all of those fish.
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