I don't understand how that can be enough sauce for two meals plus the 2 Tbsp. 6 oz tomato paste + 2 cups water = less than 3 cups of sauce, right? My family eats almost 1 cup of sauce per person, per meal. I like the idea of using the sauce jar rinse water to steam vegetables! I'll have to try that. You might enjoy my index of spaghetti sauce recipes. I make it a little differently every time, depending on what vegetables we haveBecca's curiosity strikes at something I've known for a while but have been unsure how to articulate. Frugality isn't just a matter of what you buy and how you prepare it, it is also a matter of consumption. Let's use this as an example.
I'm not saying that I'm frugal and Becca isn't. On the contrary, I've learned a lot from Becca's blog, The Earthling's Handbook. Rather, it's a difference in priorities and viewpoints. Judging from her comment, Becca and I think differently about the role of tomato sauce at the dinner table. These are not earth shattering matters of principle or priorities of any great importance, but they are differences that result in differing levels of consumption of a given item. Those differences translate into differing meal planning, shopping, and cooking habits and differences in spending.
First, Becca is right that two cups of water and six ounces of tomato paste would make less than three cups of sauce. However, I end up with around four cups of sauce because I rely on the bulk added by the onion. If I also use a bell pepper, the yield is even greater.
Second, how much sauce do we consume in a meal? Becca estimates about one cup per person, while I probably use about half that for an adult. Here is a difference in perspective. Spaghetti night at my house is a light meal night. Either we each have a bowl with toast on the side, or I serve it on half a salad plate and salad, broccoli, or peas on the other half. For many, spaghetti is a comfort food served in large quantities. For my family, it is a good option for a light meal midweek.
Another possibility is that Becca serves twice as much sauce for the same amount of pasta. It is tempting to put a lot of sauce on the pasta, especially if you want to maximize the vegetable content of a high carbohydrate meal. Perhaps Becca makes chunkier sauce than I do, but I don't like it when a bunch of sauce winds up in the sink because it fell through the spaghetti. For me, about half a cup of sauce per adult serving is fairly easy to eat with one person's worth of pasta, and about a quarter to a third of a cup per child's serving. If we are eating small servings and a side dish, then it's closer to a third cup per person.
For the sake of generalization, we'll say that a spaghetti dinner for my family of five uses a little less than two cups of sauce. It is worth noting that my sons are 5, 3, and 1.5, and that they each eat about the same amount.
The amount of sauce that I consider a serving is also based on making sauce from scratch. When starting with tomatoes, I find that one Roma tomato per person is a fairly reasonable assumption. It certainly would be if you were serving sliced tomatoes as a side dish. If you add to that one tomato part of an onion and perhaps part of a pepper, you have a pretty reasonable vegetable side. And if you cook those three things into a chunky sauce, the result will be around half a cup at most, and the lost volume is water and air.
Again, none of this is to say that Becca is wrong. She does what makes sense and works for her family, just as I do for mine. Streamlining expenses involves figuring out what will work best right now and going with it. A lot of waste results directly from doing things that don't work well for you or don't work well right now. As we evaluate ideas, it can be important to bear in mind the things that already work. When what is already successful conflicts with ideas being suggested, the suggestions may well not work for you.
This post has been linked to WFMW, Hip Homeschool Hop, Busy Monday and MYHSM.