Hodge Podge Bit day by June McInnes
Bit day, it used to strike fear in some hearts and joy in others when I was a kid.
That was the day that your mum or gran or whoever did the cooking in your house would if you had one, clean out the fridge and concoct a meal from said treasures.
If you didn’t have a fridge then the pantry, wherever you kept your food.
It could be anything that went into that pot and usually came out as stew or a pie filling of some sort. My dad, didn’t like curry, so it was stew, usually with, if we had it a tin of stewing steak, thrown in at the last minute, so as to disguise the rest of the food.
Maybe add a few tinned carrots or fresh if you had any left kicking around.
Fresh food wasn’t always available like it is now for me as a kid and although my mother was an excellent cook, we had to resort to the can opener when things got sparse to liven things up a bit, or stretch them further.
Being thrifty was always on the cards growing up and nobody could make things go around or farther than my mum. She used to say that, “necessity is the mother of all invention,” and she’s right. If we couldn’t buy something we needed, we’d try to make it, both my parents were like that, but then they’d been through the Second World War where you couldn’t just nip to the shops and load up on groceries if you had the money and the mind set. My mum used to knit clothes for me as a child and socks for my dad and jumpers, she would make jams and chutneys, bake cake and pies. If we had the ingredients.
I owe everything I learnt about being thrifty to my parents. Thank you Mum and Dad.
Today I still do these things for my family. I get a kick out of making it and feel I’m earning my keep, but I’m lucky I’m at home and not out to work.
Bit day still exists in our house, the only difference is we like curry and I won’t waste anything we can’t eat, I bake it into dog biscuits, they love my home-made dog biscuits.
Potato cakes were a thing in our house, that’s when you knew it was the end of the month, that or bubble and squeak, a mixture of cold, boiled cabbage and boiled potatoes, chopped up. Seasoned with pepper and salt and browned in a skillet, served with a couple of eggs or cheese grated on top then broiled to melt the cheese or even with pickles and cold meat if you had any. It greatly depended on what you had left to go with it. I still love bubble and squeak to this day, so does the family.
Bubble and squeak
1 green or white cabbage, cooked and chopped 3lb of peeled, boiled and drained potatoes, cut into pieces Salt and pepper to taste.
Cooking spray or cooking oil for the skillet
Mix the cabbage and potatoes together, season with the salt and pepper.
Place skillet on the stove and add a little oil to fry this mix.
This mix can be fried as a whole or made into patties by adding an egg and stirring it in. Forming patties with your hands and frying them off individually. I only add an egg when I’m making individual ones.
They go well with cold meats or eggs, even cheese. They freeze well and can be microwaved under cling wrap to reheat.
A little bit of frugality for today :). Incidentally, don’t forget to squeeze the cabbage after you drain it, to remove excess water, otherwise your patties might be a bit wet and not bind together so well. If your pan frying it, cook until there are brown crispy bits on the potatoes. Like when making hash browns. Bacon is another favourite with this.
Bit day wasn’t always a bad day in our house, happy eating.