The Great Depression Dinner Project

My twelve-year-old son has been learning about the Great Depression in history class. He and his classmates were tasked with the project of cooking a complete, balanced meal for their family with a total budget of $6.50. The only ingredients that didn’t have to figure into this sum were salt and pepper, and things the children or their families may have grown or hunted themselves. We went hunting and gathering at the local grocery store in the little town of Crozet.

As we approached the register, the cashier took one look at our purchases and said, “Everything has to be under $6.50 right?” The young men clustered around the register reminisced about the dinners they had made when they were at the same middle school.

As we strolled the aisles, I watched my son make some hard choices. He kept having to put back ingredients that he would have to forgo. Several times he had to substitute cheaper alternative ingredients in his effort to make it under budget. In the end, the grand total came to only $5.63!

Here’s the simple recipe he devised:

1 box of Farfalle
1 block Colby cheese
1 green pepper
2 cans of tuna

Boil farfalle. Chop green pepper into small bits. Drain two cans of tuna. Grate cheese. Add all ingredients together and bake in baking pan or dish at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

The real surprise was how delicious his dinner was. Everyone had seconds and even thirds, and there was even enough left over for my older son to take for lunch the next day.

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