My maternal grandmother was born on Christmas Day, and so was named Noelly.
She passed away about two years ago.
She wasn't a fantastic cook, but she did successfully feed 4 children and 8 grandchildren, sometimes all at the same time, and she did this with very little money.
Thinking back now on breakfasts where I had to swipe the last piece of toast before another cousin woke up, or on dinners that were obviously a mix of the previous 2 or 3 dinners' leftovers, I have come to understand that my grandmother was the ultimate frugal cook. I wish that I had discovered my financial sensibilities (or my relatively recent interest in cooking) long before she died. I would have liked to have shared with her the recipes I am discovering on frugality blogs, and environment-friendly cookbooks.
I'm guessing she may have rolled her eyes at some and point out the obvious: that she had been cooking these dishes for years, and not for some noble cause, but rather out of what she had available to her. But there are many ideas that I think she didn't think of, and I would have liked to have had the chance to mull over with her the pro's and con's of the (incredibly cheap meals you can make with a) crock-pot, or the cool idea of using day-old cooked rice as the bottom pastry layer of pot pies.
Well, for all of the conversations I didn't have with her, and on the eve of my grandmother's birthday, here is proof of the conversations I did have with her. While my cousin collected these recipes (written in my grandmother's hand), I do remember watching, and sometimes helping, her make every single one of these recipes many, many times.
Happy birthday, Grandma! I miss your rice and hope to taste it again someday.
PS. Click on each image to get a close-up look at the recipes.