poor people food.

Lately, I've been trying to make simpler food. I'm doing it for all the usual reasons, to save time, to save money, to build up a repetoire of dishes that save time and money. Luckily for me, Josh really responds to this kind of cuisine. We call it "poor people food." Poor people have never had much time or money, so there is a long and rich history of making really tasty food with neither. Once the rich people allowed them to learn to read and write, the poor people thoughtfully wrote down these recipes and shared them, so now even us middle-class people can benefit from their knowledge.

Last month, I wanted to make a Mardi Gras meal, a simple one. That's another thing that Josh loves - cajun and creole food. It's the seafood and the spice. There were plenty of recipes out there to choose from, many of them complicated. But I found one that seemed easy enough, and I already had all the ingredients waiting for me in my pantry or fridge.

Andouille Sausage Creole
Cheesy Creole Grits

Simple is right. This whole thing took about an hour from start to finish, and that includes chopping time. Oh, and it was really amazingly delicious. This meal instantly became a new favorite in the house.

But, Sandra!, you say. Andouille sausage is not cheap. How can this qualify as poor people food? The thing about making poor people food from other locales is that some of the ingredients which are common and inexpensive to them might be sort of exotic to you. I happened to have some andouille sausage that I had bought (on sale, with double coupon) hanging out in the freezer. Now it's all gone, because I made this dish again last week and used up the last bit of it. While I will still clip coupons and look out for the sale, I don't think this dish requires fancy sausage with a french name.

In fact, I would argue that the dish doesn't require sausage at all. You could substitute any ole meat (or even faux-meat?) in this dish. Brown a little ground beef with some spices, grill some chicken and cut it up, throw in some shrimp. I dare one of you to try it with hot dogs. I think this dish is probably pretty versatile in terms of what you can put in it, which is another hallmark of poor people food. Poor people make do with what they have.

One more thing - do not underestimate the cheesy grits. A lot of the spice and all of the cheese lives in the grits. To not include that would take away a lot of yum. But if you hate good food grits or if you just don't have any around, then you could probably use rice instead. Make do if you have to, but do make this food.

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