This week’s Tough People Smart Money recipes are from
Sharon Hathaway, who teaches family and consumer science (home-ec) at Leavitt
Area High School in Turner.

In the fall she teaches “Money,” a class
where high school students learn about managing their own money.

One big
lesson she shares with students is how much they can save if they make their own
food instead of buying out. Hathaway practices what she teaches, sharing cooking
duties at home with her husband.

But she didn’t grow up cooking. “My
mother hated cooking.” Her interest in meal preparation began simmering when she
was in college. “What I really liked was the science in cooking, what happens
when you mix things together.”

The mother of three grown children,
Hathaway is also a grandmother and great-grandmother – Hathaway is

What she cooks “depends on what I’m willing to spend. I won’t
pay $10 for steak for the two of us. I just won’t. So we don’t have steak. … I
hate to pay more than $2.50 for the both of us for protein. That’s pretty
cheap,” Hathaway said.


There’s a lot you can do even within that price
range, she said. “And in general Americans overeat protein.”

Her mother
grew up during the Great Depression. “The depression made a huge impression on
the lifestyle I grew up with,” she said. “My mother and father were very frugal.
They didn’t use credit. You saved money then bought something when you had

One way she saves is through her vegetable garden. Her recipes
rely heavily on the quarts of tomatoes she cans.

Compared to canned
tomatoes in the store, “the taste is night and day,” she said. Not only is she
saving, she’s eating healthier. She doesn’t add salt to her canned

“When I run out of home-canned tomatoes and have to buy some,
it’s a sad day.”

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