What’s the Most Frugal Cuisine?

arktos wonders which cuisine gives the most bang for the buck in terms of flavor, and nominates Mexican as the winner: "you can feed a family with only a chicken, beans, tortillas and about 8 vegetable types, some dairy products, and a minimum of seasonings. This type of cooking 'fortunately' lacks really expensive 'essentials' (Tequila excepted!) and seems to be mainly an inexpensive and tasty manipulation of around a dozen or so main ingredients."

"Any type of cuisine/dish that originated out of necessity fits the bill," says ediblover. "These would be foods that originated from days of peasantry and slavery, where only the cheap things were available. Sure, some things that were cheap then may be expensive now, but overall it should work."

"An important clarification: Do you mean most frugal where *you* live or where the cuisines originated?" asks Karl S. "It's a huge difference. You are evaluating cost from the first, not the second, perspective, it would seem."

"Frugality is about making the most of the resources you already have, so I'd say whichever cuisine uses the spices and herbs in your cupboard would be the cheapest," says k_hack. "Buy whatever meat is on super-sale, get grains in bulk, cook your own beans, and cultivate a garden. Every cuisine is going to be expensive if you're holding yourself to the standards of high-quality oils, lots of exotic produce, and grass-fed beef/animal protein."

Discuss: Which cuisine is the most frugal in which to cook/eat by?