Meats and meat substitutes

Meats and meat substitutes

I looooove cooking and lately have been looking a lot at cheap cooking. I have a few questions about meats and meat substitues. 1) Everyone recommends buying whole chickens and butchering them yourself. I tried this and had a hell of a time getting meat off of it. It was a huge pain and I'm pretty sure most of the meat is still on it. Any suggestions? 2) Does anyone have good suggestions for eggs as a meat substitute? Besides what I've seen on Iron Chef Egg battle and the various recipes I know I can't really think of ways I'd be able to truly take advantage of their cheapness. 3) Tofu, people say that its cheaper than meat but is it really? 4) TVP, again I've heard it's cheaper than meat but the only stuff I saw at Safeway was in gardenburger type patties that were way too expensive. Is this the type of things I'm going to have to go to TJ's or whole foods for? I haven't looked at either because I assume that they are expensive. 5) Coops, yes or no? Cheaper way to buy in bulk? Anyone have specific experience with Western Washington? I like the idea of cutting back on the amount of hormone and antibiotic infested meat I eat but haven't been able to find any kosher butchers nearby and don't particularly want to start shopping at whole foods.
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