So it's my 5th day of not shopping for food. After Jamie Oliver's comments about the poor in society not having good, nutritious, cheap food more out of choice than necessity, I challenged myself. On Monday I thought I needed to get an urgent food shop. It's now Saturday and I've been eating pretty well without it.
On Tuesday I made dahl for lunch from the freezer and sausages (from the freezer) and home made coleslaw for tea.
On Wednesday I had leftovers and home made vegetarian lasagne.
On Thursday that lasagne was my lunch and I had beetroot and bacon soup for tea.
On Friday I finished the lasagne at lunchtime and reheated some spicy lamb meatballs with cous cous for tea.
Today I'm planning toad in the hole for lunch and maybe some sweetcorn fritters with cucumber sticks for tea. I'd love to say I'm planning something more exotic for grown ups but I like sweetcorn fritters! The other great thing is they include some vegetables, dead cheap to make and can be simply cooked on a hob.
I've been eating pretty well this week to be honest. I don't know whether it's having set myself this challenge but in placing my supermarket order this week (I shop online) was genuinely thinking "do I need all this?" and I cut back my spending slightly.
Despite my protestations on Monday, the cupboards, genuinely aren't bare.
So what has this taught me?
It's taught me that I know nothing.
Ok, maybe that's not true. It's genuinely it is easy to reduce the amount you spend on a week by week basis. It is genuinely easy to make a meal for less than 50p a head if you eat a lot of pulses. You can eat healthily without much money but it is hard to live on a poverty budget. Whatever I think about the food I've eaten, I have been restricted in choice. I've almost relished the restriction because anything which shakes you out of the food rut you're in is a good thing. But therein lies the issue. If you have little money and little choices in life. Where is your pleasure? Food can and is a pleasure and is perhaps one of your few on a budget, even lentils can be fab. If you can't afford other things in life; don't chips feel like an accessible treat? Doesn't that fatty, salty snack just seem really enticing?
So my little experiment. Well? It means nothing. Except one thing. I've given some money to charity. If we all had one cheap meal per week, it wouldn't seem like the biggest hardship. What if we went for one or two more days using leftovers rather than throwing them away or cracking open that packet of lentils for a cheap meal? How much money would that save? What if we then gave the money we saved to charity to help people in genuine poverty to learn cooking skills or provide emergency food? What a difference that could make.
So that's what I decided to do.
I know some people who read this blog get fed up when I move away from the recipes and onto other issues but I think this was worth discussion and a bit of thought this week. I hope you, kind readers, haven't minded indulging me these few days.
As for me? Tomorrow is my birthday. I don't have to wake up hungry nor go to bed hungry and for that, I'm thankful.
As for Jamie Oliver? I think his heart is in the right place but when you have a fortune estimated at £150 million? It's probably difficult to be in touch. It was difficult for me on my far more modest income. That said, I heard yesterday that he's donated a copy of his new book on how to cook affordable food to every UK library. That is a good thing.
Love to you all. x