Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easy When You Know How...

Yesterday, Beloved brought home an article he had read in a newspaper he had found(Daily Mirror:dated 8th April 2011), as he thought it would be of interest to me. It was! The newspaper had asked a lady to see if she could feed her family (two adults and one 18 year old son) for a week, spending no more than £20!
Giving a day-by-day account of what was cooked, the lady managed (how well depends on what side of the fence you are standing), and although every day there were complaints such as "It's taking two hours a day to feed three people", and " looks and tastes great, but has taken two hours and used every pan in the house", and "There's nothing convenient about cooking on a budget, no wonder previous generations of women stayed home (to do)cooking - they had no choice", by day Seven, at least the lady admitted "This budget has trained me to be more imaginative, because I can't nip out to top up my cupboards....I can't wait to go shopping but...I've learned a lot from this experience and realised you can save a fortune".

Whether useful or not (most of us would have chosen to buy different things), the shopping list was given, and the purchases made were:
Baking potatoes 2 for £1 (£1.85p); 2 carrots 24p; cabbage 65p; 2 onions 27p; butternut squash £1.18p; frozen veg mix £1.00; sweetcorn 32p; baked beans 37p; tin of spinach 53p; chickpeas 99p; lentils 88p; 2 tins tomatoes 62p; plums £1.00p.
Penne pasta 20p; long grain rice 59p; plain flour 52p; butter 98p.
Eggs 58p; strong Cheddar £1.52p; and free range chicken pieces £3.50p.
Total spent £19.98p.

There were a few storecupboard items used and these were not costed: cooking oil,yeast, milk, herbs, spices and sugar. Milk alone would have taken the total to over £20, and why keep yeast when she normally never made bread? But then - thank goodness - we are all different in the way we like to cook and what we like to eat, so who am I to criticise? What did concern me was that the lady made the whole process of living on a tight budget more like hard work than anything else, with not a lot to show for it at the end. We need to inspire people to start cooking again, not keep telling them of all the time and labour it takes. and of course EVERYTHING takes time when we first start to learn. When babies, first finding our feet, we would stand and tumble, stand again and tumble again, but keep persevering until we managed to walk. Ever after that we never gave it another thought. Here are some useful sites for both novice and experienced cooks: (credit crunch meal planner)