Thursday, 18 October 2012

You’ve never had it so good, but prepare for the return of rationing Part 2


The lower a family’s income, the more of its budget goes on food, and the lowest 10 per cent income earners have already felt the pinch as wages have not risen with inflation. Food affordability for this group has dropped by 20 per cent in eight years, according to government figures.

Our pensions are not keeping up with inflation and an awful lot of people find the same applies to their wages. Whilst the above statement may well be true, it is perfectly possible for most people (but not all) to eat reasonably well on a small budget, if they choose to do so

Breakfast doesn't have to be the myriad of sweet cereals that don't keep you satisfied for long. Porridge may be an old fashioned breakfast but it keeps you full for longer, mind you many people don't eat breakfast. That may well be a short sighted saving as they will just grab expensive sweet things to keep them going until you buy your lunch!

People seem to not be able to cook from scratch nor are they willing to learn. Many don't even bother to cook and instead, buy ready meals - hugely expensive things. Although I was taught to cook at school, I didn't know much and taught myself everything else from books. I certainly wasn't taught how to boil the proverbial egg! 

A filling and hot evening meal could be for example, a hearty pan of soup, served with pasta or rice one night. Some of the leftover soup can be served with large chunks of bread for another meal. Finally, the original remains can be served as is, or re-flavoured and served with potatoes and vegetables. A little meat could be added to it to make it more meaty if required.

One pan of soup, 3 or more meals (depending on pan/family size of course)

Seven years ago the cost of a typical family shopping basket of basic foodstuffs was £25.09; now similar items are £46.42. During the Second World War, when food shortages were more acute than at any time in living memory, Britain was as healthy as it has ever been.
  
I'm not sure what historical inflation price site he used but the one I use, suggested only £10 more than the first price, even so, it is still a steep price inflation. Yesterday, we made a huge bowl of stew in our largest saucepan. We used 1 onion, 2 1/4 lb of seasonal vegetables, 1 1/2 lb potatoes, 1 lb mixed meats (lamb, pork and beef), 1 tin of tomatoes, 3 stock cubes, 2 cans chickpeas, water and herbs. 

When it was nearly ready, we made 12 war time dumplings using 8 oz self raising flour, 1 heaped tsp baking powder, herbs, salt, pepper and made it into a dough with water. They were added to the stew and it was cooked in the oven for another 20 minutes turning them over halfway through.

We had 3 dumplings each with stew. A similar portion was served into a container for another night. The remainder, which by now hasn't got so much whole food in it, will give us one lot of soup with bread and the final bit will have curry paste stirred in and be served with rice. 

That one pan of stew cost us around £6.50 and will make 4 meals for 2 people. That is 81p each for the 'stew' element of the meal.
 
Thrift, organisation and the ability and knowledge to use food well were invaluable skills which might need to be retaught.

The worry is that people will be unable to reclaim that knowledge which allowed our parents and grandparents to eat adequately in hard times. There are more hard times ahead, and fears that we are now incapable of meeting the demands they will place upon us.

I believe that last part is a load of old squit as they say in Norfolk (or twaddle/rubbish elsewhere). Before the advent of the world wide web, such a statement might be true. We do today however, have access to numerous ways of obtaining such information.

I think it is more a case of 'where there's a will, there's a way'. Elements of our population seem to not have the will, therefore they won't find a way.

Here endeth my review:o)




13 comments:

  1. You sum it up perfectly, 'where there's a will, there's a way'.

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    1. Yup! I think that is the crux of the matter indeed.

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    2. I utterly agree with all said. I wasn`t a wizz kid in the kitchen either when I first started. Having had 3 kids and a limited budget soon gets you exploring all sorts of meal options. You either start to get inventive and learn from internet and books or you just have to find the pennies to sustain yourself and the family on take aways and ready meals. It`s a matter of preference and what choices we make for ourselves.

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  2. I think my worry is that too many people have become accustomed to having things easy and more or less handed to them. My own sister will not touch raw meat to cook it...and in the past she has been given choice cuts of venison that she has brought to me. (Bear in mind she will eat meat, just not touch it.) In exchange for me slicing it she has taken home only enough for one meal and left the rest with me. Definitely a good deal for me, but good grief!

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    1. Well, that is true but hand on heart, I haven't had to gut an animal yet. When my son passes on game to us, it has been dealt with. I think liver is the most squishy thing I deal with!

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    2. The venison was in large pieces waiting to be cut...the gutting was done. I have helped gut some small game, but I'll be honest and say not my favorite thing to do either.

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  3. We are huge fans of tumbledown meals, it's how I was brought up in the 70s with a disabled mom and one income from dad with all us kids, and it's how we get through now.

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    1. I've not heard that expression before. I take it, it means using up leftovers to invent new meals?

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  4. In the months leading up to my wedding ( I was 18 at the time)my Mum encouraged me to cook tea for the family each Saturday so that I could extend my range of dishes. I had 2 cookery books and I used those, choosing things to try out. I also cooked some dishes which I'd been taught to cook at school. By the time I got married ( 10 weeks after my 19th birthday) I had widened the range of dishes in my repertoire so that there was no chance of us getting bored by eating the same things all the time. I popped into Iceland in town a couple of Saturdays ago to buy some frozen cauliflower as I had run out - what a revelation that was! Most people had trolleys filled to the brim with pizzas, burgers, ready meals, ice cream, frozen chips and very cheap sausages ( 40 for £2 I think) - I dread to think what those contained. Barely anyone was looking at the veg - just me and a young man who was buying 6 bags of frozen spinach! I love wartime dumplings - I found the recipe in my Marguerite Patten book- We always have them with veggie stew for a very cheap meal.Leftovers are thinned down into more of a soup consistency and eaten for lunch the next day with homemade bread - lovely!

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    1. Must have been nice. That's what I needed to do from books as I only had my sister to show me and she wasn't a very experimental cook but her meals were okay. I won't eat mince unless I've minced it, or cheap sausages for the reasons you've stated. Love fish, but have to make sure it is boned otherwise I'm liable to throw up!

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  5. Totally agree-I will scrimp and save and refuse to go under. My money stretches so far that it pings! I can and will do better as well and thanks to the internet i can help myself :-)

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    1. Ha Ha! I like the idea of pinging money, what a lovely expression. Like you say, just do it, you have the will therefore you have found a way.

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