I seem to have spent an awful lot of time talking about (and obsessing over) food for the past week, so I thought I’d have a bit of a breather yesterday and squeeze two posts into one here.
I’m not going to lie – I’m looking forward to this week being over, and I’m already thinking about what I’m going to have for breakfast on Tuesday morning. But the week’s been been occasionally fun, often frustrating, always interesting (they don’t call it a challenge for nothing). It’s certainly made me think. Hard. I’m going try and jot down a list of what I reckon I’ve learned for my final post tomorrow (hopefully without sounding glib or like too much of a woolly liberal, which is going to be a challenge in itself).
But in the meantime, here’s what happened over the weekend…
Breakfast: (Saturday) Yoghurt scones, mushroom pate and a boiled egg (53p per portion), (Sunday) Apple and banana porridge (30.7p per portion)
Disaster strikes!! I go to the fridge on Sunday morning to get the milk for my tea, only to find that it has spoiled overnight. Cue despair, chiefly because I now have to make my porridge with water. Not even the fact that I’ve saved a whole banana to go with it manages to lift my mood. This gloom lasts until mid morning when I remember I have half a lemon in the fridge. Not my favourite, but it does the trick. Still, I’m looking forward to that first coffee on Tuesday morning – more than I thought possible.
Lunch: (Saturday) Beetroot, apple and potato soup with yoghurt (36.8p per portion), (Sunday) Chickpea burgers, tomato sauce and roast potatoes (57.8p per portion)
The combination of beetroot and apple is one of my absolute favourites, and makes a fantastic soup. There’s a portion leftover too, which I’ve frozen as it won’t get eaten before my challenge is up. Great for a quick lunch to take to work, meaning you don’t end up spending silly money ‘nipping out’ for a sandwich.
I really wanted to try and include a nod to the traditional Sunday roast – the chickpea burgers disappeared before I remembered to take a picture. Not because they were especially tasty (they were a bit too plain for my liking), but I was just so hungry. With a couple more ingredients added, like some fresh herbs or a little bit of feta, they’d have been pretty good – and I think I’m going to have a go at refining this recipe into an alternative Sunday lunch. The roasties, however – well, you can’t go wrong with a bowl of roasties, can you?
Dinner: (Saturday) Pea, potato, chickpea and methi curry with rice (25.3p per portion), (Sunday) Smoky chickpea, potato and mushroom soup (33p per portion)
On reflection, adding the curry powder to The List probably wasn’t worth doing. Thinking about it, I’d probably have been better off saving the 60p as a contingency fund, or spending it on some fresh fruit or veg. But the curry itself was delicious – with a bit of recipe refining, it’s definitely another thing I’ll be making again.
Tackling social isolation…
Weekends aren’t really a barrel of laughs when you can’t afford to go out with friends. You can’t sit nursing a coffee and just people-watch (one of my favourite Sunday afternoon pastimes). I think I’m starting to understand a bit more about what people mean when they call Britain the loneliness capital of Europe. When you’re on a budget, you have to say no to so many things. That text from a mate on a Friday night asking what you’re doing and whether you fancy going out for a pint? You have to either ignore it, or make your excuses. Week in, week out.
Getting isolated people eating together (as well as eating well) and building a sense of community is a really important part of what FoodCycle does across the country every week. I think this quote from a regular visitor at FoodCycle Salisbury says it all really;
“One of the other guests who comes here just told me that there are a lot of other places where you can get food now in Salisbury, like soup kitchens and food banks. But this is different, it’s nice to sit down for a nice meal and chat to people. Sometimes you feel a bit isolated living on your own.”
If you’d like to read more about the difference FoodCycle has made, take a look at their 2014 Social Impact Report.