Living below the line - Day 3 - not scavenging in bins

The morning routine is going fine.  Porridge and yoghurt and hot water seem perfectly ok for breakfast.  I do miss my lovely home laid eggs if I think about it but if I just get up and get on with it all is fine.

Today I am going to meet someone for lunch.  I have explained what I am doing and we have agreed to bring a boxed lunch with us and to eat outside.  My lunch is the remains of my curry and rice.  I suddenly have an insight into what it is like to be someone whose relationship with food is simply that of "food as fuel". I know several people like that and I imagine it saves a lot of time, but because we love food in our house I have always been interested in cooking it, eating it, thinking about it, planning meals for special occasions and using food to bring people together around the table.  This lunch is pure fuel.  I don't enjoy it.  I don't not enjoy it.  I just eat it.  There isn't quite enough but I am not actually hungry.  I drink lots of water but am really longing for a cup of tea.

My friend thinks that it can't be that hard to do what I am doing.  We are allowed to cook?  Wouldn't it be more of a challenge if you had to scavenge from bins?  Yes.  It would.

I decided this morning that I had to find something to make a difference in terms of the texture of my food so when I made my morning porridge I made it thicker than usual and left some to have a go at making some sort of fritter.  When I get home, still longing for a cup of tea, I squash the porridge together into little cakes and fry them in oil until they are crispy on the outside.  Sprinkled with salt they are the first snack food I have had.  It sounds disgusting but they were really quite nice. Ian and I sit on a bench in the sun while I eat them.  I would absolutely love to go out tonight for a drive through our beautiful countryside to a village pub.  There I would have scampi and chips and drink beer.  Ah well.  Push the thought away and shut the lid on it.  I am more than half way through now.  By the end of the day there will be only two more days to go.

I need to cook something for my evening meal that feels interesting and tasty.  I am wondering whether flour and water will make a batter sufficient to allow me to make onion bhajis.  I could make some dahl with the lentils and possibly find something growing in the herb garden to liven up the rice.

Well dinner was actively good!  I made onion bhajis, using my oil to fry spoonfuls of onion and batter mixture.  I used my flour, some curry powder, salt and water to make the batter.  I also made lentil dahl and plain rice.  The introduction of the crispy texture of the bhajis really cheered me up.  Now I just have to see if  I have created lentil overload again!

I have found today hard going until tonight's meal which showed me that if I really try to cook I can produce the sort of food I would be happy to eat on any day  of any week.  That is some small consolation for not being able to go to the pub!

So a bit of a headache again through the earlier part of the day which has been banished by a largish evening meal; a realisation of how eating frugally really restricts your life as well as your diet; a general sense that I am digging in, determined to do it now, and a reminder that the plainer the ingredients the more you have to work at translating them into something good.  So far Indian based dishes have been a godsend.

I am glad to be doing this but I will be pleased to get to the end.  That is my greatest luxury, that it does have an end.  Now for a drive and a walk in a beautiful evening.




Comments

  1. What you are doing is very commendable and quite brave. I'm sure I wouldn't get past day one!
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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    1. I have to admit that yesterday evening when I really felt like breaking it the fact that I had blogged about it was part of what helped me keep going!

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  2. Dear Elizabeth,

    I have read your last four posts and I congratulate you for these five tough days of frugal eating. One thing which strikes me about this sort of worthy exercise is how quickly one falls vulnerable to the fearful possibility of the reality of others.

    How lucky to know that soon you will be able to eat what you desire and drink TEA :-) Any frugality is perfectly possible as long as it is short-lived, wouldn't you agree?

    Stephanie

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    1. You are so right about things being possible for a short time Stephanie ! I have struggled abut today with a real yearning for cheese or eggs. I think simply lentils for protein is getting me down. But knowing I am nearly there I am quite determined not to give up. By the end of tomorrow it will be done, for me although not for millions

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  3. Congrats Elizabeth. You are winning. But you make me think what I would spend my £5 on. I think it would be on four items only: Digestive biscuits, (1 double pack £1.89) Activia Yoghurt (2 500g tubs @ £1.20) and the remaining 71p would be split between teabags @ 2p each and milk 3/4 litre. A couple of bikkies crumbled into a small bowl of yoghurt go a long way. I would then drink my tea and look North Wales wards and feel smug!

    Or maybe I would just make Mouton Pressé food. - a mixture in equal amounts of honey, rapeseed oil and oatmeal. One spoon of that goes a very long way.

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    1. I think your tea and biscuits would be a help with some of the things that are hard fennie but I am not sure you could manage five days on this. Have a go and find out!

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  4. I must say that I admire you for taking on this challenge, it's not something I'd manage very successfully I don't think.

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    1. I shall be pleased to get to the end!

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  5. Over half way now hurrah!

    I spotted on the accompanying website that Indian food looms large for most people undertaking this challenge.

    It was a 5:2 day for me - and I'm shocked to see my choices for my 500 calories cost more than £1.

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    1. So very easy to go above the limit. I keep on thinking "This would be ok if only I could have so and so..." and of course I can't!

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  6. Hello Elizabeth! I just read your last couple of posts, and really, what you are doing is so very inspiring. Even if for a week, but it takes a hell lot of patience and determination to do something like this.
    I'm glad you made our 'dal' - if you ignore the protein overload, it fills you up quick and for a long time.

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    1. The dal is probably the best dish I have made Suman, well that and the onion bhajis!

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  7. You are doing so well. I feel quite pathetic as I can't even stick to my diet which is rich in various foods compared to your daily rations. It is a sobering thought that millions of people throughout the world have no choice in the quality and quantity of food that they have available to them. What you are doing is worthy and inspiring even if it is but a splash in the ocean.

    Keep going!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement Rosie! It does help!

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  8. I tried the 5:2 diet and didn't have the will power to last out the first week. You're doing well Elizabeth, not long now..

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  9. I've often wondered that if rationing was forced on the UK population again how well we would all cope. We're all so used to such quantity and variety in our food (although I know of someone who thinks of food as fuel, too and would just be happy living on some form of energy pill instead of a meal). Best of luck with the rest of your challenge.

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    1. Funny, I have wondered about that too. My father in law who was a young man in the war is very comfortable with a diet which to me is really monotonous. That must in part come from growing up and living most of his adult life without the choices we take for granted.

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  10. You're doing brilliantly and I love the sound of those fritters. I used to make something very similar when I was a student!

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    1. The onion bhajis are definitely going on my list of things to make frequently. I am not totally sure about the porridge fritters. I would need to eat them when I am not eating like this to judge I think.

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  11. Are you not allowed to supplement your £5 with food you've foraged?

    Kudos to you for trying this, if foraging is allowed I might give it a go too.

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    1. Yes you can forage and I have done today!

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