Thursday, 2 May 2013

Living below the line - Day 4, a bit of foraging

A bit of creativity today.  Breakfast as before and it seems almost easy.  Reluctantly I have to admit that I feel better in the morning after a night without my usual glass of wine.  I wouldn't have said that I feel in any way bad normally.  I only have a glass or two.  I don't wake hungover or bleary eyed.  I get up cheerily enough and get on with my day.  But I do think that, whether it is the vegetarian diet or the absence of wine, I am bouncing up in the morning with foolish energy.  Something to think about.

I worked all morning in the garden digging over the cutting garden.  The sun shone, the daffodils sparkled and all the trees seemed to have decided to burst into leaf, tiny and vividly green against the mostly bare skeleton of the tree.  Again I don't know whether it is the lack of protein in this very restricted week but I did find myself tiring quite quickly and developed a passionate yearning for a cheese sandwich.  I had a break from digging to help Ian move some brushwood, tramping backwards and forwards to the fire site.  It did not help with the longing for a cheese sandwich.  So I decided I had better do something different for lunch.

Mountainear had suggested that ground elder and wild garlic could be foraged at this time of the year.  Green stuff is something I have been missing.  I had rice and dal left over from yesterday but I finished it off this time with some chopped and torn ground elder leaves, choosing the youngest and most tender from one of our many patches of perennial weed!  Just need to start making inroads on the newly burgeoning nettles and dandelions now.



I didn't say it looked appealing but it tasted pretty good.  Even so I had to come away from Ian eating scrambled eggs and sit outside with my lunch in the sun.  I am so looking forward to eating eggs and cheese again.  Meat, oddly enough, I am not missing at all.

The secret with eating like this seems to be have some sort of snack and to eat food which is quite strong tasting.  I made some more onion bhajis as a snack in the late afternoon from the remains of yesterday's batter and then a big spicy soup for tea incorporating what was left of the dal.  I thought I would have a go at transforming some of the thick leftover porridge from this morning into a version of croutons, simply deep frying spoonfuls of porridge in some of my oil.  They didn't look like croutons but they provided a bit of crispiness and texture.  Two bowls of soup provided a filling dinner and then I whizzed out to Welsh class, distracting myself from any thoughts of food.

On the way home I realised that I still have two tins of tomatoes (31p a tin) in my week's store so I have liquidised one of them to make a tomato juice.  This is the first thing I have drunk all week which has not been water and it tastes overwhelmingly delicious.

So that is day 4.  I am in so many ways glad that tomorrow is the last day.  Bread, wine, cheese and eggs are all at the top of my list of things I will be delighted to have again.  But I also feel as if I could do this for longer now that I am beginning to understand how to produce things from very limited ingredients that are interesting and edible.  I might even adopt this way of eating for a couple of days every two weeks or so now that I have proved to myself that I can.  I will take stock when tomorrow is over.  It is always possible that I might never eat another lentil.

26 comments:

  1. I am full of admiration Elizabeth, not least that you have kept your sense of humour!!

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    1. There have been one of two dips, not least the cheese sandwich yearning!

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  2. I'm full of admiration too.

    What I have noticed is that I often eat when I'm not really hungry - probably to keep Alan company, so socially - or when I'm bored, just for something to do or most stupidly 'because the clock says so'. A chastening thought. I guess many of us are strangers to real hunger.

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    1. I too often eat for all those reasons which is daft really. I wonder if I can take from this anything which will make me eat differently in the long term or if I am just going to fall straight back into my old ways.

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  3. Very proud of you, and isn't it interesting, noting how changing our habits changes our life? I'm with you, though, bread cheese and wine are really the staples of life, on some basic level. Doing without sometimes makes the indulgence that much sweeter - looking forward to your celebration dinner!

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    1. I have to get to the end of Friday's meals first! Saturday dinner might be something special, or it might just feel special, pretty much whatever it is!

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  4. It is a mammoth achievement, Elizabeth, and we shall all look at you with renewed admiration. I have to admit my yoghurt and biscuit idea would be doomed to fail as I would only be able to eat two small bowls a day and that, even supplemented by biscuit wouldn't be enough. Your account has been most entertaining - I'm sure a magazine or supplement would be happy to publish it (and pay you).

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    1. You would need something to fill you up Fennie, hence the porridge and lentils!

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  5. It's been really interesting to see how inventive you've been getting with your more limited resources as each day has progressed.

    It'll also be interesting to see how the sweet foods you initially craved taste when you get to eat them again. The tomato juice tasting delicious suggests your palate might be changing :)

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    1. Well I do always like tomato juice but I don't think I have ever had one which tasted as good as the one I had last night!

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  6. Elizabeth, having now caught up with your update, I continue to think that you've done the rest of us non-participating folks a great service with your witty reporting of each of the days of this dietary challenge. I think that what you've discovered is something that I will be able to add to my weekly grocery shopping and menu choices.

    How lucky some of us are on this shared planet to be really rather frivolous with our dining habits. Do the choices that we easily make, and the parade of choices made by food growers and processors and transporters, have an adverse affect of other fellow humans who do not have our free choice? Is any change in this strange imbalance possible or worthy or wise, or even kind?

    xo

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    1. I truly hope some change in the imbalance you describe so well is possible. It cannot be right that the Western world struggles with obesity problems while millions of children have barely enough to eat.

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  7. This has been really interesting to follow, and has made me think of the cost of our meals too. Today I'm making nettle soup, which is a real cheapie, but the sourdough bread to go with it would push it above the pound. Hope today goes well for you, you've earned your bread, cheese and wine!

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    1. It is amazing how easily even what seems to me a cheap recipe idea pushed me above the £1 a day limit. Nettles are good though, especially at this time of year.

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  8. I'm full of admiration for you too - it really does make you think about food choices, portion sizes and the need for something sweet. Would it have been cheating to do have timed this for the raspberry season? Good luck with the final day and enjoy your bread, cheese, wine and eggs feast!

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    1. One of things I found tricky is that you are only supposed to use garden produce if you can sensibly estimate the cost of production and factor it into your £1 a day. We don't have much in the garden just now, a bit of broccoli, but I was rather defeated by the cost of production question. I think it would be much the same for raspberries!

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  9. I'm glad you have decent weather as you seem to be eating outside quite a bit. Nearly there now, and well done for sticking to the plan.

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    1. The weather has definitely helped. My spirits are always higher when the sun shines. Not sure how I would have got on trying to do this in a wet, cold miserable week in December!

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  10. Born , as I was , in Glasgow , I'm tickled by the thought of deep-fried porridg !!
    Well done on having done so well over the week .

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    1. It is better than it sounds although would clearly be better still accompanied by a deep fried piece of haddock!

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  11. I've always meant to try ground elder, if only as a revenge tactic! You have inspired me to do so...all those lovely green shoots coming up around the edges of the garden....grrrr.

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    1. It is actually quite tasty, although to be sure this is the case I will have to try it on a week when I have not been deprived of green stuff!

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  12. We're out in our little garden in sunshine today as well -- but I won't tell you what we're eating . . . . Never mind, you've done well so far, and have only one more day to go! You'll have to snap us a pick of your first "After" meal!

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    1. I shall try not to think about what you might be eating. I am already fantasizing about eggs and quiche and seafood!

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  13. I'm full of admiration, Elizabeth, along with all the others. I think a day or two like this every now and again is not a bad idea - especially in a world where many won't even eat leftovers. You've given me lots to think about.

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    1. It seems appalling not to eat leftovers. We have become very spoiled I think.

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