So yesterday was the first day we were living below the line. Our shopping trip was truly painful and day 1 was hard. The most interesting thing Becksie has discovered is why it is hard to be hungry. Hunger is hard on ones belly but…… what’s much harder than hunger is hunger plus the worry that your little one will be in any way hungry. Day 1 was tough because of this. In terms of food on day one we had as much food as we will ever have this week – technically we were food (in comparison to day 5) rich. So it was really hard to get started. When every potato matters the decision to eat a simple potato is really hard.
Ok so we begin at breakfast – normally its kettle on and tea and coffee. Today it was hot water. Now Becksie often drinks a cup of hot water and in actual fact enjoys it but….. when you have no choice it tastes different. Becksie waited until it was just cool enough to down and (remember we are method acting) pretended it was tea. It was then time to make breakfast. Pancakes well drop scones well….. pancake batter (with a twist) in the size of drop scones. The twist…… we added water to stretch the mixture out. They didn’t taste anything like normal but they still tasted good and Lizzie was totally none the wiser so they were a success. We used 11p worth of flour, 10p worth of milk, 1 egg and tiny scraping of butter to stop them sticking to the pan – an approx total of 26p for 14 small pancakes – that’s about 2p per pancake. That’s 3 each for breakfast, 2 for Ian to take to work, 1 for a snack for Becksie and 2 for Lizzie to snack on. In order to make Lizzie’s snack different to her breakfast Becksie grated a quarter of an apple and added that to the batter before making Lizzie’s snack pancakes. Lizzie also munches her way through a ‘narna’ with her breakfast pancakes. Now this is same amount of food Lizzie would normally eat for breakfast and snack, it is healthy it is nutritious, it is home cooked but…… the guilt still creeps in – is Lizzie ok? A second cup of pretend tea and Becksie decides it’s all ok after all Lizzie is still having two breastfeeds a day.
Becksie and Lizzie were going out for the morning to help Granny Gray find where her car is to be MOTed (last year……she got lost) so ‘Mammar’ (in the words of Lizzie) arrived and normally we would have a cup of tea but….. you guessed it, its hot water for Becksie. Grandad and Mammar Gray are also living below the line and Mammar has bought 27p supermarket value tea so she brings her own milk and teabag with her. It looks good! This is hard. It strikes Becksie that although this hasn’t been a problem today should a visitor come to the house Becksie will not be able to do what she would normally try to do by offering them tea and cakes. This thought is very difficult and suddenly makes Becksie think if this were real she would probably avoid inviting people to the house as it would really hurt to not have the ability to be a good hostess. This is very sobering as it has never really occurred to her before. For Becksie what hurts equally to the hunger would be the loss of pride. Yikes its only 10.07am day 1!
It is worth bearing in mind that Becksie has by now had 3 cups of pretend tea and we are wandering around an industrial estate trying to kill an hour before the car is finished. There is limited choice – a tile show room, a hair and beauty supplier and….. an Aldi! Last year Mammar spent an hour wandering in Aldi, this year she is with 2/3rds of a supermarket free family and is living below the line so…… the bathroom showroom it is! In the bathroom showroom Mammar and Becksie discuss how funny it is that they both really need a wee and are visiting a room full of show toilets. This is very funny and we have a laugh but…… on a deeper level Becksie thinks this is what it must be like to need / want something like food but not be able to buy or eat it. Lizzie eats apple pancake number 1.
Home for lunch and Mammar has a sandwich she has bought and another cup of tea (she did offer me a slurp or a second hand teabag but it seems very important to do this properly). Lizzie and Becksie have a jacket potato each. Lizzie has cheese and grated carrot (again something she frequently has for lunch) followed by ¼ of an apple and Becksie has a jacket potato, cheese and coleslaw – with a twist! The coleslaw is made using grated carrot, shredded cabbage, a tiny amount of salt and a spoon full of natural (out of date) yogurt. In Oxford Ian is shunning his usual free three course dinner for……. the same as Becksie although….. he forgot to take his pot of cheese. Becksie could actually cry about the fact Ian forgot his cheese – Becksie is also finding the thought of Ian out earning the money on an empty tummy really hard). Becksie really enjoyed her coleslaw and was surprised to receive a text from Ian saying that they yogurt coleslaw really works. A success that we will be using in the future.
Lizzie and Becksie spend some time playing and doing housework as a distraction and when Lizzie goes down for a nap (a new habit that Becksie is loving) Becksie makes bread (65p), a batch of ‘sort of’ (the bread flour made them look like bread but taste like scones) scones (22p). She also sets to work on the dinner.
Dinner is rabbit hotpot! Rabbit, 1 carrot, 1 onion, wild garlic, stock cube and lentils. As Becksie is frying the carrot and onion it occurs to her that as her celery babies are grown from food waste (just the very bottom of celery) these are free and can therefore be added. It hurts chopping the heads of one of the celery babies but….. they will grow back and needs must. This all goes in the oven ready for 1 sliced potato to be added nearer the end after a long slow cooking for the rabbit.
Lizzie gets up from her nap and is very happy to sit and eat a fresh scone and butter. More playing and housework – hungry days are long days. Bread is proved and goes in the oven – the smell is amazing yet a little torturous. More pretend tea! Ian walks through the door and instead of usual routine Becksie is waiting by the door scone in hand! Lizzie is treated to a bit of daddy’s pre dinner scone as daddy obviously feels the same guilt as mummy.
Dinner is served with cauliflower and butternut squash. It is a hit! A little more bland than normal dinner but filling and tasty. A few tweaks and this recipe is a keeper. Lizzie has the remaining apple pancake and a bit of yogurt for pudding. Ian and Becksie have nothing.
Lizzie in bed and Ian and Becksie remember that they purchased some ground coffee (30grams for the week) from a huge bargain bag they had got before they started this supermarket experiment. Now normally if we make a pot of coffee we have a scoop each today it was one scoop between 2! The coffee was made with half the coffee but the same amount of water, watered down milk and half a sugar each but….. it tasted (awful) really lovely in comparison to nothing. We also had a slice of toast each with butter as our supper. Day one done. Total spend for the three members of Team Pugh £1.95!
When we stacked the pots before bed Becksie may have added more water to the coffee grounds meaning this am an extremely weak and reheated coffee could be shared by Ian and Becksie. We are getting good. Ian’s lunch was prepared – a small portion of hotpot (we had to restrain ourselves to not eat it last night and some of the vegetables). It was toast all round for Team Pugh and a satsuma for Lizzie (again a normal size breakfast for the littlest member of the team). As Becksie went to peel Lizzie’s orange it suddenly struck her that it would be literally criminal to bin the peel. So….. she chopped it into tiny strips and boiled it with sugar and water and we now have a very small pot of marmalade made from food waste – we have a second satsuma so we have more peel later in the week which we have another idea for. Things feel much more positive for a few minutes, we have been resourceful and this is satisfying. Becksie thinks about what to do for Lizzie entertainment today, she had seen a small person’s playgroup that she fancied trying and decides to give it a go. She reads the leaflet and decides against it! Why? The words – Tea, Coffee, cake and biscuits at a small cost. Sounds great but if you can’t pay the small cost then that’s just another pride bashing and lies to tell about how you’re ‘fine as you had a big breakfast’! This is hard. Oh well Jacket potato, fake coleslaw for lunch. ¼ apple and yogurt for Lizzie for pudding.
Dinner! What to make well……… yesterday we received a very helpful recipe from a lovely blog reader called Kate her recipe comment was as follows:
You might like to try spicy lentil burgers..they are very tasty …I usually do 4oz Lentils to make 6 burgers and freeze some so half all the ingredients unless you want to eat it more than once although you could just use the rest of the mix as a base for a stew or curry with veg,(sqaush,carrot cauli) stock and spices added to give you another main meal
Cook 4oz lentils for 20 mins (till cooked) Finely chop and saute an onion and some grated carrot and celery stick (you could use some of your cabbage) a handful of breadcrumbs 1tsp cumin 1 tsp ground coriander (or use any herbs/spices you have) …mix all together and shape into burgers, refridgerate to firm up then fry …I make a chilli tomato sauce with a fresh tomato, onion (all chopped) tbsp sugar ,chilli powder to taste…cook all in a saucepan till thick and sticky add water to thin if wanted. Serve with homemade Potato wedges and maybe some foraged greenery such as dandelion leaves!
Excellent – lentil burgers (well a big pan sized one so we can fill the flat breads) and homemade flat bread it is. Only issue is……. We don’t have all the ingredients. Ok we must make substitutions.
Lentils……. yeah we have lentils – we’ll use 100grams as they are filling
Onion…….. we have onion but only one left for the week so we’re going to use only ¼ of it.
Carrot …… we will use half a carrot and add some grated butternut squash
Celery ……. We have the green top of a leek
Cumin……… we have marmalade?
Coriander……. We have wild garlic?
Breadcrumbs – check!
Fresh tomato – yeah we have a fresh tomato – half should do us.
Chilli – we have marmalade………..
Sugar – we have sugar
Potato wedges – great idea – thank you Kate (we are excited about these)
Supper is a little cake (tune in tomorrow for more details) washed down with weak coffee.
Day 2 – done – total spend £2.12