Day 1 and Day 2

day 1 3

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 1 9

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 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 1 2

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!

Day 2 (in the Team Pugh House).day 1 4

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. day 1 5So….. 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.  

Lizzie snacks on homemade scones and ¼ apple today. Becksie has one small scone. Ian has the tiny teeny end bread slice and a 17

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)

Foraging basket at the ready for salad with a little shredded cabbage!day 1 6

We decide to use an egg yolk to help bind our lentil burger mix which means……. We have egg white going spare so we can made meringues with a banana (between 3) and milk for 1 8

Supper is a little cake (tune in tomorrow for more details) washed down with weak coffee.

Day 2 – done – total spend £2.12 



27 thoughts on “Day 1 and Day 2

  1. Great post, and I applaud your cooking and resourcefulness. The marmalade from the satsuma peel is a great idea. It’s amazing how an experiment like this can turn your mind to the ins and of food; how we cook and eat, and how much we waste. Keep it up, you’re almost half way!

  2. Some brilliant substitutions going on there Becksie…should all work ok and I do hope you enjoyed it….the meringues look really yummy!
    Love your idea with the yoghurt dressing Im going to give that one a try…and so very resourceful to use the mandarin rind for really makes you think about the food we are doing really well….

    • Thank you these are the best meringues that Becksie has ever made, she did text Sandie in the middle for a bit of meringue 999, thinking of more tomorrow! Thank you ever so much for the lentil recipe!

  3. i am amazed at how well you are doing ! i am going to give rabbit a try as it is so cheap at my local butchers….but im not going to tell my teenagers what it is as they will hate me!

  4. “Mammar has a sandwich she has bought…”
    I don’t normally comment on spelling here (despite my natural tendencies – I’m an English teacher!) but in the context of living below the line, this one seems important! Do you mean bought (as in past participle of buy) or brought (as in past participle of bring)?!

    • Mammar both ‘bought’ the sandwich from her live below the line ingredients and ‘brought’ it with her so i guess we are wrong and right hehe

  5. Mammar brought it with her. It was part of her £1 a day. 1 slice homemade bread 5p, slice of chicken 5p. We had bought chicken for £2 (date deal), cooked in heritage pan on wood-burning stove with carrots, onion, potatoes, leek tops,swede and pearl barley. So far we have had a leg each with the cooked potato,some carrot and swede fished out of the soup and part of a cabbage costing 40p from the local garage/convenience store,again short date. Slice chicken each for sandwich lunch. Today we picked all chicken which wasn’t breast to leave in soup which is in fridge. One side of breast was turned into curry with small onion, half green pepper, fresh nettle tips with one cup dry weight rice. Approx cost £1. Some breast left for sarnies tomorrow and then large bowl of soup each with bread for dinner/tea. Should be enough left for Thurs lunch each.
    It certainly makes one think. We do still use Super markets sparingly, that’s where the near date chicken came from but of course we are just having fun with the challenge. It is not fun though for those whom this is a reality. Admire how you are method acting it.
    Well done

  6. I was doing some gardening yesterday when I came across some young nettles and it occurred to me that you might forage for these and cook them like spinach. They are tender at this time of year and apparently full of goodness. Congratulations on what you are doing. Lin

  7. I am doing this too (and blogging about it) and it is fascinating to see how different things are. I have no butter, sugar, milk, bread but I do have vast amounts of oats, rice, lentils and vegetables. I too am drinking hot water! I may have a go at those lentil burgers, with amendments for what I haven’t got. They look good! My best food so far is a lentil soup but today I think I might go foraging for some wild garlic and try a soup with that. Good luck!

  8. I think, for me, what’s more interesting than your food is your reaction to things. It’s nice in a weird way to read your posts about shopping and cooking as it comes across that you’ve never been without food before and it’s great that these feelings are new to you (I don’t mean that to sound as patronising as it probably does, I’m being genuine!)

    It is easy to feel invisible or feel isolated when you have very little so it’s really important not to do so. When we become adults there seems to be a thing where our houses become mini hotels when someone comes round. Tea or coffee is a must, we apologise if there’s no cake or other treats and there’s almost a feeling that we should be able to rustle up a meal on the off chance someone needs it. As my mum always says “people are visiting you, not your house” you’re not there to serve them! I don’t know if I’m a bit unusual or something but when we had no cash we went back to how we lived when we were teenagers – it was enough to come round and listen to music, if someone wanted a snack or something to drink they brought their own, no-one expected me or my parents to give them stuff just because they were there. Keeps things simple. People still visited and no-one cared at all.

    • Thank you it has been a really sobering experience, you’re right we have never really experienced being hungry and for this we are really grateful. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  9. Well done, youre off to a great start. Have you not got any herbs in the garden you could make tea out of? Mint, nettle, fennel etc, all make nice tea (but dont make them too strong and drink them to excess). Might make a nice chsnge from water. :o)

  10. oh well done you 3 on day 1 you mentioned sobering thoughts beware of them i had one once and started drinking white wine and on the foriging note i will give you when i get back from me mini break for marmalade made from dandilion leavs i call it marmalion its good free apart from sugar and tastyxx

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