Eleanor Wilde

Hungry For Justice


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Ending the Food bank Fast

Hello there!

Well well well, it’s nearly the end! This will be my penultimate post, to recap and end the food bank fast which we have undertaken for a whole 40 days. Keith Hebden had his first meal last night; his 40-day fast is now ended, and he has done really well! He’s adjusting to food again, and we will all have to adjust to taking back the privilege we had before Lent, to be well fed and healthy. I only pray that we don’t forget what we’ve learned, and that we don’t ever stop speaking out against the drastic inequality in our society.

The End Hunger Fast campaign is not quite over, however, and as it ends on Wednesday, Ruth and I are going to hang on for a few more days. Yesterday we spent ages agonising over and eventually purchasing a realistic food bank parcel with our £15, which we thought would last us for 3 days. We have rationed everything down to the last tin, but as the Trussell Trust describe here   we have included some treats as well. We tried to follow their shopping list as closely as possible. Nothing is perishable, or requires a fridge, freezer or oven to cook or store. We are not using anything from our cupboards, not even those amazing mixed herbs which are STILL going. Here is our receipt to prove it:

Not much, is it?

Not much, is it?

We will be having sachets of microwave porridge for breakfast, soup and crackers for lunch and some interesting dinners: Jamaican cup-a-soup mix with butter beans, pasta with tomato sauce, and some stir fry with rice for our dinners.

I did also mention treats: Aldi provided us with some little frangipane cakes and some ginger nut biscuits, which came in handy this morning when we realised that the porridge sachets we had bought are tiny child portions. Honestly. The porridge didn’t even fill a third of a normal-sized bowl. It was quite yummy though 🙂 And having cake for breakfast is great.I  have just had my red pepper, tomato and lentil soup from Sainsbury’s, with crackers, for lunch. It was nice, but I miss being able to cook something for myself! With such a limited shop, though, there’s no chance of making things from scratch. The other downside, so far, is that the food we have bought seems like just enough to keep us going. I have been feeling hungry since breakfast time; I guess we are used to larger portion sizes and more calories.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the most interesting thing I bought (which you may have spotted from the receipt) is this:

If you don't laugh, you're a better person than me.

If you don’t laugh, you’re a better person than me.

All foolishness aside, that one sachet of stock and spices is hopefully going to make a meal for two people, with just a tin of butterbeans added. We had to agonise over every item in our trolley this time, so that we don’t get scurvy/anaemia/low blood sugar. There will be one more post to come from me, on Thursday, letting you know how we did. We will never stop buying Basics range products, drinking cheap coffee or baking soda bread, and not a scrap of our food will be thrown away from now on. These are the things we have learned this Lent; to walk with our Lord in the wilderness and to walk with those who have to live this life every day. We must make the most of what we have, and we must not let people starve in this country. On Thursday, we will also let you know how much we think we have saved, which will be donated to End Hunger Fast.

It’s been a pleasure sharing this journey with you. Until next time,

Eleanor 🙂

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Shop 2- now with added caffeine!

Hi there,

Ever so sorry for not posting yesterday. We had an intermittent power cut for the entire day, which meant lots of candles and romance but no internet. My apple flapjacks were just cooked when the power went off again in the evening, which is a plus. Did I mention that I made apple flapjacks? They are my new favourite breakfast food, especially when accompanied by 50p instant coffee from Sainsbury’s Basics. We’re eating like queens! On a serious note, we had a good long time yesterday to think about those who can’t cook, wash their clothes or heat their homes because their money doesn’t stretch to a coin in the meter.

Today I am going to treat you to some multimedia.

Here is my second shop from Sainsbury’s, which came to £14.25:

Look at all the nutrition!

Look at all the nutrition! Peppers, cauliflower, mixed root veg, bananas, soya milk, lentils, baked beans, chopped tomatoes, curry powder, mixed herbs, allspice, honey, instant coffee, plain flour, vinegar, kidney beans, mild cheddar, white rice.

Now, Sainsbury’s Basics is awesome. The cheap mixed veg pack is going to last us for ages, and their 35p mixed herbs are a revelation. Unfortunately, I did notice a couple of things that seemed wrong to me. First of all, there are no lentils in the Basics range, presumably because poor people don’t eat lentils; despite them being a cheap and healthy source of protein. Secondly, and most disturbingly, all of the Basics products are on low shelves, often the bottom shelf, which I recognise is a good way to make people buy the expensive stuff at eye level. The effect on shoppers, however, is that those who are strapped for cash have to practically crawl to get their shopping, and after kneeling on the floor for the best part of an hour, phone/calculator in hand, I felt quite deflated. I also had to ask the cashier to tell me if I was going over £15 at the till, because that’s all I had. The look he gave me was the same one I used to get at the Jobcentre. Why do we treat people this way, just because they have a little less money?  Personally, I pity the other shoppers for not realising how much money they could save just by buying the Basics range.

I’m not going to post every recipe I make on here, but if requested I can detail the ingredients I’ve used. Below is the lovely leftovers dinner I made for myself last night (the other half was getting well fed at Mirfield on retreat):

IMAG0014

Chickpea Fritters with peas, cauliflower and tomato sauce

You know what your mother told you about wasting food? There are children starving, in Britain, and so help me God I will never waste another morsel of food. There was too much water/tomato juice in Thursday’s pasta bake, which my partner drained off into a mug. This, thickened with flour and butter (a roux, if we’re being fancy) made a lovely tomato sauce. The chickpea fritters were a mixture of leftover hummus (technically chickpea dipping sauce, because I added too much water) and flour, with some more lemon juice thrown in for flavour. This made a gnocchi-like dough, which was very filling. I fried the fritters in oil over a high heat. A few steamed scraps of cauliflower and some peas, and there you have a yummy dinner. I would only add that if you do try this at home, add whatever herbs and spices you fancy, because I didn’t have any and that was the only thing the fritters could have done with more of. I do now have herbs and spices, which is very exciting. I miss my seasonings most of all!

An update on the soda bread front: My second loaf is in the oven now. It is stupidly easy to make, just ask Jack: http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/07/02/airy-fairy-easy-peasy-soda-bread/

I cannot overestimate how awesome this bread is. I have just bought plain flour and malt vinegar, both very cheap. Any vinegar can be substituted for the lemon juice in a soda bread recipe, and I can testify that it’s cheaper (as recommended by a kind commenter on this blog). Any milk, including bog-standard soya milk, will do for the recipe as well.

I will leave you with some more multimedia, which has nothing to do with anything:

IMAG0011

Look! A tiny coffee-drinking giraffe!

Have a nice day,

Eleanor 🙂