Urban foraging

“Bye for now,” said a housemate recently. “See you soon.” No one knew how soon that would be, but the next thing he said was music to my ears.

“Help yourself to any thing I’ve left.”

His generosity, and that of other housemates who are indifferent to meal planning, resulted in my practically free lunch yesterday. Potatoes, a sweet potato, carrots and mushrooms were combined with my items from my own stores (leftover broccoli, a small piece of onion, gravy powder and a little cooking fat) to make a hearty bowl of goodness. This meal can’t have cost me more than 50p.

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I can’t abide waste, and the vegetables would have been left to go mouldy if I hadn’t used them accordingly. Waste averted and a lovely meal enjoyed.

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Pay day graciously arrives tomorrow and I am completely looking forward to it. I spent my last few pennies on a reduced loaf of bread this morning, but there is still pleasure to be found without costing a coin. I went for a wander this morning to pick up a stack of books from the library, including more WW2 material. I got stuck into these accompanied by a free Waitrose coffee, courtesy of my loyalty card.

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Simple pleasures don’t cost the earth, but I will feel more at ease when my bank balance looks healthier. Roll on Thursday!

Ging gang goolie goolie

I’ve been having a busy time lately. I’ve been rising from bed in the dark and going to sleep in the light. My body clock is just starting to realign itself again and I thought it was high time for a post. Last week, when my working hours were not corresponding to my natural rhythm, I didn’t feel like doing much. Gaming didn’t appeal, I didn’t have the patience for craft and aside from Bake Off and Doctor Who, there was little to grasp my attention on the television. So I picked up a book.

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(Apologies for the glare in the photo)

This was a glorious find from the library. How The Girl Guides Won the War by Janie Hampton was a twee and sometimes shockingly truthful account regarding Brownies and Guides during World War Two. I must admit, I didn’t realise the extensive work that was performed by these young girls. I feel it should have more acknowledgement than just one book, even though this book is a delightful read. I thought Hampton wove the accounts of former Guides with her own research seamlessly. I was a Brownie during my younger years and certain recollections made me smile, as I too remember singing songs and playing Tag at Brownie Camp. But I also learnt a lot from this text, including the state of various occupied territories. I knew there was stark poverty and starvation in post-war Europe, but I didn’t quite realise the extent until Hampton describes the Dutch roasting tulip bulbs to eat. It certainly added a whole new dimension to my WW2 knowledge.

I would recommend this book to any history buff, any girl guide and anyone else who likes a good non-fiction book.

 

PS I hope to return with more regular posts now that my work schedule had calmed down.

Cleverly cunning?

This weekend just gone, the wanderer returned. My chap had been trawling Europe with two of his closest friends, and after twenty four days of adventure, returned to his sanctuary in Southampton. My oh my I was delighted to see him. I was even more delighted that he brought food with him. Bacon bought by others doesn’t count towards my ration does it? Is it deceptive and underhand, or simply making the best of a kind gift? Ultimately, this is not a deprivation exercise and I can allow myself to be cunning to acquire certain foodstuffs. I know from my research that food as gifts was quite common during wartime.

Today is Monday which means time to purchase supplies.

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Milk – ration, £1

Ham – ration, £1

Cooking fat – ration (to last three weeks) 75p

Coleslaw – off ration (I count it as vegetables) 70p

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Apples – off ration, £1,75

Carrots – off ration 18p

Cucumber – off ration 69p

Sultanas – 8 points, £1.69

Ciabatta bread – off ration, reduced to 99p

 

In my first week of eating in this manner, I still had a fairly robust stock of food behind me. The pasta has since dwindled, I have no tins remaining and I’ve used my entire points allowance for this month already. Don’t get me started on the sweet ration, although you will be pleased to know I still have some left! That’s a big deal for me!

I do however have the luxury of a freezer, which is going to come into its own this week. It was disappointing that there were no reduced g-f loaves or rolls this shopping trip, and the greengrocers was closed by the time I arrived after work. But this experiment is all about making the most of what you’ve got and eking out the pennies. I’m determined to at least last the month on the wartime diet.