I was given this little book today: "Meals to make ends meet". It's a production of the 614 project in Melbourne, a service designed for people affected by homelessness, addiction, poverty and mental health issues.
To be uncomfortably honest, I laughed at it. The ideas and recipes inside are well intended but woefully inadequate to make a real difference to people who are struggling with real poverty. One of the people who have written little welcome blurbs says we will get through this. I laugh at that, too, because the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer but I don't think we can "get through" because there's no end in sight. Vive la revolution I want to say but as far as I can see, la revolution est mort.
Anyways, I wasn't here to talk politics (except that everything we do is an act of politics) I was here to say that there isn't a dish in the book that I don't make (except scones, I have made them only a handful of times)
jellied fruit juice
Do you have favourite cost cutting measures? What pre-pay-day meals do you like best?
I suppose I lost the beginning of that comment. We are not hungry. We don't lack food of any kind. However, When I run out of apples or bananas, I perceive I am suffering! We do have balanced meals, fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables. Because we are both diabetic, we don't eat much pasta or rice or even potatoes. We have plenty yet we are careful and eat simple meals and eat all leftovers. Most meals are baked in the oven.ReplyDelete
I know that we are lucky to have multiple means of cooking and a freezer to store raw meats and cooked meats.
Actually, luck has nothing to do with our fortunes except we were born to circumstances that have helped us to be prepared. Even though we are both physically disabled, we do well with our health.
We often eat the same meals for three or four days in a row. Most of the time, we are okay with this.
Our simple meals do not require special skills or recipes. But, if the desperately poor do not have simple pots, pans, cooking utensils, cooking means (heat or electricity run stoves), water, storage of fresh food or meat, means to store leftovers or ingredients, then a book won't help them.
We are seeing a rise in the working poor who are pouring up to 80% of their earnings into keeping a roof over their heads so these people may have utensils, pots etc left from better days. I always make the assumption that people who are struggling have already cut their food budget, after all it's the one thing where we usually have some wiggle room.Delete
I have noticed that you seem to eat well on a budget. You also have realistic expectations
So what is savoury mince? I think mince is ground beef. Mostly, I bake chicken in the oven with raw vegetables--carrots, potatoes, squash, zucchini or whatever raw, fresh vegetables we have. I have a crockpot for easy meals--beans, soups. I also have put the chicken and vegetables in the crockpot instead of baking them. Are jacket potatoes baked potatoes? I have only had tuna is a hot meal once. I prefer canned tuna in a tuna salad to eat with bread in a sandwich or with lettuce.ReplyDelete
I make a taco soup that only requires cheese, ground meat and cans of ingredients. But, that would seem beyond the means of a homeless person.
Even my simplest meals with few ingredients are probably beyond many persons.
You're right, mince is ground beef. Savoury mince is mince cooked up with onion, carrot, tomato paste. I made it at school as a recipe in itself but this book uses it as a base for a few different styles of meal. Jacket potatoes are baked potatoes with a filling.Delete
Some homeless people have a camping set-up with cooking facilities but I think even then, cooking is probably low on the priority list
Maybe my basic meal is too fancy. But, it is not something that takes expensive ingredients or spices, plus a variety of vegetables can be baked with the meat that is inexpensive meat. I like meat, but I can do without if I must for a few meals. Soup is not the first thing that comes to mind for a cheap meal. But, that is just me.Delete
It has been a long time since I had to worry about every penny spent on food, but there was a time when every cent and bite matteredReplyDelete
I think my favorite meal for hard times is soup, because it can be bits and pieces of just about anything combined to make something sustaining.
Yes, I don't have to worry like I once did, either but I still cook a lot of low cost things just because it's what I've always done. I love soups and I especially like that they are a great way to eat stacks of veggiesDelete
I am so tuned into this issue Kylie. I watch the news and every night they talk about those 'doing it tough' but I don't hear enough about those who it isn't affecting. And while I am here I'd like to say I think the reserve bank has kind of got it wrong - accepting they only have one lever with which to bring down inflation. Interest rate hikes aren't affecting the rich - they are sailing through this fine. Big companies like the banks, Qantas, Coles, Myers and Woollies are making more profit than before this crisis kicked off and their rich share holders are benefitting. But I also hear people whingeing that they have had to take their kids out of private schools. If they think that is doing it tough they have no idea. We are so lucky - we own our very modest shed-house - but we also don't indulge in retail therapy. So I'm not sorry a lot of people are getting a reality check. It is sorely needed in what has become a very entitled society.ReplyDelete
It's the people right at the bottom of the pile that are really suffering and I'm not one of them, but I think about them all the time. We need a circuit breaker in this once fair country, and I don't know what it is. Government is beholding to big business and can't make them pay tax like they should. It's a mess and I think 20 years of Liberal government is why we are here now.
You talk of the people pulling kids out of private schools and I think this book is probably best used by people like that: the ones who have been able to have a very nice lifestyle and have had to down grade and they probably dont ggo that puts uso to homeless services.Delete
My husband (who I'm separated from) and i own the house I live in and so one day I will have to leave it I guess but it's only our discipline and hard work 25-30 years that puts me in this nice position. I'm not well off at all but I have a roof over my head.
I agree, too many years of liberal government and too many selfish voters. May it bite them in the bum
I remember in the seventies that my mum turned over half the garden to growing fruit and veg - the other half was our playground. Everybody was at it - turning their gardens into veg patches - but these days people can't afford homes with big enough gardens to do this, and new builds seldom have big enough plots either.ReplyDelete
I grew up semi-rural, which meant we roamed the countryside and did a bit of scrumping - I came home with a fine haul of rhubarb one time - but it was mostly cabbages and apples.
I'm still keeping within my budget so far - but it is getting tight, and I do flinch at the price of things.
Free apples and cabbages are better than nothing I guess :)Delete
nobody here seems to cook rhubarb anymore.
And you're right that new builds are short on space, a lot of people wouln't have room for much more than a pot of herbs
Luckily we don't have to worry too much about cost-cutting measures as we have a healthy income but I guess using the cheaper own-brand foods in supermarkets is the first step. Also not eating meat which is more expensive than other foods.ReplyDelete
Re the politics, I agree the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer and that's not going to change any time soon as politicians are nervous about taxing the rich more heavily.
I agree that eating vegetarian can be a lot cheaper than eating meat. Some people get caught up with expensive fake meats which is very pricey but a few lentils can go a long wayDelete
Favourite cost cutting measures? Don't waste anything. Try not to throw anything away. When preparing food, look ahead. Think about tomorrow and the next day. Have a couple of simple but nutritious vegan meals every week - without the presence of meat or fish, the meals will be significantly cheaper.ReplyDelete
Those are all fundamental to good management, yesDelete
Well, I guess the vegan part isn't quite so fundamental but it makes good sense.Delete