Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Was Jamie Oliver right to tell people to eat stale bread?

Was Jamie Oliver right to tell people to eat stale bread?
Photo reproduced from the Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/news/jamie-oliver-tells-poor-to-eat-stale-bread-8785062.html
Well if you read the article, it's not quite as simple as that. I do have some sympathy with him. I said to my mother recently, that if the reason people eat the food they eat was only down to cost not lack of knowledge, there would never be any lentils in the supermarket, they would be flying off the shelves and let's face it, dried pulses aren't on everyone's shopping list.

But saying that "poor people can't cook lentils" (which isn't universally true anyway) it is only part of the picture. We are not respectful of our food. We don't carefully think about what we're going to cook and eat. We're wasteful and this applies to the richest and the poorest in society.  From the people who say they have "no time" and shop impulsively as hunger takes them to people who see the buy one get one free offers as a bargain, then throw half away. Perhaps part of the problem is that food is, or has been too cheap? What I mean by that is I have a loaf of sourdough in my freezer. When I do get it out to eat it, I will warm half of it through in the oven to have with some home made soup and save the other half as toast. I will probably use the stale ends for stuffing or coatings. When you have bread that good and you paid decent money for it, you respect it. When you have a loaf for 47p, the crusts and maybe half the loaf will end up in the bin.

So I don't think it's only about lack of skill or lack of money per se (although both are important) but also lack of respect for the food.

It got me thinking. Can I last for the rest of this week without buying any food? I should point out, I am low on food stocks right now (or at least that's my perception, certainly low on fresh items) and I was intending to do an internet food shop to arrive today but the supermarket I shop at had some computational difficulties so I didn't place my order. This challenge though has inspired me. Can I genuinely last for 5 days on a nutritional diet from the contents of my cupboard, fridge and freezer?  Can I do it in a way that doesn't mean I'm spending all of my free time cooking?  Can we eat well even if we've got barely no fresh fruit in the house?

Perhaps we all need to re-evaluate our approach to food and make the most out of what we have?
So rather than saying "let them eat stale bread" I think Jamie was saying "look, there is great food out there even from leftovers, let's use it!"

So I will keep you posted with 5 days of "I thought I needed to buy food" meals out of my freezer and cupboard but where I can I will also make use of anything else I can find or forage.

Tonight's lunch; dahl (from the freezer) served with a chunk of cucumber (I was in too much of a rush this morning to make a salad) and a small bag of chocolate biscuits (a rare appearance in my house!)  Nutritional rating; not bad, not fabulous due to the biscuits; maybe 7 out of 10?  Free food rating 7 out of 10 the dhal was left over from another night's tea but rather than throwing it away, I kept it for another time.



Tonight's tea; sausages (from the freezer) and some home made coleslaw. I didn't have any yoghurt in so I've made it just with low fat mayo from the fridge.  Nutritional rating maybe 7 out of 10.  Lots of fresh vegetables but processed foods with the sausages and mayo.  Not the end of the world and better than burger and chips though.   Free food rating rating 4 out of 10, the apples were approaching the end of their life but everything was bought intending to eat at some point.

5 comments:

  1. An interesting idea - I did similasr last week when I was waiting to be paid so we could buy more food.... some nice concoctions were created!! :)

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    1. What kind of things? Sometimes it's easy to get stuck in a cooking rut. Occasional shaking out of that, whatever the reason is a good thing. Just after I started to think about this post, a friend gave me a marrow at work. I am not generally a marrow fan, but how could I refuse free food this week? So the cogs are turning...

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  2. We eat leftovers all the time and we're not poor. I hate throwing anything away and when it's perfectly good food, there's no way it's being chucked out. Last night I took the roast potatoes that were a bit dry, and the roasted veg that everyone was a bit sick of, and made them into really tasty rissoles. Had I not told the family that it was all the stuff they hadn't eaten the day before, they would never have known.

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    1. I don't think there's anything wrong with eating leftovers as long as you do it safely. As Jamie implied, lots of delicious dishes have arisen from necessity; think of all of the dishes to use up bread. Panzanella is one of the things I think he was alluding to but there are so many delicious dishes from UK kitchens we've lost the art of making. Stuffing was a use for stale bread, why buy a packet mix when you can make it from something you were going to throw away? Bread pudding or bread and butter pudding; you can even buy bread and butter pudding pre made in the supermarket! Again, a way to use up food so what's the point in that? French toast; pay a fortune for it in a cafe or make it yourself from stale bread.

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  3. I hate throwing any food away so we eat a lot of leftover food. I quite enjoy putting different bits together and see what we end up with. We call them 'if its' as in if it's there then you can have it :-) Thanks for linking up to #ThriftyThursday

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