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According to the Food Standards Agency, the recession might kill us.

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by modelmaker, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. modelmaker

    modelmaker Lead commenter

    They claim from a survey that due to increased food costs, more people are using up leftovers and food past its use by date.
    Has the recession changed what you would dare to eat in any way?
  2. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    Back in Crudsville when I had (sometimes quite literally) no money my diet was hot hard.
    I couldn't afford choice in food (some days I couldn't afford food). I had no storage facilities and very limited cooking facilities. ....and I had no credit card, only one small TV with no cable/satellite, on landline, one small PAYG mobile, no mortgage, no car, and I have never smoked.....I was physically run down, and was almost hospitalised on occassion due to illness brought on by my dire living conditions (and the council knew what those conditions were...they made 6-monthly inspections and close their eyes)....the choice to eat indifferent/poor food was not mine.
    I am lucky beyond belief that I managed to escape that situation. But I know that there are other fanilies still living in those sorts of conditions. Real poverty does exist in the UK.
    These days, I still live on benefits. However I now have cupboards and a fridge for storing food. I have a small cooker, a microwave, a slow-cooker....I can actually cook food! I have a warm dry home to live in. All of this means that I now have the choice and opportunity to prioritise food.
    Despite living on benefits, I eat mainly organic fruit/veg (from a veg box system which I find fits within a carefully controlled budget) and choose free range eggs and (small amounts) of ethically farmed meat......I still don't smoke, I don't drink much alcohol, have no pay-to-view TV (just freeview/freesat), no landline, still just a PAYG mobile, no car...,,if I chose to smoke or wanted a huge TV with umpteen channels I wouldn't be able to afford to eat as I do, and would be looking at the '3 cheese pasties for £1' option at the supermarket.....the thing is that today I have that choice.
    I have the advantage that I can actually cook. I was also brought up to use every last scrap and waste nothing.
    (I do actually have more money these days compared to Crudsville....I now claim lower rate DLA which really helps - but doesn't actually increase my food budget...but it does mean I can pay for things like supermarket trips to buy my food as well as meaning I can afford to heat my little flat enough to prevent the serious bronchhial attacjs I used to have)
  3. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    Oh Bethannie-you seem to have had a very hard life. It makes you appreciated what you have and not take things for granted.[​IMG]
  4. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Yes, indeed it does and for those people it is undoubtedly a struggle to eat well.
    You are a temendous example, Bethannie, as since your circumstances have changed, you show that it is possible to eat very well on a budget (I'm trying to say all of this without sounding patronising!). As you say though, you can cook and you don't have expensive vices such as smoking and the need for expensive gadgetry.
    All too many people below the breadline don't have the necessary skills or motivation to cook properly; many choose to spend disproportionate amounts of their income on alcohol, cigarettes and big televisions. Others without these needs still find it hard to make ends meet and for these people, given the choice between eating budget pasties and still heating their house and spending a tenner on ingredients for their own pasties yet living in a cold house, the choice is a fairly easy one to make.
    The comments I made above are more aimed at people who massively overstretched themselves when the econonomy was booming, and those who still feel the need to buy up the latest shiny gadget or go on expensive holidays all on credit, who then claim to find it difficult to afford to eat.
  5. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    By some modes of measurement maybe....but I also see my life as having been really blessed in many ways!
    I'm not sure that my last post was exactly clear....re-reading it I seem to have mistyped some words and can't for the life of me recall what I meant to write!
    Many people are finding things hard during the recession. What I was trying to say is that even if you are on a seriously limited income (contrary to what the government and the Daily Mail would have us believe, life on benefits is not cushy with all mod-cons provided by the state!) you <u>can</u> afford to eat. Obviously not lobster and prime steak for every meal...but you can eat and eat reasonably well. (Porridge for breakfast....Lentil Soup for lunch...Pasta and Veggie Sauce for dinner....maybe boring but cheap, reasonably tasty and filling!)
    The problem is that where there is real poverty, it is not merely an issue of having food. As I explained, you need to be able to store that food, prepare it and cook it. You need the knowledge of how to cook simple meals which sadly many people don't have.
    Maybe the recession will force some people to look at what is wasted (why throw away milk that is only slightly sour when it could be used in scones/bread?....why bin that last spoonful of chili when it could fill a baked potato for lunch tomorrow?)....and perhaps we will look more closely at dates on products - eating some foods after the best before date won't kill you, they just won't taste at their best (the clue is in the name....<u>best</u> before!)....I was always taught that if cheese and jam go mouldy it is perfectly safe to carefully remove the mould....if bread goes mouldy throw the loaf away ...never take chances with meat either!....(No doubt I'll now have some scientist telling me I''m putting my life at risk with the cheese/jam?!!!)
    I could launch into a polemic on the government cuts to benefits - in particular disability benefits - which I believe will result in death ( arguably they already have)....but this is the Cookery forum so maybe not!....But I do think that some basic education on food is necessary to help people make the most of their dwindling income,
  6. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    However if you are allergic to penicillin, it's best to bin them, the spores can lurk.
  7. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    Interesting about the bread.... why would you throw out the whole loaf? I just remove the slice/ chunk of bread that is mouldy... (to be fair it no longer really happens in our house - just when we were growing up and used cheaper 'value' bread I think)
  8. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    I don't generally have mouldy bread either...small loaves ...sometimes I'll freeze some....anything that goes try is quickly turned into bread(and butter) pudding.
    I was vaguely told that you can be fairly sure of removing all the mould from cheese and jam. But the mould in bread may be 'hidden'.
    I was told this by an old woman whose sagacity I trusted....I stopped believing Domestic Science teachers rules on healthy eating when she told me that my Mum was going to die because she ate raw pork! (I was an impressionable young thing - and Mum <u>did</u> eat raw pork...half/half mince ....maybe not the healthiest option (and she later switched to just beef for her tartare sandwich!)...but I was petrified she was going to die the very next time she ate any!)
    I'm quite happy for one of the sciency foodies here to tell me not to eat the cheese/jam (I am not allergic to penicillin!) or that it is fine to eat the bread.
  9. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I always throw a whole loaf away if mouldy for two reasons:
    1. The mould on bread seems more invasive and gets to more of the bread far more quickly than it does on cheese or jam, where it mainly only gets to exposed surfaces. Mould on bread can be harder to spot in the inital stages as well - a white 'bloom' could be mistaken for flour
    2. The smell of mouldy bread makes me heave. Just opening the bag and getting the waft in the face is enough to have me ditching the whole loaf.
  10. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    This is very true! As I say, its not really an issue for us any longer but I seem to remember it happening when we were kids.... saying that we were very rarely ill so it must have done us good!

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