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The great british menu - food poverty... AIBU?

(994 Posts)
Bogeyface Thu 11-Jul-13 20:25:40

I hate myself for thinking this but, AIBU to think that Lady Whatsername who said in the 90's that the reason poor people couldnt manage on benefits was because they lacked the ability to cook good simple nutritious meals, may have had a point? The way she said it was totally U and she was very sneery, but I cant help thinking that there might be a grain of truth in it.

Of the three families I have just seen in this program I saw what 2 of them ate in a day. one was a mother and daughter who's only meal of the day was a microwave burger each costing £1 each, and the other was a family where the children had fish fingers or nuggets and oven chips, while the parents had tinned veg.

£14 per week that the first family spent is enough for a bag of baking potatoes, some basics pasta, baked beans, passatta, a pack of frozen sausages, a bag of porridge oats, some cheese, some sandwich meat such as Haslet from the deli counter (35p per 100g in my tesco) and milk. The DD would be getting free school meals if I heard correctly about her age and their income. Far healthier, more filling and more than one meal a day!

The second family, again, for the price of nuggets, fish fingers and oven chips they could make a spag bol using basics ingredients that would feed them all well.

RAther than focussing on the cost of food, which is only going to rise, surely it would be better to focus on educating people who eat badly because the food they choose is more expensive than cheaper, healthier alternatives that require a bit of cooking knowledge?

mrsjay Thu 11-Jul-13 21:34:29

Aye I know malcom its hard but if you wanted too you could what about a hostel or the salvation army they do food for people maybe you could help out there

garlicsmutty Thu 11-Jul-13 21:36:11

Many families will not have cooking facilities now. Social Fund grants have been abolished - they used to cover moving-in basics. They've been replaced by loans, and you have to prove you can make the repayments. If you're already paying back an IVA or county court judgement, you won't get a loan.

AudrinaAdare Thu 11-Jul-13 21:37:12

Oh! I didn't know Mace was like nutmeg. That's just for cauliflower cheese imo but to each his own. You can tell I am from the mean streets despite my balsamic vinegar pretensions!

Badvoc Thu 11-Jul-13 21:38:32

I think the lack of choice on a tight budget would be deeply deeply depressing after a very short time.
Churches/sure start centres could do more IMHO.
There are so many church halls with cooking facilities...why aren't they offering free basic cooking classes?
I tried to get permission to do one at my local church.
Was told no.
It's so easy to cook pancakes for example...such an easy breakfast or even pudding. And filling too.
But how many young people know how to cook them?
Ditto things like scrambled egg on toast (cheap)
Baked potato and filling

MalcolmTuckersMum Thu 11-Jul-13 21:39:42

The more I read of this - posts like garlic's for e.g - the more I am so fucking depressed and outraged that this is happening in THIS country and in THIS day and age. It's beyond belief and our leaders, instead of prancing around practising looking well-fed and smug, should be hanging their fucking heads in shame.

Badvoc Thu 11-Jul-13 21:41:41

(I am not a wonderful cook btw but rather a family cook. I can do the usual staples and cakes)
I am always really annoyed on these threads when posters come in and tell everyone how great they are for being able to make a weeks worth of food from hairspray and dust. It makes me tired.
We don't all live near farmers markets or Aldis, or lidls. We can't all get to the reduced section at the supermarkets at the right time. Some of us live in villages where you have the huge choice of 1 shop
And there is nothing wrong with oven chips once a week!

mrsjay Thu 11-Jul-13 21:42:00


Badvoc Thu 11-Jul-13 21:42:19

Well they aren't Malcolm. In fact they are about to get another £6k raise. Bless them.

WorraLiberty Thu 11-Jul-13 21:42:43

I watched it with my 10yr old DS and we were very humbled by it.

When I think about low budget cooking from scratch, I think about throwing in a few herbs/stock cubes/pepper etc to help make a decent meal.

But most of those people didn't even have those basics in their cupboards sad

mrsjay Thu 11-Jul-13 21:42:50

oops caps locked sorry,

WorraLiberty Thu 11-Jul-13 21:43:32

Well said Malcolm

DoJo Thu 11-Jul-13 21:47:02

This programme made me angry - they seemed to be confusing being patronising with being helpful! Apart from anything, for the price of three chickens you could buy kilos of lentils and make so many more meals which would go a lot further. Why they all seemed obsessed with getting meat into every meal was beyond me, and I think it was a shame that they 'wasted' so much of their budget buying meat when they could have made it go much further. I can make about 15 portions of soy mince bolognese or chilli for less than £5, and they have the added advantage of being familiar, easy to freeze and can be paired with super cheap staples to make filing, nutritious and easy to prepare meals.

cozietoesie Thu 11-Jul-13 21:48:36

My paternal grandmother could cook up a storm. In fact she came from a family that grew or caught/fished for their own food and cut their own fuel. The only things the village bought from 'outside' were shoes, paraffin, spectacles and - extraordinarily, their greatest treat - shop biscuits.

Then she married and moved to the city. She still had all her skills. What she didn't have was any money.

mrsjay Thu 11-Jul-13 21:48:39

not everybody wants to eat soya and lentils though

Wallison Thu 11-Jul-13 21:48:42

I agree with you, Malcolm, that it is a shameful situation. The whole 'you can only get a loan, and you only get that if you've got the money to pay it back' situation is Kafka-esque in the worst possible way.

AudrinaA - the mace is instead of the sugar that some (lesser) recipes would have you add, to take away the acidity of the tomatoes.

But I think my point still stands that mince and tomatoes is not spag bol. It's mince and tomatoes. Fine if that's what you're after, but it's not an example of a meal that you can make cheaply, if you want to do it properly.

MacaYoniandCheese Thu 11-Jul-13 21:49:14

Spag Bol:

Olive Oil
Onions and/or garlic
Tomatoes from a can

Nice if you have them:



Leithlurker Thu 11-Jul-13 21:49:50

The change in Disability Living allowance to PIP, a totaly this government idea nothing to do with either parties manifesto or the need to save money, is actually going to make this situation much worse in two ways.
1. Instead of 3 levels of care needs only two will exist in PIP. The threshold to get the lower rate, will in fact be substantially more difficult to achieve than as is the case for DLA just now. So a typical example would be someone, a woman lets say with sever arthritis in fingers, wrists, elbows, neck and shoulders. Many women lend up like that as the spend a lot of their life lifting kids, heavy shopping, cleaning, doing other heavy work.

So this woman who under the old test would get some DLA because she would in all likelihood fail the cooking test as she would rightly say that lifting hot pans, chopping, grating, even stirring could all be unsafe as she could hurt herself. Now though under pip she will receive nothing as the cooking test is gone and although having all her needs, she will still be able to function enough as far as the dwp are concerned. She will just have to take her chances like the many other disabled people.

I said she would lose out twice, the 2nd is that the very point of the DLA a benefit that Mrs Thatcher brought in by the way, is to cover extra costs. So this woman, and many other disabled people could afford decent food, might even be afford treats, like fruit, or a pudding. But not now, less money to spend on food, less money to pay for heat, less money to help them pay for additional medicines or therapies. Malnutrition may well be the norm for many people. Get angry people if you don't and illness and disability visit you and you look round in vain for help, you will only have yourself to blame. No one will make a stand for you if your not prepared to make a stand for others.

MacaYoniandCheese Thu 11-Jul-13 21:52:05

Soy mince has very little in the way of redeeming nutritional qualities. Dried beans much better and SO easy it's almost ridiculous (but the power issue is still there) sad.

MrsDeVere Thu 11-Jul-13 21:53:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 11-Jul-13 21:55:11

Hear, hear Badvoc. Especially nodding at oven chips being fine - it's just potatoes and oil people, call them thinly cut roast potatoes if you must, but don't call them junk food.

manicinsomniac Thu 11-Jul-13 21:55:11

Of course it wouldn't be pleasant and healthy. But for some people (those with access to large supermarkets and a freezer) it is possible.


Tesco value bread, brown or white - 47p X 2
Tesco value cornflakes - 31p
Tesco value milk - 53p X 3
Tesco value pasta - 30p
Tesco value spaghetti - 19p
Tesco value chopped tomatoes - 31p X 3
Tesco value sweetcorn - 32p X 2
Tesco value frozen peas - 89p
Carrots - 78p for a week's worth
Tesco value frozen mince - £3 for a week's worth
Tesco value tinned peaches - 32p X 2
Tesco value butter - 98p
Tesco value vanilla icecream, 2L - 89p
Tesco value tinned pineapple - 32p X 2
Tesco value baked beans - 25p X 4
Potatoes - approx £1

Total - £14.72

MrsDeVere Thu 11-Jul-13 21:57:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 11-Jul-13 21:57:24

£2.40 for food for one day sad

I can and have lived on a tight budget in the past but I am quite a good cook not everyone can cook or can put food together you can eat well on a small budget but how on such little money I do not know

If you have good basic ingredients and some herbs/spices you can make food go much further but that costs

ShatnersBassoon Thu 11-Jul-13 21:58:46

I also had home economics lessons at school in the 90s. Budgeting for meals, how to make food go further, how to reuse leftovers, most economical cuts of meat etc. It was the norm to think about these things not very long ago.

StinkyElfCheese Thu 11-Jul-13 21:58:50

when we we lucky enough to get our council flat we had nothing really - kids had beds each and we have a very old telly . we moved in and there was no flooring - dirty (plaster paint not wipable dirty) mis matched tiled/concrete floors old filthy floorboards.

We have very very little spare cash and we had to wait for our decorating 'pack' which was a few tis of paint sandpaper and rollors and bruches ... what we actuallt needed was a bed for us and carpets

we have got bits and pieces of ebay and freecycle and it is now at the stage where I don't mind friends popping in.

but we struggle with food and after rent/council tax/water/gas/electric/phone/tv that's the only place to cut back on . I know we are having 'GOOD' month when I can buy a chicken and do a roast with fresh veg smile

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