Saturday, May 3

The Delicate Subject of

These days no subject seems to be taboo with mainstream programmes on TV about everything – did any of you see the one about ladies front bottoms this week??
Anyway I thought I would bring up the touchy subject of our food bills. Regardless of our chosen destinations be they Tesco’s or the farmer’s market all of us must have noticed prices going up.
For a while now I have been trying to get my own bill down; I feel like I’m swimming against the tide but certainly not buying convenience foods makes a difference but if you are time poor or like myself not always able to cook from scratch what can be done to keep the housekeeping from getting out of control?
Something I am guilty of is buying too much food and I think that now most of us do our food shopping on a weekly basis that is common.
How do you manage your larder?
Rather badly. As I’ve said I have a tendency to buy too much and some things do spoil…
Do you eat the same things?
Yes and no – both of us have a high boredom threshold so I like to rotate meals as much as I can but say something like sausages come up on the menu every other week
Do you use a list?
Do you stick to the list?
Do you limit fruit and veg?
No, we get through loads of it….even Harry loves his fruit and veg fix
Do you cook a main meal every night?Yes, a meat and 2 veg type of meal is made I’m afraid….

How much do you spend?It does vary – but I would say £70 - £90 per week for 2 of us and Harry.

The other thing I wanted to touch upon is values.
I don’t wish to judge others for their choices BUT I don’t wish to be judged in return.
Hugh and Jamie highlighted the plight of chickens – but there are families on the breadline that don’t have a choice but buy them. I feel privileged to be able to have the choice in the quality of produce I eat……….
I value quality food, food that has been produced humanely not just for the animals but also the farmers and producers; to afford good quality food I forgo other things.


  1. The bodies programme was very...erm ..well just very! But I did watch it so I can't be too prudish I suppose.
    I have been looking at ways of making my budget stretch as the price of the basics goes up - butter, pasta etc. Like you I prefer to buy food that has been produced humanely which at the moment means eating less meat. The only way I manage to not throw food away if we've not used it in time is by having a rough meal plan for the week, otherwise I find somethings festering at the back of the fridge at the end of the week.

  2. My Grandma could make a joint of meat last all week and she had such a large family too.
    Maybe this rise in food prices will make us all think twice before being wasteful...I know that I am guilty of that.
    Must try harder!

  3. as strict vegetarians we do not have the large expense of meat in our shopping budget - we also plan to have a very large veggie plot again, we use the Eco wash balls which saves a huge amount on detergent, natural cleaners - lemons, salt, bicarb etc (now a true convert!)and we shop often for little as Stephen passes the shops on his way home from work - so no extra miles and waste of very expensive petrol.
    i think if we all truly think about what we use and waste we can reduce the cost to us and to the planet.

    as for families who insist on buying eggs from caged hens and battery chickens - shame on them - if they cannot afford to eat chicken as often as they like unless they eat one that has been force fed growth stimulants, kept in cramped dark containers and then slaughtered for our greed - then maybe they should consider buying just one free range hen once in a while and eating a cheaper option such as pasta on other nights.
    the fact that so many innocent animals are bred and kept in such awful conditions just to feed some persons fat greedy face..... well it makes my blood boil.

    sorry - rant over
    *stepping off my soap box*
    this is my own personal opinion which i generally keep to myself :)
    t x

  4. I'm with Tracey!!! I'm working to educate myself on my food choices. I agree that I would much rather have more expensive cruelty-free meat and eggs less often. Food prices are shooting up here. There are lots of good, cheaper cooking options but people need to make the effort to learn how to cook from scratch and to make good choices. That is the challenge. For me that seems quite exciting, but I'm sure that is not the case for many people. Convenience is a way of life in the modern world, and I have to admit, I am happy to reach for convenient options when I'm tired after a long day at work. I could get up on my soap box too and have a rant about making babies when you can afford them, but I'll probably start offending people. The programme about front bottoms hasn't come here yet. I'm sure it will. XXX

  5. That's very odd - we've both posted with a food theme over the weekend.
    We consider ourselves very lucky here as we have the space to grow our own friut and veg, have chickens and even a few sheep if we so choose.
    Not sure what Jamie and Hugh have been saying but I do believe that everyone has a choice when it comes to food.
    I've always been a big Jamie fan. We cook good wholesome food each night and we have him to thank for it. Over the years he has inspired us both to be adventurous in the kitchen and to cook from fresh. In the UK you could get whatever you wanted all year round. Here, it's very different. Whatever is in season is what we have to buy and I must admit to liking that. It makes seasonal fruit and veg really special and a huge treat.
    Feeling very homesick for Rustington today for some reason. We're battening down the hatches, stocking up on pumpkin and waiting for winter to start.
    Love to the 3 of you, Al x

  6. Anonymous11:30 AM

    Again you bring out the opinions in people - what ever next???
    I'm all for it - as a vege who tends to just NOT go there when asked "why are you a vege?" - its refreshing to hear people dare to speak of the way of life that dare not speak its name for fear of the onslaught of justification for meat eating....Its funny I never ask people why they eat meat - why do they care I don't?
    I must go I have to do my online shopping...I am trying bioD cleaning products from Sainsury's.
    The 'N' XX

  7. I think this is a really interesting post and comments.
    We are not vegetarians - we eat meat 3 - 4 times a week and I am very bolshy about where it comes from. We are very lucky as we have space to keep chickens and pigs and can then swap pork for lamb and beef reared by friends.
    If I could not guarantee this supply we would probably be vegetarian.

    Going through your list (which I thought a good one) - I am terrible with the larder - everything in our present kitchen is stored in under counter cupboards - you have to crouch down and rummage so things get half eaten and then lost. Our new kitchen (ha ha) is just going to have larder shelves so that I know what is there.
    Do we eat the same things wek after week - adults don't, children tend to. That probably answers the question about seperate meals too. We eat the same things together about 4 times a week, the other nights are divided by brownies/guides/horseriding etc.
    I use a list and keep to it and find that saves 30% - if I didn't have a list I would buy tons and not have anything to make meals.
    We don't limit fruit & veg, we cook a proper meal every night though Brownie bound child often has sardines on toast
    We spend about £80 a week but that is skewed as we have a lot of meat in the freezer and in the summer it is less when the garden produce kicks in.
    This also doesn't count alcohol . . .
    The problem with the increases in food prices are that it seems disproportionately effecting staples like rice and pasta and welfare items like free range eggs. People who think about their food spending most are facing the highest change.
    Didn't see the bodies programme - for which I am grateful.

  8. we feed our kids quorn when they want a junk food fix - but we've also managed to get them eating rabbit and pheasant and other local wild foods to try and give them a conscience about where there food comes from, but the biggest change for me was learning that eating too much is wasting food as much as throwing it away- because it does more harm - people seem to think its crime to be hungry but it helps you appreciate food more

  9. I find that if I shop weekly I waste a lot: "don't fancy that today, can't be bothered to cook" type syndrome. I shop three maybe four times a week and that seems to work for me.
    Don't have a freezer anymore either because it just turned into a dumping ground for all that food I didn't feel like cooking. Also I found that I would buy reduced stuff to go in the freezer. When the freezer died I discovered that most of those "bargains" had never re-emerged from the freezer.

  10. This is indeed a very interesting topic. I have to agree that with the busy lives we lead there is a tendency to shop less but buy more. Which in turn leads to discarding a lot of spoiled food.
    I have found that if I try and do a menu for the week by wednesday I already have the can't be bothered to make that tonight mentality. Not really sure what the answer is, other than trying to plan better. I am really enjoying all the responces here, they are giving me some more ideas, thanks.

  11. Personally the very thought of the poultry industry makes me physically ill ~ I will never comprehend how SOME people can oversee suffering for money. Animals mean no more than a carrot in the field. It's all hidden away from us and covered in cellophane. Of course, this is just my view. All any of us can do, is to perhaps give our food a little more forethought and do the best we can to buy the best quality we can afford!

  12. I totally agree with you about the cost of food going up. The prices have suddenly jumped so much. We don't eat much meat only chicken and I alway try to buy organic and free range if possible.

  13. Brilliant post and great that you are so honest too - fed up with people who claim to do the right thing all the time and even more fed up with those who judge others (coo, off on one tonight Pipany!). We are frantically budgeting here and you are so right - food bills are going up and up xx

  14. Interesting subject!
    I've seen my weekly shopping bill jump from about £70 to just over £100. And it seems to go up more each week, with staples like eggs and bread jumping up 20 or 30p in just a week.
    I now buy my free range eggs from the butcher. They're 80p for 6 large eggs. I also buy one of his large free range chickens once a fortnight. It costs around £7 and makes 4 meals plus stock for 3 people which is a bargain I think.
    I tend to have a rough menu plan when I do the shopping, and shop online which also helps to keep the cost down.
    For a meat eating family (I don't eat meat, but the others do), we don't buy much meat. Something for Sunday, a meat pie in the week and sandwich fillings is pretty much it.
    I make quorn chilli, lasagne/bolognese and curry which we all eat. I also make most of our meals from scratch.
    Education is definitely the key to better eating habits. So many people nowadays don't know how to cook.
    Anyway, I'd better stop here because I could go on for ages on this subject! I think I might do a post about this on my blog soon.

  15. This is a hard one, and putting finance to one side.. I have to ask WHY!! are farmers still producing battery products, it can only be down to us!! eating products that use these battery eggs and most shop bought cakes, like most ready made chicken meals, and take away. I can only say...we are a huge population and we all over eat, just look at our body mass, look down the average street, and yet we buy more...we throw away more, we eat too much, we are a mess...and in this whole process we mistreat and murder to fuel our ever growing appetites. Shame on us, may it turn to ashes in our mouths.
    Hugs for a conversation stopper
    Lynn xx

  16. This is an eye-opening post, Lynn! I thought we had it bad over here with the cost of groceries, but WOW! We have a family of six (which includes two boys ages 12 and 13, so you can imagine their appetites these days)! Our grocery bill is approximately $200 per week (which raises eyebrows from most of my friends with smaller families). However that translates to roughly £100, not too far off from your own bill. I confess it is the same with gas (petrol) over here... so many are complaining of the rising cost of gas as of late, but over in Great Britain I know the prices far exceed what we are paying.

    We often eat "leftovers" the following night after a big meal; I wash most of our clothes on the delicate cycle to save on water and energy, and I always buy cage free eggs! =)

  17. Elizabeth6:27 PM

    I would agree with some of the other comments - planning a menu for the week does seem to cut down on food waste (although I can still be guilty of this). I always have a list when I go shopping - I'd come back with half of it otherwise - and I pretty much stick to it.

    As to the delicate subject of cheap poultry, I can't understand why chicken is still being produced under such disgusting conditions. I am not a veggie but rarely eat meat as I don't want to eat anything that is not free-range at least and preferably organic. Because I therefore can't afford too much meat I have mainly veggie meals. I'd rather never eat chicken again than eat chicken that has been factory farmed.


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