This week is the start of Live Below the Line week. People all over the world will be feeding themselves on the equivalent of what many families in extreme poverty have to live on every day.
For the people participating and raising money for charity, living on £1 a day is a choice they are making. and I wish them well and hope a lot of money is raised.
I hope they do not forget that for many it is not a choice but a reality. And while scouring the supermarket for the cheapest sausages they remember that they have the choice of pasta or rice and beans or spaghetti while for others there is no choice. It is rice, or rice. They don’t have the opportunity to see if pasta is cheaper in Tesco or Asda. And have never seen a tea bag.
So I am not participating, fully. I am going to track what I spend and am going to feed three adults on as little as possible. I am going back to an old favourite cook book published in 1987 called How to Feed Your Family For £5 a Day, by Bernadine Lawrence. Not for her plastic bargain bread at 47p or cheap frozen veg and a jar of pasta sauce. She advocates baking your own bread and cooking fresh, seasonable ingredients, providing healthy home cooked food.
My view is that at a time where more food banks are springing up to help more and more people who are having to choose to eat or heat, or believe that fast food is cheaper than shopping and cooking, the real issue in the UK is that so many people do not know how to cook. And I worry that this campaign is encouraging unhealthy eating by providing menus based around cheap sausages and plastic bread.
So I’m costing up my meals, cooking from scratch, using left overs, but I’m not taking part in the campaign.