It’s becoming a rarity for me to stick to the blog posts I have scheduled for the week.
Once again, today I was taken completely off track by something I saw over at Facebook. But can I find it? Alas no! When I do I will share it on my page.
There was a story about a mother who claimed she was too poor to eat properly. Overweight, she commented she cannot slim down as she ‘can’t afford a gym membership’.
I’m not sure that, generally, UK society truly knows real poverty. I cannot say for sure, as it’s impossible to know every persons circumstances.
But what I do know is that, historically, there was the possibility of literally starving to death in the UK.
Even those who were able to work, and earn a minimal amount of money, weren’t guaranteed that a decent meal would be served that evening, if at all.
As soon as I saw the Facebook post, I was reminded of a scene in North & South where a small boy tells the master, John Thornton, he hasn’t eaten, because although ‘Mary went to the butchers’ she didn’t bring anything back (‘nothing fit for a dog even if you’ve got money in your pocket’).
“I’ve got aquainted with a strange sort of chap…as I happened to be passing near his house one day…and saw such a miserable black frizzle of a dinner – a greasy cinder of meat” John Thornton (North & South Elizabeth Gaskell 1855)
The quote above is from the Elizabeth Gaskell’s book and depicts the same scene – the book and dramatization are quite different. But the message is the same.
My mother was a small child during WWII. Very often she gives thanks for how she was fed by her parents, but expresses regret that other children went hungry.
So, with all this in mind – I headed on out to our local butchers with a very crumpled £10 note.
There’s always something fit for the dinner table at our butchers!
Returning with 2 very large chicken breasts, 2 leeks, 2 potatoes and a huge onion.
And £5 change.
A quick chop and dice…
I loaded up my slow cooker. You can see it on my Instagram today (look right)
By dinner time we will have a hearty, frugal, simple, nutritious chicken and leek stew with plenty for the family, and most probably a leftover lunch for tomorrow.
(If you’ve seen North & South you’ll understand why I chose stew today – continuing a theme!)
The last time I cooked this up, two friends who came by said how great the house smelled!
Do you have any firm family favourites for a fiver? Please do share!
Don’t forget it’s open house here tomorrow, and I’ll be dishing up some leftover stew!