“Poor? Eat stale bread” … I was amused yesterday to see this news headline, (I’ll read anything these days so long as it isn’t about Australia’s upcoming Federal election) reporting Jamie Oliver once again making controversial statements during a Radio Times interview. What he actually said was “…The fascinating thing for me is that seven times out of 10, the poorest families in this country choose the most expensive way to hydrate and feed their families. The ready meals, the convenience foods…”.
Personally, what I find fascinating and perplexing is the richest families choose it also.
The article coincided with me making meatloaf for dinner only the night before. A goodly component of my meatloaf recipe is what would pass for stale bread. The G.O. and I don’t eat a lot bread but there’s always a loaf of sourdough in the freezer, which I use regularly as a cooking ingredient… bread & tomato salad, meatloaf, sometimes rissoles, meat sauce if I want it thick and unctuous, chicken stuffing, breadcrumbs, occasionally bread & butter pudding, plus the odd slice of toast with cheese, avocado or eggs for a weekend breakfast, and toasted sandwiches with pumpkin soup.
We eat white bread occasionally. When we drive up the coast we’ll hit the shops before the last leg to Taylors Arm at lunchtime with 6 hours of driving behind us, plus an hour or two more ahead cleaning and unpacking. The G.O. will look longingly at the white sliced loaves in the shop, so we’ll take one home to make cheese/sliced turkey & salad sandwiches with good butter, mayo & mustard, washed down with a cup of tea to keep us going.
But it’s white bread lust not love. Occasionally I’ll get an on-my-way-home-from-work call from the G.O. who asks are you near the shops? I feel like bread. I know he means the white sliced stuff, so I grab a $2.50 loaf because he will eat 2 or 4 slices then say this is awful stuff, and it will go in the bin, one of the few things we waste. I hate waste and could use it up but the bin is the best place for it.
The meatloaf of the night before comprised:
1 kg grass fed beef mince (aka ground beef) $10, from Marrickville Markets
half a small feta & olive pizza, $3.75, from left over $7.50 pizza saved from a takeaway & frozen for this purpose
6 slices wholemeal spelt sourdough, $1.50, from $5 loaf from local bakery
2 organic free range eggs, $0.58 each, from a $7 dozen from Marrickville Markets
4 slices organic bacon, $5.69 from Woolworths
40 gram packet of dried onions, $1.60 from Woolworths
2 Leggo tomato paste sachets, $0.535 each from a packet of 4 from Woolworths
Sub total $24.77
*4 remaining olives from the jar in the fridge door
*olive oil, approx. half a cup
*white wine, approx. 1 cup (left over sauvignon blanc which was too sweet for our drinking tastes)
*tap water, approx. half a cup
approx. 1.2 kg baked potatoes, mix of sweet and kipfler, cost $5.00 from Marrickville Markets
500 gram packet Heinz frozen baby peas, $1.99 from Woolworths (I gave the G.O. the choice of green vege – peas vs salad.)
*Beerenberg Caramelised Onion Relish $4.72 for 280 gram jar from Woolworths
*creme fraiche $6 for 500 gram tub from Marrickville Markets
Cost approx. $37 (*$5.24 rounding up and partial items) plus 60 minutes electricity for oven.
This fed us 10-12 portions: 2 dinners for 2 (generous servings for the G.O.), and 3 days of smoko-lunch for the G.O., so $3.08 – $3.70 per portion. It would easily feed an average family of 2 adults and 2 kids for 2 nights, and maybe a couple of sandwiches. I could have omitted or used cheaper bacon, and also cheaper mince, reducing the cost. Using the beef alone without the bread filler would have made it not near as delicious, nor as economical.
We’re fortunate. Our first consideration for food isn’t what can we afford? Meatloaf is not the cheapest meal we eat but it’s a favourite, simple & quick to prepare for a mid-week dinner, nutritious and versatile. Neither is it the most expensive.
Eat stale bread? We could do a lot worse.
There isn’t a lot happening in our life at the moment, and although it’s not my intention for elladee_words to become a food blog I’ve always blogged about what’s on my plate figuratively and literally. It’s been coming for a while but it feels like the G.O. and are shaking off the tentacles of food consumerism and taking a leap into food consciousness. It’s exciting. I cannot fully express how empowering it feels.
A couple of other interesting related food items:
Cost of Living in Spain: August 2013 from Marianne at East of Málaga
Chicken nuggets under the microscope… after watching this I’m so glad I’ve never eaten a chicken nugget.