Gransnet forums


Too poor to eat properly

(337 Posts)
Nannyto3 Thu 10-Jan-19 14:28:50

The media seems awash with the fact that families living on Universal Credit or who are otherwise disadvantaged can't afford to eat properly, with children going hungry.
I feel so sorry for people in this situation. But I do wonder just how much 21st century expectations of what constitutes a proper meal (and how to cook it) are to blame.

Years ago we, our mothers and grandmothers cooked most things from scratch, using cheap cuts and whatever was in season to keep costs down.

Even now I make a chicken stretch to 4 different meals for the two of us. I make soup every day out of whatever vegetables I have to hand. Mince is cheap and so versatile and features heavily in our weekly meals. I use my slow cooker on a frequent basis to produce cheap, nutritious meals.

I long to be able to tell families who are struggling just how easy it can be to cook good, wholesome food at a reasonable cost.

Lily65 Thu 10-Jan-19 20:47:41

Roundar waywe have alady giving outslow cookers

mcem Thu 10-Jan-19 21:10:23

Even taking on all of the above and credit to our virtuous and thrifty parents and grandparents. Why aren't we to blame if we didn't teach our children and grandchildren. I'm not an expert or interested cook but my 3 AC can all cook well from scratch as can my 21 and 18 year old GDs.
As a retired teacher it was my job to teach my own children to cook, while teachers are responsible for the maths, language, reading, science, etc, etc, etc.

mcem Thu 10-Jan-19 21:12:21

Ps agree that using foodbanks is a necessity and not a lifestyle choice.
(Sorry, Lily, don't understand your post!)

Nonnie Thu 10-Jan-19 21:13:32

Right, we should spend more on preventing poverty, that's us, not the government. It comes from our taxes and if the government pays out more we pay more taxes. How will we get people to vote for that? LibDems promised to put a penny on taxes to give to the NHS and people didn't vote for them. How do we persuade people to vote for an increase in welfare? Please don't castigate me, we don't pay enough taxes for all the things people think the government, any government, should provide. I don't have the answer.

phoenix Thu 10-Jan-19 21:18:26

A couple of years ago, we were in really dire straits (without the kindness of some GN members, our Christmas would have been very bleak indeed).

We would actually walk round Lidl with a calculator to see if we could have a small jar of coffee.

However, I was able to produce meals, chicken thighs (a large pack of which from Lidl were pretty cheap!) featured heavily, in things like chicken hotpot,1 thigh per person, but lots of carrots and potatoes,(We still have it sometimes now, but go mad with 2 thighs each!) as did things like macaroni cheese, and of course what became known as "random vegetable soup"!

But I think there may be 2 different issues here, yes, maybe some people really do not know how to cook from scratch, but also it may be that some others are just without funds while waiting for their benefits to be sorted?I

Lentil and bacon soup is filling, cheap and nutritious, but if you don't have the ready money to buy the ingredients, what can you do?

MissAdventure Thu 10-Jan-19 21:31:49

Buy nuggets and chips from Iceland?

GrannyGravy13 Thu 10-Jan-19 21:34:20

Teach home economics in school

mcem Thu 10-Jan-19 21:39:13

Again I ask, why is it yet another responsibility of schools? Parents? Grandparents? Where does their responsibility lie?

GrannyGravy13 Thu 10-Jan-19 21:51:33

Unfortunately many of the young have young parents who have not been taught the basics themselves.
Some come from broken families or have been through the care system. Whilst I agree in principle that it is not the schools responsibility in some cases it is the only constant in these young people’s lives.

Eloethan Thu 10-Jan-19 22:07:49

Some people are keen on referring back to the "good old days" when mothers and grandmothers cooked healthy, nutritious meals.

No doubt some people were comfortably off and lived quite well but significant numbers of people had poor housing and sanitation and also suffered from poverty-related diseases such as rickets, TB, bronchitis, etc. It was not all rosy, and the current increasing numbers of people on the breadline is starting to affect people's health once more.

Perhaps it suits some people to shrug this off on the grounds that these are merely "excuses for the lazy" but my own feeling is that the decisions made by this government, such as cutting benefits and making them more difficult to access, and starving local councils and vital services of cash plays a very large part.

I also agree with those that say the cost of housing is having a severe impact, even for people on average salaries.

In April 2017 the Sun - hardly a left wing rag - reported:

"BRITS renting outside of London now spend more than half of their disposable income on rent.

"The average rent in the UK now stands at £761 a month, with those in London forking out an eye-watering £1,879 for a place to live."


"With rent prices rising by 63 per cent in the last ten years, house prices inflating and continued low interest rates, it is becoming harder and harder for anyone to put away enough cash to get on the property market."

lemongrove Thu 10-Jan-19 22:16:23

In any case, food is food.It doesn’t have to be home made lentil and chicken carcass soup.Protein, carbs and a bit of fruit and veg is fine.Children have school meals at lunchtime.
I had a poor upbringing with a Mother in full time work.
Meals were often a meat pie and canned soup, chips, or just cheese on toast and a banana ( suited me!) It’s all food.
Neglected children are another matter entirely.

EllanVannin Thu 10-Jan-19 22:33:49

Growing up I had pilchards on toast, beans on toast, tomatoes on toast, mushrooms on toast. Sardines on toast. Mince on toast. Meat paste sandwiches and mum used to go to the fish shop ( for fish pieces for the cat ) ahem, complete with large flakes for fish cakes with home-made chips. Then there were the stews.
Dripping on toast ( when there were decent cuts of beef )
We lived like Lords hahahaha. These were obviously before pay-day meals.

Imagine giving kids pilchards on toast !

MissAdventure Thu 10-Jan-19 22:46:57

We eat a lot of toast. Cheap and cheerful, and reasonably healthy.

Jalima1108 Thu 10-Jan-19 22:48:03

Pilchards on toast would be quite nutritious - I was thinking that it is better than a cheap pizza!

MissAdventure Thu 10-Jan-19 22:50:10

I took a tin of pilchards to put in the food bank box today, strangely enough.
Brain food!

Chewbacca Thu 10-Jan-19 22:54:21

Hungry children 'eating from school bins' in Morecambe

MissAdventure Thu 10-Jan-19 22:57:08

When my daughter left school and we had both started new jobs, we had to work a month in hand.
She had to take bread and butter for her lunch because we had nothing to put in it. grin

EllanVannin Thu 10-Jan-19 23:11:28

Sometimes we had pilchard salad just to vary it. Aunty in the IOM used to send us a box of kippers and some Manx butter.

A rabbit for 1/6 from the butchers for Sunday roast.
Looking back, we ate very well indeed in the '50's compared to present day.

MissAdventure Thu 10-Jan-19 23:15:03

I think perhaps there wasn't so many options of cheap, stodgy, filling food in the 'olden days'.
Its probably cheaper to buy a happy meal from MacDonalds than to make a casserole.

Jalima1108 Thu 10-Jan-19 23:16:15

We had a lot of home-grown food.

People now say there is no time but DF worked long hours, travelled by bicycle to work and still managed to provide much of our fresh vegetables, fruit and flowers from the garden and his allotment.

MissAdventure Thu 10-Jan-19 23:22:29

Do you think a lot of poor people have gardens?
I'm not saying they don't, but I've never had one, and I'm not the poorest person I know. Almost, but not quite.
I still do grow things in pots..

Jalima1108 Thu 10-Jan-19 23:39:55

No, they may well not have.
Gone are the days of building houses (council or private) with those long, thin gardens but which were all turned over to vegetables to eke out post-war rationing.

MissAdventure Thu 10-Jan-19 23:44:49

I always think there should be some way of pairing up people.
Say, someone with a big garden who is struggling, with a family who could help out, grow some veg, and spend time doing outdoor, healthy stuff.
Its a win/win situation.
It would help with people who are isolated, too, to have contact.
Then they could cook what's been grown, and all enjoy a happy meal together.
I know that's really simplistic, when life isn't, but it would be so worthwhile.

Jalima1108 Thu 10-Jan-19 23:52:31

People I know were doing that - a local woman could not manage her very large garden and two couples took it over - the garden was kept in good order and they all enjoyed the produce.

MissAdventure Thu 10-Jan-19 23:56:27

I would like to be the minister for community inclusiveness..
An older person could teach how to cook from scratch, even just sitting and giving instructions..
There is so much scope to do just so much good for everyone.
I'm tempted to sing "Imagine all the people.. living life in peace" now.