My week of living below the poverty line: day one

November 24, 2016 23:06

Armed with my Live Below the Line information pack provided by Tzedek, and full to the brim of recipe ideas, and shopping list I set off for my local supermarket fiver in hand.

My task – to help draw attention to the 1.2 billion people who live in extreme poverty, where £1 has to cover a lot more than just food and drink each day.

With 32 charities doing the challenge I would take it on for Tzedek, the only Jewish charity and partner in the campaign. And money raised would go to help run projects in Asia and Africa where the focus is helping people help themselves.

Already panicked – (how pathetic) because the nearest sensible sized supermarket to me was the clichéd and ridiculously priced Waitrose - it didn’t take me long to realise my fiver would barely buy me a potato - let alone a basket of goods to last the 5 days needed.

So I made a half emergency, half anticipated phone call and enlisted the help of my mum, whose valuable advice and petrol drove me to Lidl in Tottenham and the precious spending commenced.

I browsed the aisles almost instantly changing my own hap hazard shopping style and instead of “oooh that gluten free pasta packet looks nice” it was “20p spaghetti? Result.”

Already I was learning I’ve been living beyond my means paying pounds for poncey pasta.

And what was usually an indecisive shop lasting a hour umming and ahing over what mozzarella I fancied, I was over and out in 20 mins.

I didn’t find myself straying for the packet of millionaires’ shortcake (which they had by the way at a fraction of the cost) or the snack sized New York style cheese cake as a treat for after.

I bought the largest sweet potato I have ever seen, cabbage, rice, carrots, chickpeas, baking potatoes, pasta sauce, porridge oats and onions, all for the bargain price of £4.82

I had 18p change which I factored into the cost of the tea bags that would get me through the next five days and off I went.

So far I had discovered my shopping habits need work and it probably is like they say, advisable to plan in advance before strolling round a supermarket hungry, but now the tricky part, cooking it.

To say I’m not a whizz in the kitchen would be an understatement, in my house I come back with the shopping and wait for them to magically turn into dinner.

But seeing as I was on this crusade on my own, down came the posts and pans and I set about making what turned out to be an edible possibly almost nice chickpea curry and brown rice.

I dished out my serving for dinner, had it with a nice cold glass of council juice (water) and lay on the couch, sufficiently full.

No there was no pudding and yes it was Sunday and usually that involves at least two puddings but I had a feeling, that ‘the feeling, you are missing out feeling,’ was going to be a reoccurring theme and part of the point.

November 24, 2016 23:06

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive