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back to article A real pot-boiler kicks off Reg man's quid-a-day nosh challenge

It's day one of the El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse's attempt to survive for five days on a fiver for food in support of Malaria No More UK. I have no doubt our elite team is rising magnificently to the challenge, having prepared their cunning survival plans well in advance. While I await news of how it's going, here's some of my …

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£5 is a small lunchtime snack for me.

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I shan't mention the traditional breakfast pork pie I had this morning, which was in no way delicious.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Thanks for not mentioning it, or bacon sarnies, and so forth.

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Anonymous Coward

Worked out I could live quite well dinner wise on £1 a day, and breakfast too. Sadly it left me starving between breakfast and lunch so I scrapped that plan. One day I'll work out a menu I can work with. Anyway lunch time, glad I'm not on the £1 challenge, feeling starved, good luck folks, but I hear chips calling my name.

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Stop

The rotters at work

Have bought a cake and keep offering me slices. I don't think it's in the spirit of the thing!

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Re: The rotters at work

It'll be beer later too I suppose

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Re: The rotters at work

I'm not sure what the price of beer in the UK is anymore but I imagine that 5 quid for a pint of really good beer would not be unheard of.

Now make it last a week.

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Devil

Re: The rotters at work

Neil Barnes,

I don't see the problem. As any good lawyer would tell you, you're within the rules. You're happily living on food you haven't paid for. The fact that it's cake that probably cost more than your entire weekly budget isn't your fault. After all, no-one quibbles about Lester and his free pork bone - this is just the same.

There, I've written your justification for you. Eat up your cake.

Unfortunately you've now failed the challenge. As although the cake is free, my legal opinion is worth at least £200. So you're over budget...

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Re: The rotters at work

actually... Sparty's advice, like the cake, can be considered freely given, since post-hoc billing of unsolicited advice is a bit of a Boo-Boo... :P

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Try harder!

Have a look at this:

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-22263706

And check out Jack Monroe in the Guardian.

You can also look for road kill while collecting the wood and maybe throw bits of wood at the wild life - something that used to be quite effective once upon a time here in the realm of Vulture South :-)

cheers

Andrew

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Re: Try harder!

When I lived south of the Pyrenees, I'd see people out collecting snails. Also wild asparagus, when in season. Here in blighty, as a kid we'd sometimes eat boiled stinging nettles when camping, but I think it was to prove that we could, rather than for any good reason.

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Re: Try harder!

Stinging nettles are a perfectly reasonable substitute for spinach and if I recall can make a decent herbal tea as well.

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Re: Try harder!

We used to gather stinging nettles - they need to be young ones, older growth is a bit stringy. Wrap them in a tea towel and run over it with a rolling pin to remove the stings, then you can pull the leaves off and use as for spinach. I'd like to say they have a delicate flavour, but I don't remember them tasting of much.

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Re: Try harder!

> I'd see people out collecting snails. Also wild asparagus, when in season

And mushrooms. And fruit from any trees not on private land. And shellfish.

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Re: Try harder!

I've had nettles served as a component of a soup in an expensive noshery, I've actually picked the nettles used. It's not a 'Wow' experience, more novelty, but not at all unpleasant.

Fruit from trees on private land were fair game when I was a young lad...the practice was called 'scrumping'.

Shellfish are a great resource if you have access to someone who actually knows what isn't going to kill you. Collecting them helps pass the time between snacks as well.

Mushrooms were a part of my diet in the 50's and 60's, collected on the vast grass expanses of airfields.

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Next year's challenge

Whilst lauding the aims, next year's challenge could perhaps be to see what the cheapest acceptably balanced diet would be. So rather than simply balancing your energy needs and a basic protein/carb mix, for one week at the lowest absolute cost, to actually see what can be done on a diet that won't give you scurvy, rickets, anemia or whatever after a couple of months?

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Re: Next year's challenge

Yup. I think Neil Barnes has got the most plausible long-term diet, having applied quite a lot of thinking to his cunning diet plan.

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Facepalm

Dogs

Why don't you eat the dogs and give your challenge an authentic edge?

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Re: Dogs

I'm bloody tempted.

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Re: Dogs

Haha, that would have been an amusing twist to Lester's plan. Use the budgeted food as bait for wild dogs and eat them instead.

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Anonymous Coward

but can you eat off £5 a month?

david cameron says: yes!

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Happy

Free food...

Learn to scavenge: on my drive to/from work each day there's always casserole-tastic roadkill pheasants and rabbits on offer - sometimes a Hare or even a Deer. [I draw the line at stopping for Badgers].

The River Cottage website has recipes for Grey Tree-Rats: it's entirely legal to trap them.. There's also wild garlic available in the woods right now; soon the riverbanks will be bursting with watercress, and a few weeks back I harvested a good crop of "Jew's Ear" fungi which though looking - well, like a withered human ear - do add body and flavour to a stew.

It's also the season for harvesting both dandelion-flowers and nettle-tops: flash fry them in a pan with a bit of oil and they make an excellent, nutritious Spinach-substitute.

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Re: Free food...

Unfortunately that's a bit of a false solution in such a crowded country; there's nothing like enough of that "free food" lying around for more than a tiny minority. The similar but uber-cheffy trend for foraging is already causing chaos in some areas.

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Re: Free food...

Ther urban types will just have to eat each-other then. Perhaps we could rekindle the idea behind "A Modest Proposal" ?

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Re: Free food...

go down food bank david cameron says its ok

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Facepalm

Re: Free food...

Given the average knowledge of your average bod about what is and is not (still) edible when found in "nature" , how to test for said edibility, and ways of preparing said food to maintain edibility... Especially bloody mushrooms....Really?!!

Might as well teach them how to play inverse russian roulette..

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Fry me a river

those eggs look near damn perfect!

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Re: Fry me a river

Yeah, I was pretty chuffed with those. Give me a couple of days and I simply won't care any more ;-)

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Re: Fry me a river

Lester,

For a change, can't you swap to scrambled eggs on toast later in the week? Toasted over your open fire, or done in the toaster, as laziness kicks in.

You could liven up your brekkie by doing different eggs each morning. Fried, scrambled, poached, boiled and french toast / eggy bread on day 5.

Here speaks a man who's very glad that our beloved government health advice is no longer to limit yourself to only 2 delicious eggs a week. Eggs are back to being good for you again. I'm still waiting for the official rehabilitation of the Jaffa Cake though.

Sorry I didn't join you, but I didn't have time to sort any of this out last week - and I'm off for a weekend of drunken licentiousness on Friday. Please give us a week or two more notice next year, and I'll have no excuse not to join the fun. I won't do a scary spreadsheet like Neil Barnes, but will try to be inventive.

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Re: Re: Fry me a river

Good man. Yes, perhaps some egg variety is in order. Watch this space.

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Re: Fry me a river

I find eggy-bread particularly unhealthily satisfying. I guess it lacks the perfect evil quality when only fried in olive oil, rather than properly artery-clogging butter. But it's great with stale bread - where toast without butter is less fun.

I believe you can do all sorts of poncing around with cinnamon and flour, and I need to experiment with this. But my Mum's way was to genrly mix 3 eggs with a fork plus some salt + pepper - then quarter the bread soak the bits in the egg for a minute, and straight into the pan. Maybe a quarter teaspoon onto the top of the bread in the pan, to soak more in before it's turned over. Eat, as you cook, alone or with ketchup.

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What's the point?

Lester,

I'm sure you'll say it's about raising awareness, and all that. Which is a good thing. Perhaps. As long as it changes someone's behaviour somewhere, and they aren't just more aware and then do nothing about it.

But for just one week, you can probably live off your own stored body fat (none meant, and I'm sure none taken) - as long as you have water to drink. So, you can happily live off nothing per day and just drink from your spring. But you'll probably have a stinker of a caffeine headache.

What about homeless people who probably don't have access to free drinking water (as they don't have a spring on their land)? And that's just in a rich Western European country.

What about people who don't even have any access to clean drinking water?

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Re: What's the point?

they should work harder if they want food and water.

cameron says there are enough jobs for everyone, and i believe him. he says everyone who wants a job can get one, if this means getting a zero hour contract as a part time cleaner 300 miles away then you do that because you dont DESERVE any better, scum.

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Re: What's the point?

Steve Button,

It's a fund-raising and awareness thing. I think it's valuable just for thinking about it. If nothing else, it can put some of our problems into a bit of perspective. And there's a lot that money can do for malaria. It was a very under-funded area in terms of vaccine research up until recently, now much improved, but a couple of quid's worth of mozzie nets and some education can save lives on their own.

It's pretty hard to solve world poverty with cash. But you can have a lot of effect on healthcare, for example. Which as well as just being a good thing in itself (people not dying of curable stuff and not being ill) - also helps with poverty reduction. Healthy people earn more, boosting their economies, making everyone better off. And are less of a burden on their families, who have spare capacity to get some education or get better food/water etc.

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Re: What's the point?

We've been over all this last year. It's about raising awareness and trying to raise a few quid so some poor soul doesn't catch malaria.

And no, no offence taken.

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Re: What's the point?

It seems to me that living-in-temporary-poverty challenges like this always get some criticism because apparently you have to really be permanently starving in order to raise awareness of starving people.

I guess it's a psychological thing. Usually when people are raising money for (say) cancer research, they don't go off and actually get cancer for a week. They do something else, like a parachute jump or cycle ride. So the homeless / hungry kinds of challenge are different because someone is putting themselves in the particular situation they are campaigning about - and then telling you what it's like.

So anyway, good on you. I shall donate.

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Re: What's the point?

"So the homeless / hungry kinds of challenge are different because someone is putting themselves in the particular situation they are campaigning about - and then telling you what it's like."

I suspect most people are already well aware of exactly "what it's like". Turns out it sucks. And is often quite death-y.

This particular "awareness" stunt is about malaria, not starvation. I'm not sure how picking an arbitrary weekly amount to spend on food helps either. £5 is more than a month's average salary in some particularly poverty-stricken countries – and spending said money in Spain and the UK, where the cost of living is actually quite high, doesn't signify anything of value either. So far, all I've learned is that you can buy 2 kg. of rice in the UK for less than it costs in Spain. Never mind that you have to get it back to Spain as well.

We know malaria isn't nice. It's called "malaria" – a name that literally translates as "bad air". There's a clue right there. And that nice Mrs. Gates and her feckless wastrel of a husband have actually been doing something rather more concrete about it than trying to live off £5 of egg butties and a bit of risotto for a week.

I'm all for doing good deeds, but I genuinely don't understand what the point is of "raising awareness" about something most educated people already know plenty about. Despite the increasing link-bait, this is The Register, not FOX News.

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If I ignore my homebrew,

which works out around 50p a pint, I can live on homegrown food for about a tenner a week if all goes well with the weather and storage!

By all goes well I mean my daughters eat what I cook them but young tastebuds are hard to argue with.

Have a word with your butcher - you can get a pigs head for a £5 sometimes - has quite a bit of meat on it which is easily removed by simmering for a couple of hours. Strain the liquid from it while still hot and you have a stock that, along with about 5 pounds of dried borlotti beans and the meat from the head (the brains are nice but makes most people scream) and some dark green cabbage leaves makes a surprisingly nice and filling stew for a greedy bastard like me for a fortnight - freeze portions for the last 9 days. Beef it up with the odd addition. And use a straw box - bring it to the boil and you can keep it cooking overnight in one.

Everyone whose tried it loves it. "Best cassoullet ever!" Until you tell them what's in it...

Imagination is a great thing in the right hands!

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um...

"While I'm beating off dogs with a stick" - Pretty certain you're doing that wrong.

Best of luck in the challenge, though. And thanks for the tip about seasoning stainless steel cookware. I was unaware of that.

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Re: um...

Cheers. Not stainless steel - just steel (cast iron also needs treatment). The first snap of the pot makes it look like stainless, but that's simply the application of a scouring pad before treatment.

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Re: um...

Thanks Lester, I was about to point that out. It did look like stainless steel (must have taken a bit of elbow grease).

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Re: Re: um...

Yeah, they coat the thing in wax before shipping to stop it rusting. And someone thought it was a really bright idea to put a really sticky label inside the pan, rather than on the bottom, for example.

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fecking labels that you are meant to remove

Oh man... that is my number one hate.

labels on stuff that are meant to be removed, but don't without industrial solvents.

pans, oven trays, stainless steel trash bins are all culprits.

what are we talking about ? an extra 1p per 1000 labels to buy ones that actually peel off ?

When I become dictator of the world, the people responsible will be shot.... After 10 years forced labour removing their own labels of their products. bastards. utter utter bastards.

obviously malaria is pretty bad too. cough.

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Re: fecking labels that you are meant to remove

I'm with you. Ten years in the label-removing Gulag living on a bowl of rice and dissolved super-strength adhesive a day and then up against the wall.

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Re: fecking labels that you are meant to remove

Top Tip - mayonnaise......yes the white slippery stuff

Coat the sticker in large blobs of the stuff and leave for a couple of days - et voilà...

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Devil

And someone thought it was a really bright idea to put a really sticky label inside the pan, rather than on the bottom

Sod it! I've gone off world poverty. I no longer care about the need for clean water. These people can look after themselves. I've got a bigger global problem to solve!

Global Over-Adhesive Sticky Label Week is born! March with me ladies and gentleman! March to the sound of the guns! We must make the world aware of this scourge! We must end this tyranny!

I washed a mayonaise jar in the dishwasher on Friday. No effect. I took it out, still warm, and tried to peel the label. Nothing! I put it in again, for the next run. Nada! The buggers appear to have epoxied the damned thing to the glass. I don't want people to mistake my marmalade for mayo. The last casserole dish I bought took ten minutes to get the bloody label off the inside!

I don't think a week of abstention is the answer. We don't need to raise funds. We should just march on the companies responsible, and glue their designers, buyers and board together with the strongest adhesive available - and leave them to learn their lesson. Or starve, I don't really mind which ...

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I'm with you, !Spartacus, I'm totally with you! And while we're at it, can we also tackle the problem with packaging that's supposed to be ripped up but cannot be destroyed without pliers?

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