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back to article El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse back on the bacon

We're pleased to report that the El Reg Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse has emerged in fairly good shape from last week's Live Below the Line challenge, although team member Toby Sibley hasn't told us whether he walked up the aisle on Saturday or had to be carried by his best man. Toby certainly deserves an extra round of applause for …

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JDX
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Rice

It seems slightly bizarre that in the UK, the cheapest staple appears to be rice grown thousands of miles away rather than potatoes or bread which made up the bulk of our ancestors' diets.

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Re: Rice

Potatoes are now being put in fancy bags and what many call 'bread' as as much real substance and a McFlurry.

I make bread at home - but for some reason the fewer ingredients you use the more 'Artisan' it becomes. But there are the flat breads that we use as well these days (though many flat breads seem to be used as 'devices to handle food with' rather than 'hack off a doorstep, toast it and cover in beef dripping').

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Re: Rice

Rice from Aldi is 40p/kilo and about 75g seems the right serving for one.

Bread flour is £1.10 for 1.5 kilos, of which 500g will make an 800g loaf with about fifteen slices per loaf - maybe three or four day's worth. That's proper sourdough bread, which is a damn sight better for you and tastes a lot better than the Chorleywood Process predigested pap from most places. It just takes a little time and effort.

So the rice comes out at around 3p/serving and bread at about 9p/serving... cheaper flours are available, but the bread isn't as good and it doesn't save down to 3p/serving.

Potatoes were only significant in last week's diet because Anita found some sell-by reduced...

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Re: Rice

A little more time and effort to make, and in my experience a lot more effort not to just eat the whole lot in one go as it's so tasty (at least home-made bread around our house has that longevity issue...) .

One thing I was surprised didn't feature more was soups. It's something that herself at home makes routinely (we have one of those soup makers that's the offspring of a blender and a kettle), and for not much you get 3-4 portions of delicious and healthy soup. Quite commonly we pick up the dodgy looking or close-to-date bags of veg from Tesco and bung them through it to make "fridge bottom" soup (carrot, parsnip, a potato or two plus whatever else might be around the shelf like peppers, tomatoes, cauli's or brocolli).

Tastes lovely, and would go a treat with a slice or two of your sourdough I bet. And now I'm off to munch on some of today's batch, sadly sans bread.

@Neil - why hasn't Lester got you a Gold badge yet? For all your stirling LOHAN work plus this, I'd have thought it'd be mandatory by now?

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Unhappy

Re: Rice

Our ancestors were not 60-70 million on the island, and did not become dependant on a vast world-spanning empire to supply the home counties... This was already happening during WWII: Not only was rationning not helped by the able bodied workers being mobilised, but mostly that the greater part of British food needs were being sunk by u-boats somwhere in the atlantic...

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JDX
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Re: Rice

Great point regarding soup.

And I never knew there were so many bread snobs!

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Re: Rice

"the cheapest staple appears to be rice grown thousands of miles away "

Not bizzarre at all.

Rice is easy to preserve and transport. Some peasant farmer ends up getting 2p for that kg of rice.

Potatoes travel badly and don't preserve well. There are huge trade barriers to protect the local farmers and keep them in Range Rovers.

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Re: Rice

Potatoes now get grown in Egypt and Cyprus (Irish varieties 'peated' with Irish or Scottish soil in fact!)

Very little british wheat goes into bread because it's not the right type. Most of our bread wheat comes from Canada (though steps have been taken to be able to grow high-protein wheat varieties in the UK that are suitable for bread).

Beans for baked beans are usually grown in the US.

Supposedly the UK is actually about on balance (maybe slightly under) for food sustainability by some measures.

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Coat

I wanted to leave a meaningful comment (yeah, like I ever did). But this read made me hungry and it's almost lunchtime - I'm off.

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Good Work!

Well done guys

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Next Year

Please can we have more notice?

As I would happily take part...

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Vic
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Re: Next Year

> I would happily take part...

As would I.

Many years ago, I lived on a diet of essentially carrots, rice and tomatoes for 18 months. The odd pint of milk here and there helped, but rice was the staple.

It can be done comparatively easily, but the prime motivator for me back then was that I didn't have an option - I was that broke. These days, it would be considerably harder...

Vic.

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Re: Next Year

I also should like to participate next year - shouldn't be too bad, I remember back in the 90s there was the 'Baked Bean war' on between the local supermarkets, with a tin selling for 1p - combine that with a disgracefully extravagant 27p for a loaf of sliced white and it was quite possible to live for a week on £1 - which I did for about 2 weeks until my friends started avoiding me (think it was something to do with the after effect of the beans...) By the way I was skint then as well, but I managed to save enough to pay my rent that month. Wouldn't do it again on beans on toast but it's definitely an option worth considering for a couple of meals.

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Thumb Up

Yikes!

I've stepped over things on the footpath that look like some of those meals.

But seriously, well done noshers!

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Re: "Neil Barnes and missus Anita"

Barnes and Barnes? Surely they got by on roly poly fish heads.

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Re: "Neil Barnes and missus Anita"

Fish heads, fish heads

Roly poly fish heads

Fish heads, fish heads

Eat them up, yum!

Kudos point to you, cap'n, for that little excursion into musical history.

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Re: "Neil Barnes and missus Anita"

And for extra geek points, it's worth pointing out that one half of Barnes & Barnes was in fact the actor Bill Mumy, best know for playing Will Robinson in the 1960's Lost In Space series and less well known as the Mimbari ambassador's aide Lennier in the 1990's classic series, Babylon 5.

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Bronze badge

Re: "Neil Barnes and missus Anita"

Seeing this earlier is what made me think of it...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/06/data_security/

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Re: "Neil Barnes and missus Anita"

Don't forget the little monster that would wish people away on Twilight Zone.

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Re: "Neil Barnes and missus Anita"

Help me with that one? I'm too young, or on the wrong side of the pond, or something.

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Re: "Neil Barnes and missus Anita"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It's_a_Good_Life_(The_Twilight_Zone)

The "It's a Good Life" episode, where he played the little kid with the mental powers to do almost anything. I think the Simpsons also parodied it in one of the early Treehouse of Horror episodes.

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Foraging allowed?

If foraging is allowed, then why not go for something a bit more sustaining.

I've never been to London but I hear it is swarming with pigeons etc. A couple of those will set you up micely.

So would a bit of fishing.

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Re: Foraging allowed?

A question of interpretation of the spirit of the thing, for me.

I constrained myself to use stuff that *anyone* could get who had access to a supermarket; no specialist stuff, no bulk discount in 50kg bags stuff, no end-of-day discounts. I did break that in a couple of cases: potatoes at £0.59 for 2.5kg which Anita discovered, and a jar of jam from fruit I gathered from the wild last autumn. There was also the rhubarb and some herbs from the garden.

If you're going to go the foraging and garden route, you'd have to start last year, but given sufficient growing space you could probably do the lot effectively for free. Hell, you could probably include chickens, or a piglet... but like it or not the UK is a small island and most of us don't have that much space - me included.

If it comes up again next year, I'll do it again, and seek even more variety based on what I learned this time around. What I won't eat, though, under *any* circumstance, is a London pigeon. Those buggers'll eat what makes a crow vomit...

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Re: Foraging allowed?

"no bulk discount in 50kg bags stuff"

Why ever not? Dry-goods are dry-goods. They keep, by definition.

"If you're going to go the foraging and garden route, you'd have to start last year, but given sufficient growing space you could probably do the lot effectively for free."

It's not free. There are costs to farming. But it's a hell of a lot better tasting, and a hell of a lot cheaper than supermarkets.

"Hell, you could probably include chickens, or a piglet"

Or more, if you think ahead when young & purchase enough space for retirement.

"but like it or not the UK is a small island and most of us don't have that much space - me included."

Indeed. 1 acre per person is doable at a subsistence level (if you know what you are doing, and have a family collective of 8-10 people and enough water), but much of the UK isn't arable.

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Re: Foraging allowed?

Because my intent was to do it the way 'the man on the Clapham omnibus' was likely to have to.

We *know* that you can buy a bag of rice and a bag of beans and a bone and live for a week; Lester showed that last year. We know you can buy big big bags of stuff at a rate a damn sight cheaper than the supermarket sells... but the man on the bus either doesn't have access to that or can't carry it home. It's simply irrelevant for most people (in the UK).

Again, there are few people in the UK - even the keenest gardeners - who can grow more than a fraction of what the need to eat. I manage usually not to buy apples between September and January; tomatoes and peppers from around July, and maybe a couple of buckets of spuds and a couple of kilos of beans. But I live in suburbia and my growing space is tiny. My parents have a couple of acres on Skye and produce about three quarters of their vegetables. Tastes better, sure - if it grows this year.

My intent was to show a palatable, reasonably healthy, and varied diet within the five pounds a person constraint using 'normal' shopping sources. I think I did that. Next year's will be better, and in particular will probably contain more fruit.

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Re: Foraging allowed?

"My intent was to show a palatable, reasonably healthy, and varied diet within the five pounds a person constraint using 'normal' shopping sources."

Yeah, I see that. But it's not sustainable past a couple weeks. Nor is it cost effective. It's a stunt, at best, that teaches nobody, anywhere, anything.

Next time around, try it for a year. I'll join all y'all & out myself.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Foraging allowed?

Jake, I think the thinness of the atmosphere whilst atop of the Highest Horse in the World (TM) is effecting your judgement

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Re: Foraging allowed?

I think when you learn the difference between "affecting" and "effecting" I might start to listen to your commentadary ... but only if you stop posting as an Admitted Coward, coward.

How about addressing what I actually typed in an intelligent manor, instead of going all ad-hom on my ass? Not capable? Stop showing your typical AC ignorance. It's not doing this forum any good, and is in fact damaging it in the long haul.

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I know. Typo comments produce typoes. (was: Re: Foraging allowed?)

I should know better. Manner. Mea culpa.

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