what can one do?

what can anyone do?

in this new scary time in modern life
how can we survive food-wise?

This photo is from the first Christmas living at my Mum's with my sisters and brother, after living with my Dad for five years, many decades ago. Mum had eight children, including myself, and I often look back at the wonderful job she and my Step Father Joe did, feeding, clothing and educating my siblings. They both worked as well, and not in high paid jobs.  I'm second from right.

Like so many, I've definitely been through incredible hardships in my life. And always came out the other side. Of course I have been through these cycles, because I am older. But, this time it is different. It's a bit scary as this time we are uncertain of the outcome. And we are not sure about our loved ones, in particular. Aside from the health issue, how will they cope? And, if someone has never been without, how will they adjust? Although, adjusting to going without is in truth still a first world problem.

I know how to:
  • make dhal, probably the cheapest way to feed anyone
  • have plain porridge for breakfast
  • make rotis (flour and water to make small tortillas)
  • drink water
Absolutely not the healthiest diet, but sustainable in an emergency.

About twelve years ago, I was completely broke. A big recession was in full swing and I was earning very little money. And eating as above. After paying rent, I had about twenty dollars a week to live on. I ended up at WINZ (social welfare system in New Zealand) sobbing, unable to cope financially anymore. I was not alone, this was quite common in that recession. After getting a lecture (which is not part of the job description of case workers by the way), I got a very little bit of help. I then set about making sure that I was never in that situation again. 

But even so, with these new, necessary restrictions, I too shall be affected with what I do keeping my head above water financially, which I'm quite okay with as I don't have a family to support. Luckily, I live in this country where we have the world's best Prime Minister. Ever. And all families will be looked after. New Zealand was one of the first countries to recover from The Great Depression of 1929, which was done largely by creating work, such as manual planting of forests, and creating money. It will be interesting to see what happens in this area of work recovery when the time comes.

So, the first important thing: how do we feed a family on a restricted budget? One of the very best websites for doing this is:

where Carolyn Ekins followed the British World War Two food restrictions (called rationing) during a time when she was rather impoverished, and along the way, she dropped over one hundred pounds of excess weight. Lots of (vintage) recipes and advice.

And another, which is a homegrown one (New Zealand):

This one ended some few years ago, but is still up, and is priceless.  

Food is potentially going to be one of the most difficult areas to get right during The Lockdown, so reading these two blogs may even only let you know that it is possible to eat on less, albiet very simply. 

The absolute basics that I would recommend to have on hand, providing they too have not been stripped from the supermarket, are:
  • red lentils
  • a legume and grain soup mix
  • oats for porridge
  • rice to go with the lentils
  • flour to make tortillas (see my facebook page for a recipe)
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • milk powder
  • oil
  • salt
Vegetables, fruit, bread and eggs, as and if we can get them. This is probably sounding like an alarmist post, but truly my intention is really just to show everyone that it is possible to be fed in very difficult times. 

And maybe it'll stop so many of us being so precious with what we want and encourage us in so many ways to be more resourceful, which this wee country was so "world famous in New Zealand" for.

Next week I promise to be not so preachy. 


  1. I've tried many recipes from the 1940s blog page over the years - some of them are delicious as well as being economical. I will have to check out that other blog as well. Take care, Mxx

  2. It's a great blog. I found it when it was still up and running.

  3. That is a beautiful photo. When our children were poor we were pretty skint, but yknow, you get through it. Like you I have a love of pulses and can happily try my hand at adapting and making things to eat. I have also had a herb garden since I was 8 - its perishables that people will miss - fresh fruit and fresh veg, the sheer delight of a fresh clementine or a really crunchy carrot that adds so much pleasure (and of course their nutrients). Humans are resourceful and many people will discover that food they may have turned their noses up isn't too bad after all, they may even discover new creative talents for making do. I think the current situation from reading facebook of colleagues is more affluence and the potential for obesity - sitting at home stuffing up on chocolate because of boredom/cabin fever. This is going to be an interesting time to study for future social scientists, my personal bet is the altruistic will always win through - why? because they see positivity and opportunity for people power, and speaking of positives - the rainbow chard in my garden along with my little herbs are looking wonderful (and yes, I will be sharing with the neighbours if they wish for anything)

    1. Yes, I do believe that many will become more resourceful. I'm already "missing" perishables. And chocolate? Luckily that's not my choice of sweets. Fantastic that you have a garden, and also share xxxxxxx

  4. Thank you for the links; I haven't checked them out, yet, but, I will. I am pretty well stocked up, right now, but, as long as I have rice and dhal, I know I won't starve.

  5. I love your attitude and approach to this whole situation. I am right there with you...going without is certainly a first world problem and we are so spoiled with convenience. Adaptability and resourcefulness are great qualities to have right now! Thanks for sharing these ideas and this post!


    1. Thanks Shelbee. Interesting times to be sure. Best wishes for you and your family xxxx


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