Rules and regulations

Delicious; Economical; Healthy (ish); Less wasteful; Easy; More ethically mindful; Family food

This website is about the real life challenge of feeding "Four and a half bellies" in these times of economic austerity: when we do give a damn about what we are feeding our children; when we are concerned about how our family choices are impacting on the environment; but when we are all rushed off our feet.  

The busy housewife (who, by the way, is trying to fulfill role of mother, wife, housekeeper, wage earner, lover, friend, social butterfly, social activist etc) no longer has the time to visit her local grocer/ butcher/ fishmonger (and we are lucky if we have these luxuries) several times a week like her grandmother used to.  Instead, one of the most popular ways of shopping easily and economically is by using a supermarket, preferably one which delivers!  But the weekly supermarket shop compromises on reducing waste (how can you really know whether you'll need 2 or 3 carrots next Monday, so food goes of; why does one small garlic head need to be wrapped in its own plastic bag?). It also raises other ethical issues such as feeding into the hands of large corporations, rather than supporting local employment.  Shopping over the internet at supermarkets makes it harder to ensure that food is local and seasonal.  Yet regularly visiting local farm shops is time consuming and can be pricy. And once I shopped at a farm where most of the "fresh" produce was imported! How, therefore, can the conscientious, yet hard pressed, housewife fulfill all these ambitions?  

Here are the "Rules and Regulations" of our family challenge:
  • spend £70 (ave) per week (£303 per month) on food and drink (excludes household products e.g. nappy stuff, cleaning products, alcohol etc)
  • increase our purchase of seasonal vegetables
  • decrease meat purchase to one or two times a week, and increase delicious vegetarian food cooking; buy free range/ organic meat, preferably from butcher
  • buy sustainable fish where possible
  • eat home cooked food - no ready meals
  • reduce food waste
  • reduce supermarket shopping and increase local spending
My constraints are lack of time (like everyone!) and periods of immobility where it is hard to get out of the house to shop around.  

I know that for some families a weekly food budget of £70 would be a dream. Some very ethically minded shoppers and eaters may find the very fact we even consider visiting supermarkets and eating meat abhorrent.  All I can say is that the above Rules and Regulations are a challenge for us at the moment. We have come from a place where we (thankfully) have not had to set a budget for food and have been closer to "unethical" on a continuum.  By setting us a manageable challenge, hopefully the rewards and enjoyment will encourage us to slide ever closer to the more "ethical" end in time. 

Copyright: Dinner Lady 2012