Live Below the Line: Day 1 Diary

Food for five days
Well, yesterday was our first day of living below the line, so I thought I’d jot down a few quick thoughts about it. The first thing that surprised me was how hungry I felt – I know, that sounds stupid, but I didn't think the hunger would really kick in on the first day. I mean, I’m still getting three good meals, right? Wrong. Turns out that tiny portions and no snacking, plus nothing to drink except water, is not a pleasant combination. By the time it got to dinner we were both ravenous, so we really enjoyed our Bean Chilli – there’s an old English proverb that says ‘Hunger is the best sauce’, and I can appreciate that already. That said, I do think the bean chilli was pretty good – see below for the recipe.

Another thing that I noticed was how much I missed some of my cooking shortcuts, which I couldn't afford on this budget. I have to confess that I absolutely hate cooking rice, so I normally get those boil-in-the-bag jobs that make it really easy. However, on £10 for the week, I couldn't get those, so it was back to Basics (literally) with a Sainsbury’s Basics bag of broken white rice – only 45p for 1kg, which is pretty damn good, but much more of a faff to cook with. On the plus side, I discovered that Sainsbury’s Basics Cheddar is really rather good, which as a bit of a cheese snob, I wasn’t expecting. Win!

Finally, I’m realizing already how much snacking as a habit is built into our lives. Last night we went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron at the cinema, and probably for the first time ever, had to entirely eschew the popcorn, sweets and coke, in favour of a bottle of tap water brought from home. Obviously this is a bit of a wonky one, because someone living on £1 a day probably wouldn’t be gallivanting off to the cinema, but it did make me realise how much we eat even when we don’t need to. And when you’re absorbed in a good movie, are you even really enjoying the popcorn, or just absently shovelling it in because that’s what you do at the cinema?

Today’s challenge is taking part in a Twitter chat on food later, one of two that I join in with weekly, and which is sure to be full of delicious recipes and tempting photos. Wish me luck.

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