Z’s Easter

We are taking time to enjoy every meal, both preparation and eating, as well as using every scrap of food. The latter comes naturally to me, especially this year. It wasn’t exactly a new year’s resolution, but it was a deliberate decision to waste as little as I could help. Climate change isn’t much in the news at present, now that the world has pretty well shut down but, although I’ve had little difficulty in getting the food we want – thanks to local suppliers, who keep going steadfastly when supermarkets are overwhelmed – I am still careful and frugal when it comes to waste.

But I’m not frugal when it comes to ingredients. I buy what I want. And my expenses are less than usual in other respects, so I have no money worries. The retired are lucky in that respect. We have discovered that the ‘posh’ crisps from the deli are nice enough that we won’t go back to Walkers and their mayonnaise is almost as good as homemade. That bunches of local asparagus are eye-wateringly expensive doesn’t matter, the season is short and I’m glad that the grower is getting an income and has pickers.

All the same, two bunches of asparagus turned out to be 8 fat spears and cost nearly £6. So they have earned their worth. We had a salad Niçoise yesterday, with asparagus instead of beans, and I just blanched the top few inches of one bunch, and saved the cooking water. I also saved the brine from the tin of tuna. Why I bought tuna in brine rather than oil is a mystery, but it’s been in the cupboard for so long (not decades, it was not even out of *random date that is nonsense as tins last for years*) that there’s no telling. Today, I boiled the tough ends for stock and thinly sliced the middle bits from both bunches. I’ve saved the tips for tomorrow and made risotto from the rest, with some prawns from the freezer. Lunch was leftover Spanish omelette with a tomato salad.

I’ve been making bread and yoghurt for some time. There is leftover whey when I pot up the yoghurt, so that goes into the bread dough. I have one pint of milk a week delivered (I also have croissants, butter and orange juice, to make it worth the milkman’s while) and when I need more milk, I go to the farm and get a litre of Jonny’s fabulous raw Montbéliard cows’ milk.

Yes indeed, I know how lucky we are and I appreciate this good fortune. I feel rotten about the whole situation of course, for myself and for the worried and the bereaved. I can’t help anyone else and this gives me real distress. I so want to volunteer and I’m not doing so because I am not going to take the risk to me or Tim. I’m leaving it to younger people and that’s a lesson learned in itself. I’m older than I realised.

Anyway, darlings, a few tips to come on food frugality, if I can get round to it, to which you are most welcome to add. I miss my family so much that I’m feeling quite self-pitying tonight, but I’ll get over that because I am, I know, one of the lucky ones. We are all in the same boat, but some of us are on higher decks … and this metaphor will sink any moment now, so I won’t carry on with it. Back to the positive. Food and books for a while, how’s that?

4 comments on “Z’s Easter

  1. 63mago

    Frohe Ostern, dearest Z.

    After sitting here for quiet a while pondering how to express what i want to say, I can not come up with more than a simple “Yes”.

  2. Z Post author

    Happy Easter to you too, my friend. There is less to say than usual, but more need to say it. Friendship and fellowship (which isn’t a word I’m fond of, but which suits here) means more than ever.

  3. Blue Witch

    I’m impressed by your frugal use of the asparagus!

    I’m ongoingly very grateful for your recipe for yoghurt that you gave me several years ago now. I grabbed my probe food thermometer as we fled north as lockdown came in, and we had the large thermos with us for tea en route, we’re still able to have yoghurt every day despite not having been out since 24th March. How it works with UHT skimmed I shall have to see, as we will soon be reduced to that, but, I do have one last 4 pint of frozen blue (currently defrosting) to play with today.

    Totally with you on the not wasting food – I don’t peel most veg, but what ends and ‘peelings’ there are get cooked up for the hens, and thence to the compost bin. I also ferment cooking water from eg chick peas or kidney beans (ie leave it for a couple of days until it bubbles), and then add it to the compost as a good activator.

    1. Z Post author

      It depends, with the peeling of veg. Young vegetables don’t usually get peeled but older ones probably do. And the bit of root from the onion, odd leaves and so on don’t get wasted – and then get given to the chickens after the stock has been used.


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