This week in my rationing challenge, I am trying to live on the equivalent of the weekly rations citizens in Cuba receive from their government. I was all geared up at the beginning of the week to get stuck into cooking some authentic Cuban recipes, but unfortunately I’ve been struck down with a bad cold and sinus pain. You find me writing this blog entry from bed, with my laptop balanced on my duvet, surrounded by tissues, but enough of that…
On the bright side, this means I have had very little appetite this week and can hardly taste or smell anything (apart from Vicks’ Vapour Rub), which I think may have helped eek out my rations without having to try Bill’s sensible suggestion of drinking a pint of water before each meal yet. At the start of the week, I took my beef ration and decided to use it to make a big chilli con carne, bulked up with lots of beans and vegetables. It was a wise decision and so far it has stretched to three meals – on rice, pasta and a baked potato with salad – and, amazingly, there is still a tiny bit left to go on top of second baked potato for lunch. The great thing about chilli is that it is one of those dishes, like spaghetti Bolognese, which seems to taste better when it’s reheated a day or two later. (Obviously, for food safety’s sake, I have only reheated the few spoonfuls that I required for each dish, rather than the whole chilli).
Last night we made some delicious tomato, mushroom & pepper quesadillas, using some leftover tortillas in the fridge. They were so flavoursome that even I managed to taste something. We threw in lashing of garlic and chopped chilli, hoping it would help banish my cold. We found that we had to be pretty sparing with the cheese, though, to ensure I wasn’t going over my £3.25 budget for additional food. It’s surprisingly easy to get carried away with the cheese grater.
Incidentally, Kerri on the blog and @jensen2401 on Twitter both made a valid point about the £3.25 budget I have set myself to buy extra food, in addition to the rations. While £3.25 is roughly a week’s pay for the average Cuban at current exchange rates, it would indeed have greater spending power in Cuba that it would in the UK. However, with few statistics available, it’s not that easy to determine how far the equivalent money would go. Plus, the money would also have to stretch to cover other items in a Cuban’s weekly budget. I like a challenge and I thought it would be all the more authentic to make the task more difficult.
I am looking forward to trying some of the traditional Cuban dishes, such as Cuban beans and rice and Huevos Habaneros, later in the week when I am feeling more human. I just hope I still have enough ingredients left. The beef ration will be gone but there should still be plenty of rice, beans and sugar left, plus leeks and other greens in our vegetable patch.
I’ll let you know how I get on next week. Have a great Easter xxx.
Do you give up items for Lent or other festivals? How do you feel about eating them again when Easter comes or the festival is finished? Do you crave them or have you weaned yourself off them? Leave a message and let me know.
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