Rationing challenge: Looking back

I’ve just returned from the Easter break and have now finished my Cuban rationing challenge. Luckily my cold is now gone (thanks for your kind well wishes!) and I can actually taste and smell my food, which is a novelty. It’s funny how much we can take these simple things for granted and how we only appreciate them when they’re gone. What both the challenges – the World War Two week and the Cuban week – have shown me is how lucky I am that I have enough to eat, that there is no government organisation decreeing what I can and can’t buy and that there is such a variety of produce in our shops in the UK. As I said before, I hadn’t realised how much my own sense of happiness and well being is tied to the food I eat each day and whether it tastes good. I’d always known that food was important to me, but it was slightly disturbing to discover that it was so important.

Obviously neither of the challenges are or were meant to be an 100 per cent accurate reflection of what life was like in Britain during World War Two or is like now in Cuba – how can it be when you are electing to live this way and only for a week, knowing that it will be over in a few days? But I wonder how people in Cuba can manage on these rations. If they suffer from malnutrition or have to rely on friends and family to supplement their rations, then it’s easy to see why. It’s hard to make the rations stretch for a week, but it must be almost impossible to do so over a month. I enjoy vegetarian food but, later on in last week’s challenge when the meat ration had run out, it was hard knowing that the only reason you were cooking veggie recipes was because there was no meat available to eat. And it was tough to try to come up with meal ideas that were affordable, filling and wouldn’t use up too many ingredients.

That said, I did very much enjoy eating huevos habaneros – a deliciously spicy egg and tomato recipe which is cheap, tasty, low fat and very much worth trying out. In this recipe you cook it in the oven, but you can also cook it in a pan on a stove, frying up garlic, onion, tinned tomatoes, pepper, mushrooms – whatever you’ve got – and simmering it and then throwing in the eggs towards the end of cooking. Our hens aren’t laying at the moment but my neighbour very kindly gave me a couple of eggs from her girls for our meal. Cuban beans and rice – also known as Moors and Christians – is also very tasty.

As many of you predicted, I struggled to keep to the £3.25 extra food budget I’d allocated myself. I was doing fine for a while, thanks to the home grown vegetables we still have in our patch, such as oriental greens, cabbage and leeks, with which I was able to supplement our meals, until we ran out of cereal and milk which pretty much ate the budget.

Out of all of the challenges I’ve undergone on the blog, I think the rationing task was definitely one of the toughest and taught me a lot about myself (and not all of that was good). I think it was well worth carrying out, but I’m really grateful that I don’t have to live on rations every day. It has made me appreciate the abundance we have in the UK in the year 2010.

What has been the most interesting challenge so far on the blog? Leave a message and let me know.

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2 Responses to Rationing challenge: Looking back

  1. Bill says:

    piper, mon ami, . . . glad ter read that yer have survived the weekend, & are now back on yer feet, fighting fit. All yer challenges are quite interesting ter me, so oft very outspoken, never quite offensive, although some of \’em come fairly close to it. Always that fantastic sense of balance, even when on the High Wire. Always written with the manners of a genuine Lady.Impossible ter say which has been yer most interesting challenge, it would take me days of hard labour ter check back through \’em all, but it should be a simple case of checking the response, both the number, as also the enthusiasm of the comments. The comments ter some of yer challenges turn into something similar ter a grossly oversubscribed Rugby scrum. Some days I need more than one large Brew ter read through all the comments. I believe that I am not alone, so many others also oft become addicted to many of these challenges. Yer oft open such a large can of worms.I also take on the impossible on rare occassions, but sadly, I do not have the time, energy or the same way with words that you have. No one could ever accuse me of being a Lady of any description. I also find that many of my challenges are against the civil service, which oft leave me devoid of any useful success. I would possibly have more hope, & chance, of catching a well soaped up sow.Hopefully, yer will continue the brilliant work, way inter the future, an extremely intelligent, & informative, form of adult entertainment. Sadly, it is possible that I will soon have far less time ter follow yer progress, due ter pressure of business. It could be the commencement of a new, slightly more successful, era fer me.Who knows, one day we two could meet, if so, the pleasure would be all mine.

  2. piper says:

    Thanks Bill – you have cheered me up with your kind words, merry quips and (completely undeserved) flattery. The downside is that I now have to think small to get through the front door. Hope business is going well.

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