So today I admit, I woke up grumpy. I had a headache, my other half had to work and I was feeling sorry for myself. I tried to motivate myself by preparing something different for dinner tonight. For all my fussiness over pizza there was a recipe I was dying to try from one Ms Lawson (#TeamNigella btw) so I took inspiration form this and decided to busy myself planning something a bit like it, okay so something like it – I did tell you I couldn’t follow recipes. The Nigella recipe is from ‘Nigella Express’ and is simply called Naan Pizza. Hers is basically having a shop bought naan bread and topping with crushed tomatoes, mushrooms and fontina cheese. Although it looks delicious my OH doesn’t like mushrooms so changing for tandoori chicken as I have some chicken thighs that need eating so I will bash them out, marinade in tandoori mix and yoghurt then cook and chop down before adding to pizza. Also, to make life much easier I will be using mozzarella cheese. And so this is where the real story starts…..
I find, for things such as this grated mozzarella works wonders. You use less, it doesn’t make your base go all soggy as natural balled mozzarella holds a lot of water. Plus, you can freeze it so it’s brilliant to always have a packet in. I thought we alreday had a packet in the freezer so my anger level went up up a notch when I realised we didn’t. Going to a supermarket on a Sunday is bad enough but going to a supermarket a week and a half before Christmas was not really my idea of fun. There was nothing to do but go though so off I trundled to my local supermarket. After doing a slow crawl around the car park to find a space then fighting my way past trolleys that were overflowing getting to the isle that I wanted I was presented with an an empty shelf. It doesn’t seem like a big thing does it but with my current mood quickly escalating to wanting to sit on the floor of the supermarket and cry, it was. I got outside, sat in my car and thought do I really want this for my dinner tonight? I told myself that of course I was being stupid and it was just my irritable nature that was clouding my whole judgement. So I set off again, a ten minute journey in the car to another supermarket. I was annoyed because by this time it was getting dangerously close to lunch time and the mid day rush that I really wanted to avoid…..
I parked my car and walked to the entrance of the supermarket. As I got closer I noticed there was a large table filled with items and a small group of people handing out leaflets to people as they entered the store. Not to be all bah humbug about it but I really couldn’t cope with being hassled for a raffle ticket or whatever else they were trying to flog but as I got closer I saw the items on the table were actually packets and tins of food. I got given a leaflet and as I walked into the supermarket I read what I had been given in my hand.
Suddenly my self loathing and miserable mood lifted and I grabbed a shopping basket and headed in to the depths of the store. I got my mozzarella and my yoghurt you’ll be happy to know but I also got some packets of pasta, some tins of chopped tomatoes and some cartons of UHT milk. I donated these to the people from the foodbank on my way out. Suddenly my day made sense again. I do believe in fate and as stupid as this is going to sound, it was fate that the first supermarket didn’t have the items I wanted and it was fate that I ended up at the other store. Thanks to Jack Monroe I know how important things like food banks are. So yes, it did make me feel better but I didn’t do it for that reason, to make me feel better about myself. I did it to try and make someone else feel better, if only for brief while whilst they have a meal that they might of otherwise missed out on. In turn, it did make me feel better but not because I had done it, becuase it showed me how lucky I am. So I don’t have a lot of money and I don’t live in a perfect house filled with perfect things but what I do have is love and life and strength. I luckliy can afford to pay my mortgage, pay my bills, heat my home and eat well every day. Some people sadly cannot.
When I was in the supermarket I saw some people discard their leaflets, many got screwed up and put in pockets as they got out their long lists of things to buy for Christmas, lists of excess and things that won’t even get opened or wasted. I heard one elderly woman say ‘Whatever next, why should I give out my pension so people on benefits can scrounge extra food?’. To that woman, that is not what a food bank is about. It isn’t just people on benefits, it’s people from all walks of life, the young and the old. It is people who live alone and people from big families. It is that tipping point in their lives when they just don’t have the money to survive any longer. That food parcel they receive is a life line, something they have to be put forward for not just turn up and wait in line to get some free food.
To everyone who reads this please think about those who will be living below the poverty line this Christmas. Whilst most of us will be spending the day with loved ones around tables laden with food, feeling stuffed after the Christmas dinner, think about those who won’t be. If you can, then please donate some thing, anything to your local food bank – I bet there will be one somewhere near to you.
Food banks really need donations of long life, non perishable food. Tins of meats, fish, beans, tomatoes and all other vegetables and fruits. Bags of pasta and cereals and porridge. Cartons of long life milk and baby formula are also welcomed with open arms. When you donate think of quantity over the supposed quality issue. Stores basic ranges are no worse than those which have pretty labels attatched. I can tell you that myself. What is better – feeding one family with a bag of £1 pasta or for the same money feeding five families by buying the basics range at 20p per bag?
If you are still not convinced then please read this by Jack Monroe to understand.
For finding a food bank near you try here but don’t forget there will be many more that are independently run by smaller charities just like the one I donated to today. Merry Cristmas.