Hunger - the only certainty?

I've been reading my history books this weekend, looking at the 1930s depression and the 1951 watersiders' strike. There are indeed blessings to being too poorly to get out of bed much.

On Saturday I read a historical novel called Union Belle by Deborah Challinor. The romance part of it was pretty trite - bored housewife falls for handsome new bloke to town, handsome bloke has no scruples at all about chasing and screwing his mate's wife. So much for solidarity. But the context of the miners supporting the watersiders and the endless perhaps crazy battles between the big union guys and the government, well that got me looking for a bit more information from the non-fiction history books. The other aspect of the novel which struck me was how the men kept on going to the pub through weeks and weeks of strike. Had they no shame? There might be blogs aplenty out there talking up the old days when people had all these wonderful do it yourself skills, but it seemed to me that the miners of Puremiko needed to go teetotal or learn how to make home brew.

On Sunday I read patches of Michael King's Penguin History of NZ and Jamie Belich's second volume on NZ (name escapes me atm). Although, true to our house mess, I cannot find King's book to lift an exact quote, he did note that in the 1930s, many people believed that capitalism was finished.

Oh um, well I wonder about that right now. He did also note that things had changed massively and that were it not for WW2, our economic path would have been much more modest.

So, war or prolonged widespread scarcity. Pretty sobering either way. I'm still enough of the capitalist scorner to decline to join kiwisaver - I'm not at all convinced that it is worth it. But if capitalism is the dog which never completely dies and indeed rises to fight again, then maybe I will be poor and stupid in the mid 21st century while the kiwisaver enthusiasts live a much more comfortable life.

No matter what happens, we will need to eat. Which is why I'm carrying on planning the garden. Which is why I prioritise getting rid of our mortgage as fast as possible - maybe we will be able to afford to buy a piece of land to grow more food on once our current mortgage is totally paid off.

So, food to warm hearts and minds on a budget.

Bacon bone soup
I bought a few smoked bacon hocks from Jonesy last month and threw them in the freezer. They cost $5 each.

I plonked one defrosted hock in the slow cooker, some chunks of pumpkin, about a cup of puy lentils, some onion, garlic, celery, carrots, thyme and bay leaves. Filled it up with water and let it cook all day - on high at first and then down to low once I saw some regular bubbling. Then I realised I was sick and went to bed.

At the end of the afternoon I lifted the bone out and chopped up the meat on the bone. Then I returned the meat to the pot. Served up soup for four of us. Heaps and heaps left. Put that in the fridge - I could see I wouldn't be feeling like cooking the next night either.,

Pulled the soup out of the fridge just before dinner time. Ladled some into a saucepan, added some water and kale and reheated it. Still plenty left over. Thought I'd keep the rest for Monday given I'm on a 66 cent challenge after I looked at our bank balance on Thursday night.

Dug some potatoes from the garden, boiled and mashed them. Greased a casserole dish and ladled the leftover (quite solid) soup into it. Added some chopped kale and then topped it with the mashed potato, to which I had added grated cheese and paprika. It's in the oven reheating now.

Pumpkin has been our other staple of late. We've had pumpkin soups, pumpkin risottos, pumpkin quiche and today after school we had pumpkin scones.


Christy said…
Thanks for your comment Sandra. I too enjoy reading your thoughts. I like the mix of gardening (of course!), social commentary, feminsim, politics. I've been getting more inspired about our garden, and yesterday i did a one day permaculture food growing workshop which was fantastic. Spent as much time as possible picking the brains of the very knowledgeable presenters about my problem areas etc. So we've decided to get ducks, and I spent half of today at the pony club shovelling manure into bags. My three year old calls it 'the horse poo club'- the children have a slightly skewed idea of what is 'normal' I guess!
Leanne said…
Hope you are feeling better.
And go girl on your 66c budget looks like you are doing great!

A book I am reading - (non fiction) called Petticoat Pioneers - North Island woman of the colonial era book two. By Miriam Macgregor. A great read. All about 19th century pioneer woman with a common denominator of hardiness, courage & self sacrifice and all at a time when educational, transport & medical facilities were nil. Maybe you can get it in your library.

Love Leanne

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