As I mentioned in the introducing the allotment post , one of the first decisions we made was to put a lot more effort into eating well.
After we moved house last year, we were blessed with a large (though not that well laid out) kitchen, and a good size larder with a traditional stone shelf – perfect for storing fresh veg.
Arming ourselves with a few cookbooks from the local charity shops, we set about learning. We’ve deliberately avoided anything fancy, mainly because we simply don’t have the time, but instead concentrated on the basics – the likes of stews, casseroles, bolognaise etc. And it turns out, unsurprisingly, that home-cooked food is a lot nicer than the ready-made stuff, as well as being a fair bit cheaper (especially later, once we started getting veg from the plot). It also doesn’t take much longer than “stick it in the oven for 30 minutes” type stuff, though obviously it involves more effort.
We’ve also been trying to get organic/free-range/fairtrade produce wherever possible – but it turns out this is harder than it sounds. Our local supermarket has a limited selection, but not a lot – especially when it comes to meat, with about half a shelf of organic chicken.
We’ve got a great butchers nearby, but of course they don’t label their meat as being organic – so we’ve been going on the assumption that non-organic meat from there is better than non-organic meat from the supermarket, and we’re continuing to search for a decent supplier of better meat.
With Veg, as well as the allotment, we’ve got a local farm shop (though they are, as you might expect, more expensive), and for a lot of other cupboard-fare we’re starting to find online suppliers who specialise in organic and fairtrade – I’ll do another post on those soon.
So it’s an ongoing process, but I think we’re making a good start…