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Food fixes

January 01 2020
© David Holmes-Brown   In the kitchen with David Holmes-Brown: “I am a reportage artist living in Devon. I have been drawing people who are homeless and vulnerable in and around Torbay for a few years now. This was drawn at The Haven, a tiny charity in Paignton open three mornings a week. See www.haventorbay.co.uk © David Holmes-Brown In the kitchen with David Holmes-Brown: “I am a reportage artist living in Devon. I have been drawing people who are homeless and vulnerable in and around Torbay for a few years now. This was drawn at The Haven, a tiny charity in Paignton open three mornings a week. See www.haventorbay.co.uk

Crafty tricks to keep you healthy and full, from McGinlay

Trick 1: Staying in tempo accommo (temporary accommodation)? Have access to a cooker? Do you receive regular donated sandwiches? Wanna turn those sarnies into a meal? Well you can.
You need:

  • 3 to 4 sandwiches with lots of fillings.
  • Some form of ‘base’ ingredient, like rice, pasta or potatoes. (Tesco’s own brand spaghetti is 20p).
  • Some form of sauce to make the meal stretch. (Tesco’s own brand pasta sauce is 45p, I promise I’m not a promoter for Tesco!). Method:
    1. Divide the fillings into separate bowls, tomatoes on their own, chicken on its own, etc.
    2. Prepare base ingredient: boil rice, pasta or potatoes until cooked.
    3. Mix the fillings with your sauce how you like it, depending on what you’re making.
    4. The larger the meal, the more fillings you will need.

I once made an Ocean Pie using sandwiches – 2 tuna, 1 salmon and 1 prawn. I bought some potatoes and mashed them with butter, milk, salt and pepper. I mixed all the fish together in a creamy mushroom sauce I made with single cream, mushrooms and parsley. I placed the fish sauce into a glass oven dish and smoothed the mash over the top and cooked until the mash was slightly crispy; then sprinkled grated cheese on top and melted it before serving. It was delicious, fast to make and cheap enough to get extra ingredients for under a fiver. 

I understand even £5 sounds like a lot when you have nothing. In the last issue of the Pavement (#123), I mentioned I was staying in a hellish hostel and made friends with T, remember? It was him who showed me this trick. There was a time when I only had a few pounds, so I teamed up with T and another resident and we all split the fiver between us. We were all skint and very hungry so problem solved.

Trick 2: You know those MASSIVE outdoor food bins outside the supermarket, usually located behind the building? The ones where the shop throws away its perfectly good food because they can’t sell it the next day, or the package is damaged but the food’s still fine? Well, most hardware stores sell a cheap hard plastic, T-shaped key that has a hollow hexagon base which open up those bins. Ta-da, access to food.

Trick 3: Anyone who’s lived in a hostel will know our friends at Pret donate food on a daily basis. But did you know if you go in with your own refillable cup, you get 50p off any hot drink? Their cheapest coffee is 99p but with your cup you will get it for 49p. And it is part of Pret’s policy for all staff members to give away 10 coffees every day. Yep, so if you’re a friendly regular, if you have been waiting in the queue for over two minutes or if you flirt with them… YES, it’s on the house and it’s their policy.

Trick 4: Anyone who has experienced homelessness in London knows food resources at times might not be close by, so travel is needed. Now some can’t afford Oyster fares, don’t have a bike or may have medical needs making it tricky to travel long distances. Did you know there are two types of Freedom Pass? There are passes for seniors (65+) and passes for those with medical needs. If you have any long-term health need that effects your daily communication, co-ordination or mobility, you can apply. Get a letter from your GP, take it to the Mobility Team at your local town hall, with two passport photos and your pass should be posted to you within seven working days making London your oyster, without the Oyster.

  • Instagram @mc.ginlay for poetry, illustrations & crafts.
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