Friday 27 June 2014

What's Cooking at The Madhouse? 27/6/14 - Food Parcel Challenge #everycanhelps

I've just been telling you about Tesco challenging me to face food poverty for a week and live off the contents of a food parcel that they sent through. Here's what we received :

So here's my menu plan for the week :

Day 1 - Monday

breakfast - porridge with milk and chopped banana - off to a good start but I bet I'll be making porridge with water by the end of the week

lunch - a tin of Irish Stew with some rice

dinner - a tin of vegetable soup with a handful of soup pasta thrown in to bulk things out because I haven't got any bread to go with it ... I probably haven't got any spices to jazz it up either so I think this is going to be quite a bland week this week

Day 2 - Tuesday

breakfast - porridge with milk

lunch - couscous with red kidney beans and 1/2 tin tomatoes - this would make a lovely Moroccan couscous with spices and meatballs and spicy sausage and chicken and raisins ... sorry Madhouse Daddy, you'll have to make do with a very basic veggie version today though !

dinner - chicken soup with a handful of soup pasta

Day 3 - Wednessday

breakfast - porridge with milk with canned grapefruit - serve the syrup from the canned grapefruit in a glass, it's the closest we'll be getting to fruit juice this week

lunch - tin of spaghetti bolognese - feeling decadent so let's have orange jelly for dessert

dinner - scrambled eggs with the leftover 1/2 tin of tomatoes - the scrambled eggs could be so much nicer with milk, cream, chives, freshly ground black pepper but they all cost too much so it's just literally scrambled eggs here - there is some leftover jelly for dessert though so it's not all bad

Day 4 - Thursday

breakfast - porridge with milk - getting a bit fed up with porridge now, but the problem when you only have a very small stock of ingredients is that you're very limited in what you can make. If I had a loaf of bread, I'd make toast but I haven't so it's porridge or nothing. I don't have the luxury of catering to what people like or want, they'll just have to make do with what's in the cupboard and like it or lump it.

lunch - 1/2 can ratatouille and rice

dinner - Spanish omelette - well OK, that sounds much better than it actually is, which is an omelette with 1/2 can of mixed veg thrown in. It won't taste particularly nice but it fills tummies and gets at least some of our 5-a-day in there.

Day 5 - Friday (final day)

breakfast - porridge with milk ... oh no, hold on, there's none left ... well, you could have porridge with water. Is that what gruel is? Oliver Twist would be happy ... Madhouse Daddy not so much, and as for the kids, they'd turn their noses up and go for their usual cereal. Topped off with a banana each. So I'll moan at them ... for eating fruit ... because they polished off almost our entire week's supply of fresh fruit just because they wanted to, not because they were hungry, and there are no more where they came from. (Well, there are, as soon as the week's over, but there wouldn't be if this was for real, which just goes to show the added stress and family arguments that food poverty leads to.) After a final desperate search in the fridge (empty) and food cupboard, breakfast will be tinned mandarin oranges with oats sprinkled over the top - hmmm. Not very inspiring.

lunch - tin of tomato soup with soup pasta added

dinner - so what's left? 1/2 tin of mixed vegetables, oooh ... there's a tin left in the cupboard, minced beef & onion, perfect to go with the mixed veg. I'm amazed at how happy I was to find a tin lurking in the cupboard - almost a cause for celebration and Madhouse Daddy will actually get some meat !

Literally the only things left in the cupboard from the food parcel are rich tea biscuits and teabags. The verdict is, it's not fun and it's not inspiring but with just one £10 food parcel, you really can feed two adults for 5 days. Filling bellies becomes more of a priority than making tasty or nutritious food, admittedly. If you usually walk past the food collection points thinking that your meagre offering would be a drop in the ocean and wouldn't make the slightest difference so it's not worth bothering, just remember that. Tesco want to get the message out that #everycanhelps and having taken part in the challenge, I can see that this is certainly true. With one can less, I wouldn't have managed to get three meals of any shape or form on the table for the whole duration of the challenge.

For more details of next week's food collection, go to :

You can also follow the hashtag for the challenge #everycanhelps and the twitter handle @TescoMedia

Disclosure : I received a Tesco food parcel in order to take part in the challenge and experience food poverty for a week.

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Meal Planning Monday

Want to see what everyone else is eating ? Head over to Meal Planning Monday at Mrs M's blog !


  1. You planned a good menu out of that food parcel. Don't think my DH would agree to go through this challenge though.

    1. It was interesting for 5 days but I wouldn't like to do it permanently. Unfortunately, some poeple don't have the choice :-/ (Incidentally, nor did Madhouse Daddy ! lol)

  2. Challenge seems a good idea.Especially when we have individuals and families in Britain who have to attend Food Banks in order to have food to eat. Politicians need to improve Britain for it's citizens, visitors and tourists. How healthy and happy are those who are having to live with such a limited diet and lifestyle??

    1. Rachel Craig. (had forgotten to include name)

      Maybe another interesting experience would be to shadow a Politician for the day. As children do get the opportunity to do work experience whilst at school. Maybe the options should be increased. Also widening the opportunity by opening it up to adults may be of benefit. As we can all learn from each other, whilst we learn most from experience.

  3. Good luck, it sounds really hard but too many people live like this everyday x #mealplanningmonday

  4. Well done you! What a challenge! Great menu....
    I buy the tins of spaghetti bolognese and love them much nicer then the branded one's!

  5. What a fantastic menu, I don't think hubby would like this challenge lol


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