The job hunting is still going, and the stagnant bank account still waiting for some cash influx. I’ve written about this before. What I haven’t talked about was the practicalities of living with basically no money.
As lucky as I am to be able to live rent-free at my mum’s, and even though my dear mother seems to feel she has her little girl back, we haven’t taken the regression as far as re-establishing pocket money, thanks heaven.
And whilst I currently live within my (no) means, because I do absolutely nothing besides writing, looking for jobs, and going for walks, there are still some stuff that have to be bought. Like food.
And so here I am, introducing: skipping. Not the kind you do with a rope though. The kind that gets you yummy veggies for free.
I had always wanted to do it when on the road, but the truth is that I was too lazy to cook most of the time. Staying in hostels and backpackers is great on so many levels, the communal kitchen often not being one of them. I as often as not survived on takeaways or on rice: quick, cheap, and it fills you up. Not necessarily very exciting, but it did the job.
Now, being back “home”, there is no way I would be ok with this kind of diet. The only one thing I always do when I am in Paris is eat properly (and usually put some weight on).
My mum being awesome (and slightly crazy), the fact that I have no money means she thinks she has no money either. Add to that the hippie past and the environmentally aware activism, and you have the perfect recipe for a spot of skipping seeming to answer all our prayers.
Skipping is foraging. Replace the woods and psychedelic mushrooms by the city centre and discarded veggies, and you get the gist of it.
You don’t have to restrain yourself to greens, but I am here talking from experience, and with a thrice-weekly market down the road from the flat, fruits and vegetables are the way we go. Plus, they are healthy, yummy, and expensive, not to mention, usually disgusting when bought from our local supermarket.
It’s amazing we hadn’t done it before. Aside from the fact it saves money, skipping is also environmentally friendly. Waste is a massive issue in our society, so why not try to do something about it, and save some cash whilst you’re at it.
Here are the minutiae.
On market day, we watch the clock. When the market is over, we head down and do a quick run through, that is, we walk up and down the street to check that the stalls are being packed up, and to figure out what will be left on the road when they are done.
Then starts the real work. Sorting through the discarded boxes by the trucks and picking up whatever has been left for no other reason than laziness or stupidly high standard. A bruised melon is still a melon, and a weirdly shaped zucchini will still taste like zucchini once it’s been chopped up and cooked.
You might even find real gems. A dozen 5kgs boxes of cherries neatly stacked and forgotten (or discarded)! Two organic pineapples that seemed to not have fitted in the truck…
It’s all picked up and taken back home, to get sorted out again and then washed thoroughly. It’s a lot of work, maybe, but not only is it economical, it’s also fun. Treasure hunt fun. It also makes you go outside your comfort zone. Who knew there were so many different ways to eat zucchinis (they seem to be forgotten a lot)?
I truly believe that market skipping is the way to go. You might get some strange looks, but who cares? The suckers giving you these looks are still spending cash to eat greens! And you’re probably never going to see them again, anyways.
Why don’t more people do it? I believe the same reasons I always meant to but never gotten around to it: laziness, lack of time, and maybe a tiny bit of pride. Well, screw all that and go foraging!