day three – part two – LBTL

One of the things that was really difficult for me this week was that in living below the line, I was doing probably as much harm as good. Sure, I’m raising money for ant-poverty initiatives, for education to help people get out of the cycle of poverty, something better than just throwing money at the problem and thinking that’s my bit done. This is a way to help change my outlook on life so that I think about my actions and how in every way I can do better, in every way I can act righteously (more on that later). It’s made me think and it’s made others think. I’ve had some really interesting discussions regarding whether people can buy me food (no) does this mean it’s ok for me to steal (no) does free food, such as from food vans, count (yes) can I use the veggies from my garden (unsure, but we’ll say no just in case) and it all basically revolves around the fact that I’m not just doing this because I have to, it’s a choice to raise awareness for myself and others.

These are all good things that happen because of this initiative. But to live on less than two dollars a day in Australia, I’m supporting organisations I don’t like or want to support. I’m buying unethical produce.

See, to afford enough food to feed myself for this week, I had to buy no-name brands. Flour, butter, pasta. Sure, I got my fresh food from the fruit and veggie market, but only because it was on special – in the discounted section. I was lucky in that way. But what home brands do, the brands like coles smart buy or Woolworths home brand or Black & Gold, they lower their prices, get monopoly over the market, then when it’s all theirs, they’ll jack up their prices so they get more and more money, while conning the producer out of what’s theirs.

And that’s just a part of it. So while I love what Live Below the Line are doing in terms of awareness and projects, it kinda sucks in this sense.

I don’t know what the answer is. We do what we can, and we let God take care of the rest. Although I have to say, what we can do is much more than we give ourselves credit for. We make so many excuses but we could be doing so much more for those less fortunate than ourselves.

I mentioned in my earlier post today about the fact that I have lots of food and everyone, while it’s lovely that they’re taking notice and caring about whether or not I’ll faint, doesn’t really get it. I feel like I’m cheating a little, because I really do have enough food. That said, it’s less than what I’m used to and I have to ask myself, how much of the time do I eat just because I feel like it and how much because I’m actually hungry? I’m not saying that eating is bad – I love food, and I love eating. I often eat too much just because it all tastes so good. But we complain (and by we I mean me) about the lack of this or the fact that we have to have our second-favourite flavour milkshake or whatever, and we’re just covering up the fact that we’re spoilt, western brats.

But we do what we can. And we’re all working on our personal issues and hang-ups. No one is perfect; we just strive to follow Jesus as closely as we can.

Flatbread

Adapted from Julie Goodwin’s LBL recipe

300g plain flour

30g butter

Water

Sift the flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Melt 20g of the butter and place in the well, and add water (not too much). Stir, adding more water if needed, until it’s shaggy and mostly stuck in clumps. Knead until it forms a smooth ball.

Melt the rest of the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Take a small piece of dough and stretch it out (you can roll in if you want it to end up a little prettier) until it’s fairly thin, and fry in the butter. Repeat with the rest of the dough (you can fry several flatbreads at a time).

Dip in your soup and imagine a better world. It can happen!

high tea with homemade everything

Well, mostly everything. On Thursday, I spent the day looking at what neighbourliness is all about, in a very interesting neighbourhood of Melbourne (apparently, 8000 people live in the CBD) with some people from an organisation called Urban Seed. Check it out, they’re really cool.

After that, and oh my golly gosh it was a BEAUTIFUL day, me and some friends went to check out my friend’s new flat and garden, and to make scones. Beautiful scones. Homemade with spelt flour, because my friend is allergic to gluten (spelt is a type of grain that has much less gluten than wheat, so it’s ok for allergies, because they can become immune, sort of, but not good for intolerants, who can’t.)

We had the scones with homemade jam – three types. Raspberry, youngberry and strawberry aniseed. Did you know that there are different types of blackberry? I didn’t until Thursday. Youngberry is one type, and silvanberry is another.

So. The scones. We used Stephanie Alexander’s recipe, from The Cook’s Companion (I would love to own this book. For now, I can just drool.) We only changed the self-raising flour for spelt flour, so we had to add extra baking powder.

Stephanie Alexander’s scones

Speaking of Stephanie Alexander and scones, her sister told her that when you hear your front gate squeak, you should be able to have a batch of scones coming out of the oven by the time they get to the front door. I’d be happy just to be able to put them in the oven in that time!

500g spelt flour (plain or self raising will be fine)

9tsp baking powder (you will only need two if you’re using self raising flour)

100g butter

200ml buttermilk, cream or milk

Preheat oven to 220ºC. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. Rub in the butter, although you can put the whole lot in a food processor if you have one. When it resembles breadcrumbs, make a well in the middle and add the milk all at once; stir in with a wooden spoon until just incorporated. Turn out onto a floured surface and pat down until about 3cm tall. Cut out using a medium cookie cutter (metal is best) and place close together on a buttered baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Eat warm with homemade jam and whipped cream.