Free flavour

27 Feb
One issue I’ve given some thought to is flavour. When building up a pantry at one pound per day, essential daily needs (the actual food) should get priority over flavour. Yet to make food palatable, it’s often the other way around.

If for your daily meals you need to choose between a can of mushy peas or a bottle of vinegar, although cheap, ultimately vinegar classifies as a luxury item – it doesn’t really add to the nutrition of your food and you don’t really need it. But it will make a big difference in how your food tastes. That’s not to say vinegar is useless – it can play an important role in preserving foods so that they’ll keep longer, which might be a reason to buy it anyway.

This can’t be said for most of the condiments, herbs and spices that we add to our food. For the most part of it, they’re there for flavour only. At nearly a pound per jar of herbs, I’ll rarely be able to afford any. But then how will I flavour my food?

The answer, of course, is to find free flavour sources. For starters, anything you can forage – here in Britain, rosemary and lavender are easy to find all year round. Other possibilities, when in season, include e chamomile, jack-by-the-hedge and wild garlic.

But it doesn’t end there. Small amounts of white sugar, brown sugar, sweetener, salt, pepper, HP sauce, ketchup, mayo, mustard, vinegar are made available for free as a service to customers of fast food restaurants, pubs and gas stations. It’s unlikely that anyone will make a fuss if you bring, for example, a day’s worth of salt (all of 6 grams) from a place like that – yet, when in doubt, ask. Of course we shouldn’t consider this a long term solution, but it’s useful to get some extra flavour in our food during the first few days, while we’re trying to get our pantry sorted out.

I’ve got a few more free flavour tricks up my sleeve – I’ll publish them as I go along.

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