the skinflint philosopher

Attempting to thrift our way to a better life, with a toddler in tow!

Shriven me timbers!


As it is now the first day of Lent, the skinflint philosopher is pondering the whole pancake debate. As we know, whether with religious intent or not, pretty much the whole of the British Isles (and quite a bit of the wider world) will have chowed down on a batter full of delight yesterday (unless you were the poor muggins stood at the hob waiting for the rest of the family to get through their fill before you can take the weight off and sit down and eat one yourself). Any experienced pancake chef will tell you however that the first pancake cooked in a frying pan never works properly (is there some weird oil related physics going on?), so it is always advisable to have a ravenous Digger to hand to polish off the tatty or stuck together version before the beautifully circular ones start appearing thick and fast from your pan.

Of course, the logic of eating up the eggs and fats before the forty days of fasting in the run up to Easter meant the seemingly humble pancake was a perfect choice. Should sugar have been widely available back in the day (physically, and in terms of price) I’m pretty sure the great British public would now be having a long established annual celebration of Cake-and-Muffin Tuesday instead.
A good and prudent homemaker would not want any food to go to waste, so ‘using up the bits’ in a pancake made financial, as well as spiritual sense. Nowadays of course, for most of us, it wouldn’t be right without lemon or sugar, or cinnamon, or nutella and bananas- we in our times of plenty will push even the eggy/fatty treat over the edge of a calorific precipice. For some of us, it may well signify fasting, or another food-related forty days of change (I’m trying gluten-free, again, this year). I’ve suggested to Digger he stops looking at power tools on the internet as a positive thing (from my point of view) to give up (just really, I can’t get my head round it- it surely cannot engage anyone for that length of time. Seriously. Its not like they are performing a sitcom or the collected works of Shakespeare. Its just tools. Pictures of them).

In reality through, yesterday got me thinking more along the lines of preventing waste by eating things up. Our food bill is probably not large in comparison to many other families (see earlier blog post here)- we eat between us very little meat, we try and eat seasonally, we cook from scratch as much as time allows. But still, I think we probably over eat. I also like to have plenty of food ‘in store’ in case of random emergencies thankfully never yet to be seen, although to be fair, plenty of people on our little rock panic buy as soon as the ferry gets cancelled for 24 hours and shelves in the supermarkets are emptied out in fear of mass-starvation. Fear not my friends, I think we might just be able to hold it together till the next boat.
What is extremely rare in our house though is for any food to be thrown away. I’ve read plenty of blogs where people suggest careful meal planning and food purchasing prevents waste (and good on you if that works for you), but I find just the opposite to be true. By never having a set meal planned, we cook and eat what needs to be eaten first. Our meals may be on occasion slightly eclectic, but certainly never dull. Digger is always happy with leftovers in a lunch box for the following day, and Tiddler has clearly picked up on the vibe and has even been known to deny herself pudding on occasions until she has emptied her plate. I’m not holding out hope that that is going to be true for ever, but long may it last in the meantime. I suppose this means that a food skinflinter is in a sort of semi-permanent state of lent, if such a thing is possible, which by default may mean we are having a jolly good shriven. As long as it is motivational, rather than flagellation, it has got to be good.

My final thoughts are with Tiddler, as too little to toss the pancake, or take part in a Shrove Tuesday race or football game as tradition demands, we set to with some of her pals in order to get a little bit creative with our food luxuries. Pancake pictures feature monkeys, a cat, and Digger. I’ll let you figure it out.


Any particular things you are giving up, or starting, or doing differently for the next 40 days?




Author: Theskinflintphilosopher

Call me thrifty, prudent, tight or even a miser, but squirreling money away is definitely my thing. The ins and outs of how saving money became a lifestyle, in order to work towards a specific lifestyle change. Follow me on that journey and learn to look at life in a different way.

4 thoughts on “Shriven me timbers!

  1. I think the idea of menu planning in food waste reduction is to encourage people to only buy what they need. My approach is flexible menu planning – I plan 5 out of 7 meals but their day isn’t set and the two days without a planned are to account for leftovers and any sudden changes (e.g. illness, working late…)
    I gave meat last year. This year it’s meat and fish. I gave up caffeine one year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Natalie! I guess it could work if you have the time to invest in the menu plans and the organised shopping (couponing is the same too) , I think I’m perhaps a bit too random with my timings for going shopping and so prefer to think on my feet in the shop and with my cooking. Do you have a list of certain meals, that you then pick 5 out from, and this gets rotated between the weeks to ring the changes?
      Wow-how did you manage with giving up caffeine? Did you get the detox headaches?


      • I go through stages when I’m really organised and then I’m not but we do have a few meals that are pretty fixed and if I’m not feeling very organised or adventurous I’ll stick to favourites. At the beginning of the month I like to get the freezer stocked up with easy meals too.
        I don’t think I could do it now! I drink more coffee now than I did then so I don’t think I suffered too badly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m afraid I’ve already ‘broken’ my gluten-free lent this year- bagels and cheese for lunch I’m afraid today. Never mind, at least more effort to reduce the intake is better that nothing. Still I am impressed with giving up caffeine…. I did switch to decaf tea when I was pregnant and I suppose now drink half/half during a typical day, but I still need a caffeine drink first think in the morning to get me firing on all cylinders.
        At the moment because Tiddler -although eating quite a variety of food- doesn’t like things mixed, i.e. a bolognese or ratatouille would be out of the question even though she would eat most of the components if served individually, perhaps at the moment I am cooking less ‘dishes’ and more separate items served together – I guess that makes it easier to throw meals together on the spur of the moment! Our latest favourite is a sort of frittata/pastryless quiche which she will eat if I chop some of the ingredients in her portion of it pretty small and disguise them by sticking a big mushroom on the top which is her absolute favourite veg. Can sneak spinach in to this too without her realising which is great:)


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