Day 1


Muesli, ground coffee, apple, banana and orange, all from Waitrose, Botley Rd. Sorry, not a very adventurous start, but all unpackaged!


Succulent tomato from ‘Pickle and Lime’, Botley Rd, with a hearty sourdough baguette from ‘Country Grains’ Botley Rd. May have taken the easy option starting at Waitrose but stumbled across these two lovely shops as a result! The goats’ cheese (Ticklemore) is from the Jericho Cheese Shop on Little Clarendon St. Costs a fortune but a small amount can contribute wonderfully to a tasty lunch.


Pork steak from ‘Alders’ on the Cowley Rd, a genuine family butchers; with a form of French salad, with red onions and tomatoes, and King Edward potatoes all from ‘Pickle and Lime’. Onions of unknown provenance! The excellent cook: Mi, the Chaplaincy Housekeeper.






700 g tomatoes, 1 kg potatoes, I French lettuce, 2 onions, six apples (Cox), six bananas: £9.70

Ticklemore Cheese: £5.40/100g; Ashcombe £3.30/100g

Muesli £.23/100g

Colombian Coffee £2.20/100g

8 pork steaks (1kg): £10

Day 2


A pretty handsome collection of veg and eggs, all from ‘Bonners’ in the Covered Market, second day supper. But I slipped up! The fresh rosemary came in a cellophane rap! I didn’t have it in me to ask the greengrocer to take it back out of the box! Worst things was, though, I remembered later we have rosemary growing on the Residents’ terrace!




The above, nevertheless, is an improvement on the below – so mustn’t be discouraged:

What normally fills the fridge and kitchen cupboards of the Chaplaincy. Look at all that plastic. And amongst it, my favourite breakfast cereal, Kelloggs Crunchy Granola, in a very heavy plastic bag. Wonder, will I have the will to wean myself off it after this week.








Breakfast and lunch today was leftovers from yesterday. Hoping that supper tonight will go down well: Baked eggs with Roasted vegetables. Find out from Alvea and Fr Nick!

Today’s expenditure

An aubergine, red pepper, green pepper, fennel bulb, fresh rosemary, large onion, six eggs, all from ‘Bonners’, for £8.50. Anyone know, is that really, really expensive? I haven’t a clue.

Day 3

Why bother?

It’s 3.30pm and I am heading off in the rain for the rice for supper! I would have liked to have gone to OxUnboxed on Little Clarendon St, the pop-up non-packaged food-outlet based at the Oxford Hub. (We’ve loved having them at the Chaplaincy once a term pre-COVID). But I discovered they are shut today, and so I am heading back to the Refill Station in Waitrose.

Some of you may know Philip Larkin’s poem, ‘Going Going’ and his premonition (he was writing in 1972) ‘that it isn’t going to last’, the beauty of England, with ‘the shadows, the meadows, the lanes’ because ‘greeds/And garbage are too thick-strewn/To be swept up now’.

Wouldn’t it be terrible if he was right: not just ‘Going, Going’, but ‘Gone’! Pope Francis has spoken recently about subsidiarity, that idea in Catholic Social Teaching that each of us has a responsibility to work for the common good at the level where we can make a difference. I am hoping the experiment this week will help me take this much more seriously.


Last night’s supper before going in the oven. Eggs still to be added.





Day 3 expenditure

Mushrooms (for tonight), Potatoes (for Friday’s supper), two large tomatoes (for lunches), an avocado: £6.12. Back at Bonners again in the Covered Market.

Steak for supper from Alders: Rump £13.67 for 1.2kg: an extravagance unlikely to be repeated after I heard astrophysicist turned environmentalist, Sarah Bridle, last night on Radio 4’s  ‘Lifetime Scientific’ say that beef is right at the top end of the environmental damaging food products.

Rice £1/kg from Waitrose Refill Station.

A PS. Alvea and Fr Nick are having supper too in case you were wondering!

Day 4

What change might be possible?

I realise I am not a ‘foodie’ failing as I am to engage you all with photos of beautifully cooked plates of fresh produce! Dried apricots in Tupperware hardily hits the mark! They were my one purchase of today, from OxUnboxed on Little Clarendon St. They have a good range there of food and household essentials and, as a charity that raises money for the Oxford Hub, I’d strongly recommend them.








How much change might be possible once this week is over? I know there are lots of different things to take into account if any of us want to shop and eat in a more eco-friendly way: how food is being transported, how much damage to the environment is done in their production, etc. Sooner or later some of these details will be more readily available to us. But, at the moment, to do two things would be well worthwhile: to reduce the amount of food we waste, and to reduce the amount of packaging we contribute to landfill. And I’d like to add, because I assume recycling does itself contribute to our carbon footprint, to reduce packaging all together.

I didn’t just survive on apricots today! Below my supper of leftovers from earlier the week: tomatoes, red and green peppers, with some goats’ cheese on the top, with rice. More tasty than I imagined it would be!








Cost of dried apricots: £1.02 per 100g

Day 5

Simple Pleasures!

There have been some extravagances this week – the beef on Wednesday, and, last night, the sea bass from Worcester Seafoods in the Covered Market.

But the things that I have enjoyed most have been the simpler things: the cheese, the tomatoes, the fresh bread; the fresh bread and jam and coffee at breakfast. There is a connection here with the food I’ve enjoyed in France when walking the Chemin de St Jacques over a number of summers. On pilgrimage, the buying of food fits in with a daily rhythm, a morning or a lunchtime shop, before or in the midst of the day on foot through town and countryside. Popping into a market or stopping at a village store can be one of the small delights of the day, if you’re not too dead on your feet from the walking!

I am never going to be someone who lives to eat! And it is unlikely that I’m ever likely to replicate in my normal life the rhythms of a pilgrimage day. But I just know there is something not quite right in how things currently are and that something needs to change.



The wonderful supper cooked by Mi, Portuguese-style!

 Today’s expenditure

Salad and fresh parsley from Bonners: £3.98

Sea Bass from Worcester Seafoods: £25.01 (£17.95/kg) (Will cover two mealtimes for two!)

Day 6

Last Day

The last day on the challenge and I’m being visited by the creeping realisation that very soon I’ll be back opening Tesco bags of salad and tins of tuna because they’re there in the fridge or on the shelf in the larder; food we’ve got already can’t be wasted. But things must change!!

So, my last culinary effort of the week: to make fishcakes from the leftovers of last night’s supper. Starts off promisingly (well kind of), but fishcakes soon become fish bubble-and-squeak!








It’s been a good week, and I’m hopeful that we can begin to do things differently in the Chaplaincy. I’ll write one more post tomorrow, but just to thank you, whoever you are, for reading the posts this week. And thanks to Alvea and Matteo for making them available. To use a phrase that gets banded around, I’m hoping we can all do things a little bit more ‘laudato si’! The world’s beauty is at risk, the possibility of future generations enjoying what we enjoy is severely threatened. Surely, we must each do what we can to make a difference.

Facts and figures

The packaging from this week. Just one bit of plastic! But not included, I have to confess, plastic bottled milk.

Facts and figures, including meals I cooked for Alvea and Fr Nick or Mi cooked for us all with the things I’d bought:

Seven breakfasts, seven lunches, eleven suppers.


Waitrose 1st day shop £12.14 (included £8.40 for ground coffee still largely unused)

Pickle and Lime 1st day shop £9.70

Jericho Cheese 1st day shop £13.62

Alders Butchers 1st day shop £10.00

Bonners 2nd day shop £8.50

Nash’s Baker 2nd day shop £1.05

Country Grains 1st day shop £2.85

Waitrose 3rd day shop £1.26

Bonners 3rd day shop £6.12

Alders Butchers 3rd day shop £13.67

OxUnboxed 4th day shop £2.45

Artisan Café 5th day £3.95

Bonners 5th day shop £3.98

Worcester Seafoods 5th day shop £25.02

Total £115.31

Food remaining, some muesli and lots of ground coffee.

Cut out the extravagances, the expensive fish on Friday and the steak on Wednesday, and perhaps this is getting down to a reasonable budget!

And one ‘first fruit’ of the week, we now have food recycling bins for the Chaplaincy. Thank you, Neil (our manager)!