A life of Lentils and Beef Eye fillets.


We have never lived the life of the miser nor of the squanderer. We followed the example set by our parents. Their main philosophy on how to survive the financial peccadilloes of a life was; don’t ever buy anything unless you have saved for it, even then, resist the temptation for buying things that are not essential. It might be a boring philosophy but it does help in the long run. Start off with living of nourishing lentils and you will feast on beef eye fillets or caviar later on

Waste not want not with a penny saved is a penny gained (gotten) are the sayings supposedly having originated in Yorkshire. In fact, the Yorkshire-men claim that it is two pennies saved. The first penny from not spending it and the second penny saved in case you would have spent it but did not. The logic escapes me a bit but as a Dutchman I might not be as fast on the penny uptake.

The Dutch have similar sayings and habits of parsimony. One famous saying “Sparen is Garen”.  Roughly translated it means, “Sparing is Gaining”. For the Latin lovers there is also; “Magnum vectical est Parsimonia,” followed with a lovely and succinct, “Acquirit qui Tuetur.” I don’t know Latin but it sound lovely and musical, at least to my ears.

Alas, the frugality that parents installed in us seems to have got lost on the younger generation. How on earth can kids spend so much time on their Iphones? Forget about mobile phones. They would not be seen dead with a normal phone as a phone, it got to be 4 G stuff with internet and hundreds of Apps stuff probabilities and has to include global surfing and 3D-printing with lots of ‘stuff like that’ or(boys) include ‘shit like that,’ girls mainly ‘stuff like that’.

I just walked past a school, a high school with, I think, mixed sexes. It’s hard to tell now-a-days. They all seem to revel in mobs of unruly hair that they keep shaking around making sure it hides their distant horizontal vision and so enables them to continually look down better at their G4 Iphone and stuff in case of a missed bullying opportunity.

Apart from most school kids walking home with their heads down intent on gadget peeking, there was also a flourishing trade going on in a mixed shop opposite the school. A steady stream of school uniform attired kids were coming and going from the creaky swinging fly-screen door.

It was one of those ancient lollie shops that used to always be opposite any school but have mainly vanished through the rapacious tactics of the big super markets. They often, but not always, had fly-blown metallic and slanting show- cases with stale custard-tarts sprinkled with dodgy looking cinnamon, meat pies from last Tuesday or the week earlier and traditionally would leave trails of stomach complaints from school kids not able to resist their hunger pangs and wait till home cooking (and stuff like that). The lamb chops with mashies and gravy has been overtaken by the take away or micro waved instant meal consumed while standing up while bowed over the 4G and stuff.

Of course, the kids would hydrate themselves with 2 liter Coke. Perhaps not a bad thing in alleviating or killing the bugs in the custard tart or dodgy meat-pie. Alas, the history of those shops catering for the school kids has just about vanished together with parsimonious penny saving.

It’s a pity because, thanks to our parents example we are now able to ditch the lentils and feast on the Angus beef eye fillet and Kipfler potato with crispy green salad. (And stuff like that)



Tags: , , , , ,

13 Responses to “A life of Lentils and Beef Eye fillets.”

  1. Patti Kuche Says:

    Ungrateful little wretches all of them! You have me pining now for steak, and even the lentils!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We go through a kilo of coffee every couple of weeks or so. As the evenings draw closer we get the Angus eye fillet out out, and with a solemnity of someone approaching a street busker with a violin to chuck a $2,- coin in the case, I open the bottle of fine Shiraz. Let the evening start!


  2. Lottie Nevin Says:

    My children were brought up on lentils and when they were not eating lentils they were eating beef mince with a handful of rolled oats added during cooking to it to pad it out and make it go further. That’s a Scots trick I believe.

    Here’s another great Yorkshire saying ‘Make do and mend’


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We still add oats to mince or sometimes a couple of eggs. My mum used to make our sandwiches for work and if things were tight she would just sprinkle sugar between the sandwich or just a simple unadorned biscuit.


      • Lottie Nevin Says:

        I still add oats too! It’s a good habit actually, more people should try it!

        Pete said that they used to have those sugar sandwiches too.
        Biscuits were a huge treat in our house. The best we could hope for was mums rather overcooked and rock hard flapjacks. Sans raisins or anything exciting like that.


  3. paul walter Says:

    Looks brilliant!


  4. Andrew Says:

    A lot of it may be that we are the children of a generation that experienced war. My parents were born in the 20s so knew times of real hardship. They saw debt as evil although they did have a mortgage. My father loved a drink but for about 25 years he never drank because there was no spare money to do so. Then when both sons had left home he would have 2 pints on a Friday night and maybe again on Sunday if one of us visited. Both smoked a little because they didn’t know better when they started. Veg came mainly from the garden. We had a joint on a Sunday and that was it. Mum made Welsh cakes, shortbread and sometimes our ‘ordinary’ bread too. A real treat was home made fudge. That was the values system we grew up with and I have never lost. I still feel guilty spending frivolously even though I can afford to do so at present. But always at the back of the mind is what the future might hold. My phone is now 18 months old and I am continually being asked why I don’t upgrade. Because the damned thing still works!!! My last one belonged to my employer so I had to give it back when I finished. I wonder what the current generation has in store for it. Much better times I hope but a little more frugality will go a long way.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My parents would toast each other on New Year’s Eve with a sweet sherry. That would be the drinking over for a year. There are now courses available for elderly people in how to use a mobile phone. There were no such problems with the copper wire telephone.
      My sauce pan doesn’t have a camera or GPS, why should a phone?


      • Andrew Says:

        Gerard, how old is your saucepan? Are you sure it doesn’t have GPS or a camera? Of course soon you will be able to use your phone to switch on the stove to heat the saucepan before you get home.

        We have CCTV cameras all over the house and we can see them from anywhere in the world where there is a 3G or wifi signal using the phone. I truly find that useful.


  5. paul walter Says:

    Oh Andrew. What must you think of those us still on copper wire?


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Paul;
      I think the copper wire system is still a goer. At some stage things will get back to simplicity. There will be a revolt led by millions of the elderly fed up by complications of hard-drives and E-sticks with memory Apps, useless blue teeth. Mark my word, all those millions seething with discontent. There will be blood on the streets. I/pods will be hurled through shop windows , coarse oaths renting the air with gnarled fists poking, rasping voices chanting; give us back our normal lives.
      Mark my word.


  6. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    What are “kipfler potatoes”. Good post.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      A Kipfler potato is an oblong tasty potato, firm and a bright yellow in colour. A boutique potato!
      I don’t know the origin of the name. It sounds a bit like a German composer. ” The sonata in E major by Kipfler,opus 21.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: