Sunday, 27 April 2014

1797 Workhouse Diet Day 2: Withdrawal Symptoms

Day Two's Stodge-ometer Rating: 4/10. 

Day Two of the diet dawned upon me playing hostess to a blinding headache. I am assuming this is due to the sharp drop in my sugar intake yesterday.

Having realised in advance about the lack of tea on this diet, I had smugly thought I had done enough to  stave off the worst of the caffeine withdrawal. Before the diet began, I had gradually weaned myself off ordinary tea and on to green tea (less caffeine), with only a couple of mild headaches to show for it. 

But alas and alack! I didn't do any 'weaning-off' when it came to the sugary treats and biscuits I so love. Only last Tuesday night, I shamelessly wolfed down half a packet of Lemon Puffs, heedless of the consequences!  

Casting my mind back, I consumed a heck of a lot of sugar
last week. After all it was chocolate-laden Easter only last weekend, and a Lindt Bunny won't eat itself, you know. I had also visited the Easter market in Norwich and returned with an irresistible trio of sticky delights; Turkish delight, apple tarts and amaretto fudge. 

And it was my birthday last week, too, so I shared a Toblerone cake with friends. Then somebody at work inconsiderately brought in a homemade cheesecake, and it would have been churlish not to have tried a bit.

Finally, we had a delicious 'Last Supper' the night before the Workhouse Diet began at Chez Denis, in which I lustily consumed a Caribbean Creole extravaganza of monkfish deglazed in Malibu rum, and King Scallops in honey and ginger.

Oh dear. Perhaps I deserve a headache for being such a greedy-guts.

By stark contrast, here's a picture of this morning's 1797 workhouse breakfast of 1 pint of milk broth. I was, again, unable to find a definitive recipe so I kind of guessed, and made vegetable broth in the normal way, replacing the water with milk. It was surprisingly tasty, and a massive improvement on gruel- but a bit weird having vegetables for breakfast. 

Here's my lunch of boiled meat with vegetables and dumplings, and beer.
Lucy, the project dietician, suggested I take full advantage of any available vegetables on the menu. The suet dumplings were pretty nice, the veg authentically overdone and the boiled meat became hard squares of grey beef. 

Here are some of the cooking stages:

"vegetables in great plenty"


1797 cooking methods are simple: everything is just boiled for ages, so it's all very simple. I made two extra portions of this meal for later in the week, and the "broth" (aka the water it was cooked in) will be eaten for tomorrow's lunch.

Today's supper is this again:
There's not much more to say about bread and cheese! 

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  1. You're quite mad of course, but I admire you for trying this! I lived on WW2 rations a few years ago and actually felt very well on it, but this is proper hardcore! Best of luck.

    1. Thank you! Perhaps I'll do WW2 rations too at some point, it sounds positively luxurious compared to gruel...