I’m finding it hard to write. The reason I’m finding it hard to write is because I am troubled. So I will have to write about being troubled.

I am troubled about flooding and fracking. I am troubled about Benefits Street. I am troubled about horrendous human suffering in Syria. I am troubled about events kicking off In Kiev. I am troubled about the fall of Egyptian civilisation. I am troubled by 12 Years a Slave and intractable global inequality. I am troubled about The Railway Man and Freedom from Torture. I am troubled about The Wolf of Wall Street and capitalism escaping it’s comeuppance.

This screams at me that I should get off my butt and be much more of a political animal. But I tried that last year. In 2013, after seeing Ken Loach’s Spirit of ’45, I signed up for a new political party and attended Left Unity’s Founding Conference. All the while I was internally stressing about the unintended destination that the route of political zealotry might lead. I went to some softer, more cuddly Green Party meetings. Caroline Lucas is my very favourite politician and its utterly incredible that she is in parliament in a first past the post system. All hail! Also in 2013, I actually went on a demo! Along with about 50,000 others in support of saving our NHS from the clutches of neoliberalism. Did anybody notice? I take my hat off to those protesters at Barton Moss but there is no way I’m joining them in this bleedin’ weather!

So I revert to being a political vegetable ….. My bridge over troubled water in this week of unprecedented flooding is a Steak and Ale pie http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/jan/10/how-cook-perfect-steak-ale-pie served with mashed swede and carrot, roast parsnips with parmesan and steamed cabbage. Comfort food which probably won’t pass the speciesism test.


But I take my comfort from the fact that the vegetables are grown by farmers who have not given their land over to growing maize to feed cars while flooding homes in the process.

This week I’ve watched some of the hideously polarised ‘debate’ about Benefits Street which media types suppose make good telly. I saw Jack Munroe being rudely verbally attacked by that women who told us all our eggs have salmonella. Does anyone else find it confusing that even people like her have redeeming features? Anyway, Jack Monroe does a blog http://agirlcalledjack.com/ where she shows people how to make good food on a low income – a very low income, a heating or eating, food bank needing type of income. She knows how to do it because she’s done it. And do you know I even read that she was accused of being an imposter because she uses kale in her recipes. KALE! Aka animal fodder!


What a eureka moment! The discovery of melt in the mouth kale crisps. Chop up the kale without the stalks and sprinkle with oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper and spread out on a baking tray. Roast in a hot oven till crisp. Kale comfort indeed!

This has been just one of many magic veggie moments this week, along with miso soup and roast cauliflower with cumin. So my beloved veg bag http://burnleyfoodlinks.org.uk/ has helped soothe my troubled turmoil in torrential times. If I had to live on £10 a week like Jack did, I think I would start with a £6 veg bag. And let me add – the reason it is a bag is because you can’t take a box on the bus!