Saturday 24 March 2018

Kitchen stuff

I was born in 1954 and was a first adopter of all sorts of goods and services.
  • One of the very first kids in UK to have Lego to play with
  • Early experience of TV dinners: a part-cooked meal loaded into separate indentations on an aluminum tray, frozen, and made edible by putting in a hot oven. Synchronizing the doneness of each ingredient required months of experimentation by Swanson's food engineers.
    • Me, I preferred frozen chicken pies: aged 12, I could easily put away a 'family sized' pie and thought an "individual" pie no more than a snack
    • I could also knock off a dozen fish-fingers at a setting
    • It's a wonder I didn't become the Michelin Man of Plymstock
  • Remember instant tea, the complement of instant coffee? We had that briefly at home before the whole idea died.
All that convenience, especially when the bins were taken away for free every week by the municipality. Then, say 15 years ago, we all suddenly discovered that our normal, convenient life-style was consuming the planet in all kinds of unconsidered ways. From being innocent in our ignorance, we were being hectored to consider our carbon footprint and air-miles; to feel guilty about packaging, especially plastic; on the ethics of eating meat . . . and then fish. It could get passive-aggressive competitive among friends "oh, are you still using cling-film / saranwrap?" . . . "we never eat strawberries in Winter, they don't taste right having been air-freighted from Chile".

That was all brought home to me when The Beloved sent me a link from The Zero-waste chef about 9 items I banned from my kitchen and how I replaced them. I thought her list might include some of the single use kitchen gadgets which we've bought over the years:
  • a stand alone deep-fat fryer, with a little rubber penis for draining the used oil
  • an electric waffle-iron
  • a toasted cheese-sandwich maker
  • a nut-chopper
  • a juicer
  • a homogenising wand
  • an electric egg-beater
  • a half dozen different things to make coffee with/in
  • at least we drew the line at footless drinking glasses
Such much stuff such little utility; luckily we have 7 hectares of space to store it all.  And I haven't started on the blokey hardware inventory: the average life-time usage for an electric drill is 12 minutes. Here's Zero-Waste Chef's list, with Bob's commentary.
  1. Nespresso gadgets and the mountain of single use cartridges
    • This is the only variety of coffee-maker that we haven't (yet) embraced.
  2. Plastic wrap
    • Gave this up years ago, although we still have aluminium foil and greaseproof paper ( a square really helps cornbread out of the pan)
  3. Plastic baggies
    • What? Why would you buy plastic bags when so much food comes in plastic bags? I slip my lunchtime cheese sandwich into the wax-paper bag the cheese comes in.
  4. Bottled water
    • This is such A Thing now - about half my students at The Institute are chugging away during class. Our water at home is completely untreated, only lightly coliformed, but it's our coliforms so we're used to it. [kidding about the coliform]
  5. Other bottled bevvies
    • Why would you pay a premium for water with a 1% whiff of colour and patchouli?
  6. Tea bags
    • hmmmm, ZWC recommends loose tea and one of those perforated infusers. I'll do some research on that as to cost; my current feeling is that the 'sweepings' [a technical term for small fragments of tea that go into teabags so it brews quicker; nothing to do with sweeping up from the tea-factory floor] are cheaper than the chunks of leaf that make up loose tea. For 2 pins, I'd give up on the tea-bags and do unadulterated hot water instead
  7. Paper towels
    • It's true we used to have a roll of these on the go in the kitchen, but we stopped buying them years ago. I'm really twitchy about putting grease down the kitchen sink because of fear of fatberg; so we tend to degloop the frying pan with a tissue or two sheets of toilet paper. These later make reasonably effective firelighters. Mopping up spills is done with washable cloths. ZWC has an infinite supply of small cotton rags ripped from her children's worn out clothing: kept in a glass jar and thrown in the wash when they smell.
  8. Paper napkins
    • Are you joking? why would I use a napkin when I have a sleeve?
  9. Processed food
    • Sure we have some of this go through out kitchen - mainly so I can do research on The Blob's channel on Food Engineering and edible Tables of Contents.
    • Q. How difficult is it to make a 5 ingredient fresh pizza: bread dough; tomato passata; salami; mushrooms; cheese ? A. Not so very difficult that I would consider buying a 20 ingredient frozen pizza. I do miss a shop-bought chicken pot pie - engineered to be delicious 
There we go. I bet some of you now feel guilty about last week's grocery cart.

On another note entirely. It is World TB Day today: I have nothing new to say [2015 report]

No comments:

Post a Comment