Posts Tagged ‘food

Live below the line…

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I am an avocate of frugal living it’s true.  I am a bargain shopper.  I sniff out ‘deals’ like pigs seeking truffles.  I like to eat healthily and not buy what I term as ‘crap’ from supermarkets (crisps, cereal bars etc).

So far, so smug – I’m sure you’ll agree.

But while I pat myself on the back for being such a canny shopper, the fact is that if I wanted to have a blow out on an expensive resturant meal, or gorge on cakes and sweets I could. I am lucky that I have the means to spend more than I do on food and drink.

However millions of people around the world don’t have that luxury, and face days of hunger, malnourishment and extreme poverty.   Can you imagine what it would be like to face the daily struggle to feed yourself and your family?  To have to make the choice between eating or buying clothes? To try and get by on a little amount of money – say £1 – a day?

Well imagine no more, and take part in Live Below the Line – a new campaign which encourages people around the UK to live off just £1 a day for food and drink for a week, to get a better understanding of the challenges faced by people living in extreme poverty.

In the UK many of us are used to being able to buy what we like, when we like.  In fact we often buy so much, that 8.3 million tonnes of food is thrown away by households every year.

The Live Below the Line challenge (which takes place from 2-6 May 2011) is a great way to highlight not only the daily challenges of  people trapped in extreme poverty, but maybe also just how much we buy but don’t actually need.   You can also use the challenge as an opportunity to raise funds for the fight against extreme poverty.

So sure, I consider myself a frugal shopper, but I don’t know what it’s like to walk a mile in the shoes of someone who has no choice.  I’m going to join the campaign on 2 – 6 May, and I hope many others will join me!


Written by Lores

April 15, 2011 at 11:52 am

Have Sell-By Dates Sold Out?

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I read an article this morning about how the Government are considering ditching sell-by dates on food products in order to curb wastage of food.

The article says;

Environment minister Hilary Benn told the Chartered Institution of Waste Management’s Futuresource conference the labelling system can be transformed by potentially phasing out sell-by and display-until dates…

…He said sell-by dates are used by retailers for stock control but can end up confusing customers into throwing away perfectly good food.

“When we buy food it should be easy to know how long we should keep it for and how we should store it,” said Mr Benn.

“Too many of us are putting things in the bin simply because we’re not sure, we’re confused by the label, or we’re just playing safe…””

Personally, I have always been cynical of sell by dates anyway – I could never really understand how ‘Mr Supermarket’ could accurately predict the longevity of my food items.  Surely this is bordering on clairvoyancy?

But on the subject of wastage I totally agree.  According to the news article “£10 billion of edible food is dumped every year” in the UK.  This is totally unnecessary wastage, and possibly one that many people cannot really afford.

And its not just the cost to our pocket.  According to a recent GLA report, “Londoners eat a staggering eight billion meals a year and produce nearly 19 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions”.   According to the report, these figures take into consideration travelling to the shops and restaurants and the storing, preparation, eating and throwing away food.   So there is the environmental cost of wastage as well to consider.

I have known people throw away an apple because it has a bruise on it.  Or a banana where the skin has split slightly.  I say ‘cut off the offending bit and eat the rest’…but then I can’t understand why there would be ‘use-by’ dates on fruit and veg items anyway.   Surely if it is mouldy or rancid you can tell quite easily?

I never really thought of ‘sell-by’ dates as being for supermarket stock control, although now I think about it makes perfect sense.  I always assumed that these dates were a ‘guidance’ for consumers…but even so, I have always been of the opinion that if food items are a few days ‘out of date’ but seem to smell and look ok then its alright to eat them anyway.   Some recipes actually work better with food that is slightly off – think about using stale bread in a bread and butter pudding recipe for example.

So much of our food (from supermarkets anyway) is heat treated, disinfected, packaged, sealed and sterialised anyway, so much so that is would probaby last a nuclear fall out!  So I can’t imagine that it is going to do you much damage if it was eaten past its sell by date…

In my grandparent’s era when there were no sell-by dates on food and drink.  There was no Government / EU intervention or hand-holding then – the only way they knew if something was edible or not was by using common sense. 

So I think scrapping sell by dates can only be a good thing.  There would probably be some initial confusion to start with, being that ‘hand-holding’ from the powers that be is almost becoming the norm in our society.  But something does need to be done to change these inaccurate preconceptions around ‘sell-by’ dates, ‘use-by’ dates, and ‘display-until’ dates.  

Wastage of food on this scale is a disgrace.

Love Me Do…The Odd Things I Like About People

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This morning on my way to work, an elderly woman got on the tube train I was on.  She must of been in her 70’s and she had massive frizzy red hair, horn-rimmed glasses, bright pink lipstick and a fun-fur leopard print jacket, and on spotting her I felt a tiny pang of love for this old dear.

Now this might sound odd, but I do find that I love some odd things in people.  In this case – eccentricity. 

It got me thinking about all the other odd things that I love about people…not the ‘normal’ things that are loveable in people, like politeness, kindness etc, because that goes without saying.    More, the things that you wouldn’t immediately think were loveable traits in someone.  Let me try and explain with a short list of examples:

Eccentric People

old_ladySo the woman on the bus was just so lovably eccentric. Eccentric clothes, eccentric hobbies…odd, unusual and illogical behaviour is such a wonderful thing to me. (What is ‘normal’ anyway?)

I’m not talking about people who are mentally ill or just ‘wacky’ – you know those people who are self confessed crazy people (‘I’m mad me!’) and who usually are the dullest people going.

Eccentrics are very different. They honestly don’t seem to notice why they are different, or if they they do, they just don’t care. Individuality is something to be cherished in my opinion.

Impossibly Posh People

terry thomasThis is not quite the same as eccentric people – although of course there can be some cross over. Impossibly posh people deserve a category all to themselves. I have a weird fascination with them – like an alien life form, I can’t quite believe that they exist, but they do and so I can’t take my eyes off them.

Impossibly posh people will usually have triple-barrelled-surnames, can trace their family routes back to the 12th Century and genuinely do not believe that poor people exist. They are so ill equip to deal with the ‘real’ world (i.e. outside their castle walls) that it’s amazing they made it this far.

You can see some examples of what I mean here on tweeting too hard.My favourites on this site are: The woman who tweets “impatiently waiting for my cavier” and another who tweets “OMG I was saying how I couldn’t afford gas to fly daddys jet to the riviera this summer and this barista totally rolled her eyes at me”

Simply fabulous!

People who’s first reaction is to smile

I’m not talking about someone walking around with a permanent smile on their face like some sort of village idiot, but people who, as a general rule, choose to smile at a new situation rather than frown are wonderful people in my book (and also very rare). I also love people who laugh a lot. Jolly people.

Miserable People who Complain A Lot

victor meldrewConversely to the above statement, there is something I really love about genuinely miserable, opinionated people. I love it when people complain – it just make me laugh and I love them all the more, and then that gives them so much more to complain about. And so the circle of miserable love continues.

My favourite comedians tend to be moany, miserable people like Jack Dee, Frankie Boyle, or Jo Brand.  I love reading miserable / ranting blog posts like c4rosel’s vicious tirade about espadrilles and Enduring Art’s post Cojones(actually the more I read of Enduring Art’s blog, the more I wonder if this person may actually be scary rather than funny)

People Who are Passionate about something

Anything, I don’t care what. Unless of course, it’s murder or something like that.

But seriously, even if the subject matter bores me to tears, there is something magical about someone who is very very passionate about something.  If you have ever been in the company of a child for example who is so excited about something (a new toy / a day out etc) that they can’t get the words out – you’ll understand what I mean.

People who enjoy their food

chocolate-cakeNo, I am talking about fat people. That is food abuse in my book (apart from if the fatness is caused by a medical condition of course). Its probably borderline weird, but I just love it when people enjoy food. You know, when people aren’t afraid to have an extra piece of cake…or when I see people enjoying an ice cream or a big steak dinner. Its endearing for some reason. Urgh…There is no way of explaining what I mean without sounding a bit creepy…!



And for my next blog post: The Things I hate about People (that list might be slightly longer)