Gifts

img_7315

I’ve been given a few food items recently and I’m not at Bea Johnson’s stage of refusing medals from mayors  and refusing even the smallest of gifts is difficult. So I accept and guiltily eat away.

To anyone who has been living zero-waste for a long time, I’m sure it’s easy peasy to refuse things like the above. But for me, it is so counter-intuitive and against everything I have ever learnt – to refuse a gift (and especially a gift to me as a host) (and especially food).

I tell myself that I’m still a newbie and still transitioning relatively quietly i.e. not shouting about it on the rooftops, therefore it’s up to me to make the decision of when to alert people to my lifestyle.

Veg box week 1

img_7230

On Friday, I went to pick up my first veg box from Locavore. Veg boxes are seasonal produce grown from Locavore’s farms, as well as other local organic farms. Each week I will pay £5 and will receive something different.

I have been researching farmers markets in Glasgow for a while, but couldn’t find anything conclusive or satisfactory. Since I live close to Locavore, I decided to trust fate and subscribe to a veg box.

This means that I don’t get to choose what I am given; I simply have to make do with what I receive. This pleases me, as it will enable me to discover new vegetables, think up new recipes, and explore my culinar-adventurous side. Certainly in a few weeks, when my work load will have cranked up, I will be damning the kohlrabi or cabbage I’ll receive. But for now, I plan to have a great week of fun dinners.

And obviously, I like knowing my food doesn’t have any air miles; that I am supporting local farmers; that setting up a direct debit means I don’t produce receipts; that I can bring the plastic bag back next time; that I walk to Locavore and back…

This week, I received potatoes, carrots, a cabbage, onions, and sprouting broccoli.

Bulk M&Ms

In my last post, I mentioned that I crave M&Ms.

A part of me feels like I really shouldn’t even put such foodstuffs in my body anyway – and I could probably make them from scratch (Hello recipe. Nice to meet you.)

And then, I remember that I am transitioning, that I have already cut out kilos of food I would usually eat, and that I can’t expect myself to flip over like a pancake and be a new person.

I also remember that I am heading to London soon, and that I have always looked away in disgust at M&Ms world on Leicester Square, criticising that place for being the pinnacle of junk food, consumerism, and aimless eating.

But they have bulk bins.

10547044_331973923626313_861055473_n

Full of M&Ms. I could stock up for a year. Until I’ve weaned myself off them. Until I come back to my senses, as an adult. Until the sugar oozes out of my pores.

Funnily enough, I’m not trying to be super healthy – or not anymore than I used to. I eat loads of chocolate. I eat loads of brownies. I eat loads of snacks other people offer me. I eat. I like eating. I talk about food. Passionately.

So my transitioning and learning how to live differently will also include slip-ups (deliberate or not) which will continue to teach me what I am looking for, and what I am working towards.

These might be the last batch of M&Ms I get.

 

Zero-waste lifestyle: foods I miss…

… but only slightly:

  • M&Ms
  • readily available biscuits
  • gnocchi
  • that trashy pizza that day when you’re upset or exhausted
  • chickpeas/beans/lentils that you don’t have to soak
  • buying chocolate/crisps/bread when being spontaneously invited to a friend’s house

So basically, apart from the M&Ms (yearn), letting myself be unprepared is the thing I miss the most.

 

Past self’s decisions

I have this insane habit of ferociously stocking up on food. It’s like I am terrified of running out of food at a critical moment, or of running out of money and being unable to eat. I don’t know where this comes from. My friends make fun of me and of my piles of food under my bed.

So this is why it is only now that I am finishing a few packets of food that I had bought about 6 months ago (seriously).

img_7124

Do you ever feel frustrated about your past self’s decisions? There are big things you can be angry about, like that partner you should have separated from earlier or that letter you really shouldn’t have sent… And then there are the small things, like a comment you made a few months ago that lacked empathy, or buying a £13 cheese when you really need a hairdryer so you don’t go out into the cold with wet hair…

And then there’s a slightly ridiculous habit of having vast amounts of food stashed in ever corner in case disaster strikes.

Needless to say, I will now buy ground almonds from the bulk bins!

Maybe I’ll just have glass jars full of food under my bed from now on… Old habits die hard…

Galette des rois – or when homesickness for another home produces trash

I don’t celebrate any religious festivities – however since a few years I make a galette des rois on the 6th of January (recipe below). Because it is the most scrumptious thing on this planet and I will take any excuse to make a cake, especially in grim and grey Glasgow.

img_7126

It’s a French puff pastry-frangipane delight, light enough to eat bucketloads of and tasty enough to make even the meanest kid smile. Normally, bakers add a porcelain figurine somewhere in the frangipane for a lucky eater to find (Peau d’Âne style). Typically, the youngest child scrambles under the table and dictates who gets which piece of galette, so that there can be no peeking. When someone finds the figurine during eating, they become “king” and don a golden crown.

This is the first year when I consciously took stock of how much trash this tradition produces in my household. As you can see in the picture above, the puff pastry came with its own baking sheet. It also came in a plastic wrapper and cardboard box.

This time of year has probably been the hardest so far on my quest to reduce my trash production – and not even because of presents, which we don’t really do in my family. Simply because of all the foodstuffs that I chose to bring back from France or Switzerland (heaps of chocolates) and that sustain me for the time I am away in my other home. A friend often comes back from Italy with 2 litres of olive oil. Another French friend brought lots of raclette cheese back and had a raclette party a few years ago. All of us who have left home to find another home use food as a reminder of what’s left behind, and what we carry with us everyday.

So how can I produce less trash, whilst still fulfilling this need of mine?

Galette des rois recipe (via)

  • 1 rectangular puff pastry
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 50g butter at room temperature
  • a few drops of almond extract (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk

Heat oven at 210 C.

Cut the puff pastry in half. Put one half aside, and lay the other one on an oven dish. Prick the latter with a fork.

Mix the almonds, sugar, egg and butter (and almond extract) to form a paste. Spread the paste evenly on the pastry. Cover with the other half, and seal the edges well (I see a fork).

Dilute the egg yolk in a bit of water and spread on the surface and edges of the galette. Using a knife, lightly trace decorations on the top of the galette. Prick the top a few times, to let the air escape.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes (start to monitor from 25 minutes onwards, don’t hesitate to leave it in for 40 minutes if it needs it).

Food haul #3

Funnily enough, here I am talking about peanut butter again. I think it will be a recurrent theme. In real life, few of my friends have the patience to listen to me wax lyrical about peanut butter. My brother does, thank goodness.

We are peanut butter brethren.

I wonder if we were surreptitiously bathed in it as children.

To be honest, I’m in admiration with myself. I haven’t bought a jar of peanut butter since the last Ground Peanut Butter Jar. My determination has not wavered on this point (but it has elsewhere, as you will see). I have held fast through all my cravings, through all my trips to various stores displaying lovely little jars of Peanut Butter Of The Gods. Singing Siren Peanut Butter. Orpheus Music Peanut Butter. Watching A Sunrise From The Top Of A Mountain Peanut Butter. Swimming In The Sea Peanut Butter. Listening To Birdsong In The Morning Peanut Butter.

I went grocery shopping today and prepped some jars:

img_7102

(Because I don’t have any cloth bags and have stolen all the tupperware the flat has, to my great surprise. It was only when my flatmates asked me where their tupperware was that I realised I had completely monopolised them. I promptly fessed up and opened my food cupboard for all to see my food stocked in THEIR shiny tupperware. Woopsies. So instead I steal their jars from the recycling bin. I hope they don’t find me too odd.)

WHOLEFOODS HAS THEIR NUT GRINDER BACK.

A NUT GRINDER IS IN GLASGOW.

CLOSER THAN 42 MILES AWAY IN EDINBURGH.

Holy mackerel.

img_7107

I was vastly unprepared, having only brought small jars, rather than a 5 kilo one.

I spent all afternoon spoon-feeding myself peanut butter.

It also made me think – once again – about Calvin and Hobbes and the great wisdom within it.

calvin-hobbes-grocery-shopping

I’m beginning to have a lot in common with Calvin’s dad: a hatred of over-consumption; a love of camping and an adoration of cycling.