Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Since Saturday I've been fully occupied making white food with a faint hint of of banana yellow, rice pudding brown and avocado green.
It might sound like I've been conjuring up baby food, but I've actually been busy using up 12 pints of milk and concocting banana milkshakes (which the kids hate), bread & butter pudding, toad-in-the-hole, rice pudding, mashed potato and hot chocolates (which the kids love). Even Mr A has been busy with his frother making a couple of cappuccinos.
So by today, we were left with just one and a half pints before our next milk delivery arrived on the doorstep. Now that's a remarkable result because just over a year ago I would have allowed any spare milk to go off and would have just poured it down the drain.
Glug, glug, glug, glug.
With no further thought.
And with no consideration of the wasted money as I'd pour it away, or indeed the energy needed to milk the cow, bottle the contents and transport it to my home, not to mention the organic food needed to feed the cow in the first place.
But these days I am beginning to get bothered about all that and more. I now wonder how it's possible to do all that for just 73p. That's right, 73p for a pint of organic milk delivered to my door. And I also wonder how supermarkets can sell it cheaper.
It's strange how you start off simply worrying about the amount of rubbish that goes in your bin and then find yourself being concerned with all manner of waste as well a whole range of aspects surrounding your purchasing decisions.
But it gradually happens and almost creeps up on you like a monster crawling out from behind the sofa and before you know it you find yourself wondering whether it's better to get the bus to your local market or drive a few miles to the nearest farmer's market and whether it's more ethical to purchase jam made at your local farm or buy a fairtrade product shipped from Africa.
It only gets easy when you have the choice between like-for-like products, e.g. choosing fairtrade bananas at the supermarket or fairtrade coffee in the cafe.
I admit that I am still a bit of a toddler when it comes to such decisions. I feel I do my best when I remember but if I'm in a hurry my best intentions go out of the window. However shopping with Tracey Smith last week really brought home the issue and everywhere we went from tearooms, jewellers to chocolatiers she questioned their ethical and fairtrade policies. It was interesting how few shops had such a policy and we were both amazed and shocked at the lack of retail assistants who even knew what we were talking about.
Anyway if like me, you find yourself floundering when it comes to ethical decisions, I can recommend a fantastic book called A Good Life: A Guide to Ethical Living, by Leo Hickman, which was published last year. It's a great book which covers issues such as whether it is better to buy an organic apple from New Zealand, a fairtrade apple from South Africa or a locally grown apple that's non-organic and really gets you pondering the effects of your purchasing decisions.
And there's no better time to put the ideas into practice because yesterday was the official start of Fairtrade Fortnight, organised by the Fairtrade Foundation. The foundation works hard to promote fairtrade products through retail outlets, ensuring that workers in developing countries get a good price for their products and enjoy fair working conditions.
And finding such products is easy. There are over 3,000 licensed products in the UK and it's not just about bananas and coffee. A browse around the supermarket shelves will also find honey, nuts, juices, rice and even wine. To see the whole range and to find out where you can buy such items, just pop over to the Fairtrade website and browse the list of retail products.
I've had a good look myself and am now looking forward to my trip to the supermarket and cooking up something a lot more colourful than white. After all, my weekend has resembled something akin to a 1980s Dulux palette so I really think some Fairtrade chocolate is in order. Well that's my excuse anyway and I might just pick up a nice bottle of wine while I'm at it.
It'll make a nice change from scary monster mash don't you think?