There’s always the worry, isn’t there, when one is as vocal as me the topic of recycling, that one will be caught out and held to account.
The very thing happened to me yesterday, when LSB remarked that he and the girls play a fun game of a morning, while I am upstairs, otherwise engaged doing my toilette. The game they rejoices in the name of ‘Is this butter?’, so called because of the number of times they open a tub of Lurpak, only to find concealed within some forlorn sausages (mouldy), a small pile of fusilli (mouldy) or this week’s treat, elderly baked beans, and you’ve guessed it, not only mouldy, but potentially growing another life form.*
It pains me to admit it, but I’m a wishful user-upper, a wannabe zero-waster, and perhaps just an aspirational arse. I’m forever scraping out whatever’s caked to the bottom of the pot and telling myself earnestly that it will form the basis of tomorrow’s lunch, then forgetting all about it. It really isn’t good enough, especially since I was on with Frank on Thursday morning, chatting animatedly on ways to eke out** dinners such chicken tikka-masala and spaghetti bolognese in these fiscally fraught times. And do you know what he had the cheek to tell me, live on air?
‘Helen,’ he says, interrupting my spiel, ‘you’re obviously very accomplished in the kitchen, whipping up these fancy meals of an evening!’ I swiftly disabused him of this notion, telling him that my culinary skills have dwindled to nothing of late, since time, lack of imagination and fussy eaters have leached away any enthusiasm I once had. ‘I rely heavily on bought sauces,’ I told him frostily, ‘and jazz them up a bit with a few herbs and extra garlic and ginger.’ Well, some listeners took umbrage with that too, when I said I chopped up the aromatics and fired them in the freezer for easy access of an evening, (about what exactly their issue was, I am still unsure.) I started on the ‘chop, bag and freeze’ after finding too many knobs of ginger lurking at the back of the fridge like some wizened appendages, and one can’t be having that if one is apparently opposed to waste.
But do you know what pisses me off no end? So much of household recycling falls to the woman of the house; it’s we who are micro-managing the clothing, the laundering, the shopping and subsequent sorting of the by-products. It’s the fridge blindness and overall vagueness of my husband when it comes food in general that shreds my nerves.
Case in point, say I were to lovingly prepare him a bowl of strawberries and sliced pear for a late afternoon snack while he’s writing away at his code, or whatever the f**k he does at the computer. ‘Oh, lovely!’ he’ll say, horsing it into him. But it would NEVER cross his mind to source such a snack for himself. Same with the lunch items. He’ll take the most cursory glance at the front of the fridge, then leg it down to the Super Spar on Sunnyside Street to buy sausages and chips. I falls upon me to yell, ‘THERE’S CHILLI CHICKEN CHUNKS BESIDE THE YOGURTS IN THE FRIDGE,’ as I race out to work. In his defence, he says that he’s so melted ushering me out the door making sure I have my phone, keys, wallet, laptop-bag and my coffee, (hot in my little flask); THEN switching his attentions to the children and the dog, that he’s almost passed himself by lunch time.
Anyway, what I started off to say was this: sometimes I’m rubbish at the whole shebang. It’s damn near impossible to be zero-waste in this world, but one reason I do try to recycle so much is to assuage my guilt for how un-green I am in other departments. You can’t do it all, and sometimes I don’t manage any of it. Cleaning, tidying and decluttering are my absolute nemesis. But I can still persevere. Any ideas welcome!
*The Mothership was on the blower and suggests placing leftovers in jam jars so one can clearly see the contents. Bon Maman jars are particularly good for this since they are wider and also aesthetically pleasing. One day I will strive towards this level of organisation.
**Can I have a big drum roll please for LENTILS? I routinely throw half a cup of red lentils into Bolognese and curry. They thicken up the sauce nicely and with the addition of extra veg means I can reduce the amount of meat without it being too obvious. In my pre-lentil days, anytime we made curry there was often wastage in the form of a gloopy sauce with a few sad bits of onions floating about in it. Now what we are left with is of a more dahl like consistency and its super tasty.