One Day to Go

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Stocking the Plastic-Free Pantry

The shit gets real tomorrow. I can’t believe it’s June 30 already! In the last two weeks, I’ve made some discoveries:

Secret plastic-free shopping

Westfield Doncaster (or ‘Shoppo’ for those in the know) is a secret plastic-free haven. On the ground floor, you can buy soap with no packaging at the health food store. Then scoot about three metres to the Nutshack and fill your bags with nuts from the bulk bins. Upstairs, Spudbar serves baked potatoes with plates, knives, forks and tables: everything you need for a quick lunch. Here in consumer heaven, we have one of the best plastic-free food courts I’ve seen. I know, it’s very confusing.

When life gives you dragon fruit

School holidays started last week. I had half-prepared muffins but ran out of time to bake them. Not wanting a half-baked result (god, I’m hilarious), I searched the house desperately for a last-minute solution, when my eyes fell on that dragon fruit. I bought it in a spontaneous plastic-free frenzy a week before. Ridiculous pink-flame skin and bright-red, black dotted interior that bleeds profusely when cut, subtle sweetness like pandan; that’s what I brought my classmates for our end of term party. And they seemed to like it. Either that or they were very polite – I only had to eat half of it. Thanks to this little experiment, I’ve discovered I’m a fan of this impossible cactus fruit.

Recent failures

  • Panic-purchasing: spices for mulled wine, crumpets and peanut butter for dinner. You know, the usual.

It’s all about habits

I have a few bad habits that feed off each other and make it harder to stay off the plastic:

  • having no idea what’s in the pantry
  • waiting until something completely runs out before buying more
  • rushing off to the nearest convenience store whenever I need something

I am thirty-two. I have been adulting for fourteen years. Don’t say it.

If I’m going to make this work, like, really work, I need to make sure we always have stuff in the house. I’ll start with the seven essentials for hopeless vegetarian cooks: milk, bread, cheese, mixed herbs, oil, red lentils, tomato pasta sauce: not hard. I also need to make time to shop and cook (not much time but, you know, more than zero). I’m going to block out some time in my calendar. Maybe I can fit it in somewhere between re-runs of Crownies and Game of Thrones. Maybe I can make my own pasta. I’ve done that three times in the last fourteen years. Should be a doddle.

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I have to tell you about kohlrabi!

Our failure-tainted voyage to the supermarket last week yielded two new taste sensations. The first was Maasdam cheese and the second, which I forgot all about, was this guy …

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Photo by You as a Machine, licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

That’s right, it’s kohlrabi. We were going to buy cabbage, but they’d chopped the poor babies in half and covered them in … you guessed it, plastic wrap. This guy was naked so we took him home (sorry).

To my huge surprise, roasted kohlrabi is actually tasty. It’s sort of crunchy, a bit like broccoli stalk (which you can eat, by the way – slice it up and put it in stir fries). My other half (the other one who lives in our house, you know) served the kohl with roast potato, black beans and sumac and it filled up my stomach hole so perfectly I can’t wait to eat the leftovers after this.

P.S. In case you read my donut post yesterday, it was a mirage and the donuts were shrink wrapped. Rather than just eat potato, I eyed off the only plastic-free meal containing more than two food groups: a bacon and egg muffin. Only problem is, I’m veggo. I was reminded of the little cartoon person in The Trolley Problem (only a lot sillier and more Kantian) as I bought the muffin and proceeded to throw out the bacon. Feel free to mock me.