Zero waste & cheddar cheese

Pregrated cheese packets were a repeat offender in my landfill trash, so I thought about how I could cut that down. So my first step was to grate the cheese myself. One day, I’ll find a deli that’s not already wrapped the cheddar in it’s own plastic raincoat, and I’ll liberate it to my house, where I’ll grate it and provide it with a reusable ziplock bag!

So, with my wonderful food processor, I was sorted:

Here's what you need to grate/shred your cheese
Here’s what you need to grate/shred your cheese

And in no time, I had this!

Grated cheese (bless that food processor!)
Grated cheese (bless that food processor!)
The solid cheese block wrapper, and the grated outcome (seems more than the 1kg pre grated bag)
The solid cheese block wrapper, and the grated outcome (seems more than the 1kg pre grated bag)
A $1.38 saving in grating my own - though slightly different cheeses.
A $1.38 saving in grating my own – though slightly different cheeses.

Weekly weigh in

This week’s check in is GREAT! (95g) I did a lot of cooking Thursday week ago, and that tided me over for meals until Sunday. Then my cooking on Sunday was homemade pastry for a leek pie – all minimal packaging (though the feta cheese wasn’t all used, to there’ll be plastic to come from that). I also had a belt fall apart (cheap = useless). There’s also some wrappers from choc chips and almond meal in there.

95g weigh in on Wed 3 July!
95g weigh in on Wed 3 July!

And last week? 297g.  Thanks largely to fabric of indeterminate type, so trashed.

Weighing in at 297g of choc wrappers and fabric
Weighing in at 297g of choc wrappers and fabric

I’m thinking I’ll create some sort of graph, and add it to my Zero Waste page so you can see how I’m going!

Film review: World War Z

I really think you, my readers, are high brow and that a blockbuster movie review will probably be of little value to you. Nonetheless, I’m not finished another book yet (though I did start on a fiction book – yay) so instead, I bring you a film review, which shall be World War Z.

Helicopters and zombies source:
Helicopters and zombies

I’m pretty interested in the ‘end of the world’ – whether it’s in the form of a natural disaster (remember my Emergency book from the book inventory post?) or from a more ‘minor’ adjustment to life – such as the holocaust.  So World War Z was on my ‘to watch’ list the first time I saw a trailer.

The story is humans becoming zombies through some sort of rabies like infection.  The premise of the movie is for Brad Pitt to find the source of the virus (disease/infection – you can see I’m not really on top of this medical terminology) and hopefully a vaccine.  To be honest, I’m not a zombie fan (though I did see Warm Bodies a little while aog) but this movie made it seem possible and realistic.  A viral infection that causes people not to die, but to stay in a permanent in between state, and continue to infect people.  It almost seemed plausible! 

Interestingly, despite the film probably paying through the nose for Brad Pitt, it could have been any actor in this film and it would have still been enjoyable.  That being said, if you’re going to have a jet setting UN agent, why not make it shaggy haired Brad Pitt?  His wife was pretty well played too – she’s strong and courageous when she needs to be (before they are helicoptered to safety) and scared and lonely when she calls him (at most inopportune time, waking the South Korean zombies in the airfield!)

There were so many things I thought might or could happen in the film that didn’t. Why did Brad Pitt’s family take the Indian boy from New Jersey (where they crashed in a family’s apartment)?  Who would take an extra kid to a naval ship with limited space?  How come Brad’s wife gets a satellite phone, come on, she’s just doing nothing on the naval ship and the world is ending!! Why take a recently bitten, then amputated, Israeli solider scooped up and taken with Brad Pitt on a long haul passenger plane full of people? She could have ‘turned’ at any time! Or when Brad Pitt’s in the room of all known infections, and he doesn’t know which one to pick, surely the camera could have moved up and down to nod, and left and right to shake it’s ‘head’. And the ending, it didn’t really seems as Hollywood as I’ve come to expect.  Sure there were tears and a rainy reunion, but as far as curing the masses, it didn’t happen.

There were some great moments in this film.  Where the Israeli explains this rule (I wonder if it exists in real life) where if there are 10 people, the 10th person must disagree, and accept a treat as true and plausible.  In this manner, Israel created a haven from zombies, by building a wall in about 10 days.  Also, the premise that a zombie would look for ‘fresh’ meat, and therefore overlook those who were weak, such as those with a virus.  If I was more science based, I’m sure I could ripe holes in this theory, but it sounded good to me.

I hear the book it very different to the film, so of course, I’ll just have to read it!

Here’s what other people have said/shown:

Funny image from the film

Alternative review

Is a Brad Pitt zombie flick for you?  Have you read the book?

Food memories from boarding school (& eating out summary)

Firstly, I thought I would check in with my June eating out spend – a pre cursor to July’s challenge not to eat out at all.  There’s a few ways to look at the stats – what I would have paid, should I have ‘split’ everything to my share/their share.  In this case, based on a 30 day month, I spent 6.28% of my usual take home pay (I didn’t factor in the recent additional overtime etc).  If I’d paid for every meal, I’d be up for 12.54% (which would include a dinner for family five!) – without that family dinner, it’d be 8.08%.  Well under my earlier predictions  – I remember blogging about my grocery spend in February, where I predicted I spent 12-16% on eating out – and I wasn’t wrong in the first two weeks.

The first week, I came at 12.54% (this was when I was away for a weekend).
The second was 12.14% – a very modest improvement.
Weeks 3 came in at 8.11% &
Week 4 was about 7.2% (because I did these on Sunday morning, then got coffees, and then some sushi.  D’oh!)

Eating out expenses as a percentage of take home pay
Eating out expenses as a percentage of take home pay

Weeks 1 and 4 are truncated as my week’s are done running from Wed to Tue based on pay cycles.  It just makes sense to me).  This compares to the 4% I usually spend on groceries (a six month average, and a break down on what I buy is here).

What do I think of my spending?  It’s up to 3 times my grocery spend.  But in a real dollar terms, I see it and think ‘well that’s not *that* much’.  In any case, it’ll be a healthy bump to my savings each week until the end of July.

Here’s a split by meal type:

Eating out spend by category
Eating out spend by category

As for July, I have been invited to a birthday dinner, and RSVP’d yes.  I think it’s $95 a head.  So that will happen, but otherwise, the take out coffees, dinners and lunches, all nixed.  And being the morning of Day 1 – already challenges, as my meal preparation on Sunday night wasn’t completed.  There may be some very bland rice cracker or Cruskits in my lunchtime future, as I couldn’t find any of the spreads, other than honey, which I’m trying to avoid til the end of July.

Now to talk about the days when eating out would have been luxury!  My memories of boarding school food, but first some background

I spent 7 years in boarding school, when I was 10-13, and again from 14-17 (so I had a year off in between).  My parents started by moving to Vanuatu, a small pacific island, and my dad’s employer paid for my schooling.  When my parents returned to Brisbane, I was devastated to be a day girl   So when they moved to Wollongong (a town 1 hr from Sydney), I was asked if I wanted to stay in Brisbane, or go to school in Wollongong or Sydney.  Wollongong didn’t offer an Anglican all girls school, so it’s likely I would have had to go to a school in Sydney.  A 2 hr daily commute is rough on a teenager, so it’s possible I may have been a boarder in Sydney.  But sometimes the devil you know is better than anything!  So I went back into boarding school in Brisbane, and was there til graduation!

Boarding school wasn’t a punishment, for me or almost all the other 180 girls.  We loved the camaraderie, and the opportunities – you can play so many sports, and there’s no car pooling in most cases.  That being said, some boarding school stereotypes are definitely true! The food was… not ideal!  In the 7 years I was in the boarding house, they had a few moments of ‘tarting up’ the food – it was all laid out like it was a photo shoot.  For Melbourne Cup (a horse race that stops the nation) they put out a spread with non alcoholic wine, even.  It was stolen.  It was a coup.  Anyhow, these times of improved conditions seldom lasted.

What has pervaded are these memories:

– White bread + butter + sugar at the dinner table

– Orange halves + sugar (you think they’d learn to not put sugar on the tables, right?)

Photo shoot with readers in mind (or... making OJ for a sick BF)  Oh the synergies
Photo shoot with readers in mind (or… making OJ for a sick BF) Oh the synergies

– The best dessert ever: caramel tarts.  And running to afternoon tea the following day in the hope of leftovers

They looked *just* like this! source:
They looked *just* like this!

– Icecream bars, wrapped in papery/plastic on Fridays

– Blueberry muffins for breakfast

– Crumpets, English Muffins and raisin toast added to weekend breakfasts

Oh the added toasting variety!
Oh the added toasting variety!

– Bacon and eggs on chapel mornings (Thursday and Sunday)

– Beef stronganoff looking like dog food, namely PAL (remember I mentioned this in my food dislikes list?)

– Creamed rice always resulting in rumours of maggots (especially after numerous repeat servings!)

– Milo (chocolate malt milk powder) stuck to benchtops

– Never having access to a microwave

It’s always interesting to speak to other who went to boarding school.  One friend has struggled with eggs ever since.  What about you?  What are your food memories – particularly institutionalised food!