About Criticism

Pineapple & Co – The Story

There is this little annoying matter of people criticising without giving advice. Firstly, all this environmental stuff is all well and good – and I really MEAN ‘well and good’ – but it has to fit into people’s lives. Secondly, since everything got more expensive, the gap between people who have enough to not think about money and people who have to worry becomes bigger. Shopping habits, eating habits, budgeting habits they all are affected from the environmental and fiscal pressure anyway, so people who just offer the news but not the remedy about the environmental non-compliance and lack of cost efficiency in buying ready packed salads or fruit portions are not really helping.

We all know about That! Really, I am not that stupid. And I know it is just a silly little thing, probably not even worth writing a two page essay about it. It’s just that every time I get challenged it annoys me a bit more. So here I am, ranting a bit!

I have to admit, though: I have one silly little flaw in my brain that might cause me losing a few friends: I like my stuff mixed.

I don’t like the flavourless round lettuce, or iceberg lettuces. I like the strong and nutty ones. Drawback being: At times they are a bit too strong and overtaking in a dish. So the trick is to balance them by blending different kinds. The same for fruit: I find a single fruit too boring and too dangerous. Some of them are really high in calories. A silly banana is setting me back some 80 kcal. An apple is much less, as is an orange. However, I like banana and I like oranges, but not to peel them - it’s not possible in every life situation anyway. Ever tried to eat kiwi on a train?

The ready packed stuff is providing what I need in a brilliant way. Nevertheless: I’m a good girl. I listen and so I put it to the test!

I don’t need to test the lettuce handling anymore: My mind is made up and stands like a rock.

The bag it is!

I saw a TV show the other day where a short, bold guy who I usually admire for his haggling skills tried to explain how to save a bug.  He claimed that it is possible to prepare lettuce from a whole head as fast as opening the bag.  Not working sweetheart: Roughly chopping an iceberg lettuce is NOT the same as a blend of Watercress, Rocket, Lamb’s lettuce and baby spinach.

Furthermore we eat lettuce on Saturdays and Wednesdays – whichever day I would buy it for, leftovers would be shrivelled away by the next lettuce day, ending up in the bin, thus cutting quite a bit into the alleged profit.

I even planted those lettuces in the garden. As we are belonging to the working community we have our meals in the evening. Ever tried to harvest watercress from the margins of frog infested pond at night? Or tried to find the rocket in the dark? Half of it was dandelion. This might not shed a good light on the state of my garden, but hey! I have to earn a living during the day and to write articles like these at the weekends.

The fruit gives a bit more room to play with. It’s summer, so a lot of nice fruit like strawberries, pineapple and raspberries are on special offer and affordable. Acids preserve fruit so let’s make a test with a fruit salad. I love pineapple, so that is a must. We need Grapefruit as it is very healthy and will provide the acids needed, the rest is whatever is around.

Today I mixed that stuff:
  • 1 fresh pineapple – half price,
  • raspberries - 2 for £3, so I had to buy 2 packs of 250g,
  • strawberries – half price, 1 pack of 450g
  • 2 bananas – only one would have been vanishing between all the other stuff
  • 2Grapefruit - with a bit of honey they work as dressing, one would not have been enough for all of it.

Firstly: I needed about an hour to cut, mix and tidy up afterwards, ending up with a big bowl of waste that will fill my compost bin. Space which I actually desperately need for my garden: See above.

Secondly: This whole lot makes about 2kg of fruit salad costing £8 and being worth around 1500 kcal.

Now: The price seems to be great! Given that one would want to have a portion of 150 kcal – what already makes a small meal – than that pot is worth 10 portions.

A ready packed fruit mix would set one back around £1.00 – 1.20, meaning a saving of two to four quid on the whole bowl. But remember that the fruits were reduced in price, so one would have to keep a close eye on what to buy – what cost additional time.

However, I usually tend to get paid more than 4 quid per hour. So if I for example would put in this hour into learning a skill to get a better job, I could make even more money out of it.

Quantity issues: How on earth is one person supposed to eat through 2kg of fruit within a few days? If you are lucky and depending on the kind of fruit you may keep it in the fridge for 4 days as an absolute maximum. So this is only working for a family who all like this kind of dish.

Environmental issues: Well, there is unwanted plastic waste when buying pre-packed, no two ways around that. However, I already had 3 big plastic bowls with lid from the raspberries and strawberries anyway.

Rules: Not everything that seems to be cost effective is so. You need to calculate into it: your preparation/shopping time, used energy for preparation/freezing, tools needed.

The only well thought through solution is to sell prepared fruits from a bar. Those already exist, but they usually don’t allow setting the scale to tare, so that you could bring your own re-usable bowl – a concept that already is used at cheese and butchers counters in Germany.

Well, it seems to be down to the retailers to help us solve this. So next time you want to buy from a fruit or salad bar bring you on bowl and ask them how to set the scale to 0. This way you can have your mix, a clean conscience and all the well meaning advisors are silenced.

The salad is yummy, tough!

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Author: Rika