Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TwinSpeak: Phone calls you weren't meant to get

Have you ever received a phone call from someone only to realise they must have accidentally called you? Those incidents where you can hear the caller but they can't hear you? Then have you ever stayed listening on the line only to realise they are bitching about you? No...well this is exactly what happened to me.

Bella: I'm sure the first big question you're wanting to know is 'Who' would do that? It's the same first question all my friends had asked me when I told them about this story. Well..hilarious to say...it was my husband!

For some reason his bluetooth headset kept dialling the last number dialled, which was me. When I'd answer I could hear him speaking but he couldn't hear me because he wasn't wearing the headset. This happened three times. On the third time however I tried to get his attention. I didn't know where his headset was but I tried to scream into the phone anyway and call his name. It didn't work because he just kept on talking. After another second though, I caught my name in the conversation and that's when I started listening in.

He was 'complaining' to a work mate that the weekends just seem to fly by and that whenever I suggest we do something or go shopping, it turns out to be a whole day event. On and on he went about how he prefers to just work outside and get the yard done yet I 'demand' that we spend the weekend together. He even went as far to say that not 2 weekends before he had surprised me and taken me to Melbourne for the whole weekend and then not even 5 days later how many brownie point does he have....'0'.

Needless to say I was rather annoyed. Mostly because most of what he was saying was completely untrue. I actually prefer to go out shopping by myself and enjoy having time apart. I know he likes to work on his garden so I don't often ask to do things for the whole day or even whole weekend. Most recently he was annoyed at me because I had things planned for the weekend and he was wondering when we would do something together??? So I could only put it down to 'boy talk' and the things you sometimes say in the presence of others just to keep a conversation going. Still, I text him to let know that his phone played up again and to kindly point out a few of the things I heard. His phone was off for the rest of the day and unsurprisingly when I got home, the hallway was littered with chocolates leading to a very sheepish looking husband.

Oh well...these things happen and I got chocolate out of it :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

TwinSpeak: How far can you stretch a use by date?

To eat or not to eat. That is the question. Well, that was the question I pondered today when I considered drinking 2 day old milk because I couldn't be bothered going to the store to get some more. So how far are you prepared to stretch a use by date?

Bella: The milk didn't smell too bad...hardly even sour at all. It was almost half full as well...I didn't want to waste it in these tough economic times? But don't worry, I'm glad to say that I shortly snapped out of my morning sleepy haze and realised that no...I really didn't want a bout of sickness or nausea this morning.

But the question still remains...how far are some people prepared to push use by dates? I think it really depends on the manufacturers label and whether it is a 'Use by Date' or a 'Best Before' date. To my understanding the latter meaning; this item is at it's best quality if consumed before the 'Best Before' date. and the former meaning; this item must be consumed before the 'Use By Date' if you want to avoid food poisoning.

I have to admit that I am probably a bit more relaxed than I should be when it comes to acknowledging use by/best before dates. I grew up with a Father who didn't tolerate kids not eating what was given to them and not eating something because of a bit of mould is just plain 'fussy' and 'overcautious'. We toughed it out. I do have my limits though.

- When it comes to Best Before dates, I'll pretty much eat it as long as it's no more than I'd say 6 months overdue. It's just going to be stale or not at it's optimum freshness. Best Before items are usually non perishable and dry goods that can be stored in a pantry.

Use By Dates and what I won't do:
- One thing I am super fussy about is meat. I won't eat it if it has any kind of off smell or has been out too long.
- If it's slimy. Some things you just can't wash off.
- If the entire thing is sprouting mould and looks like a science project. Beyond salvageable.

Use by Dates and things I will do:
- Cheese. If it's a large block and one end has a little mould. I have been known to cut off one end and use the other.
- Crumpets/Bread. Crumpets seem to go mouldy really fast. Depending on mould coverage and if it's only really light, I have also been known to pick off the few little bits of mould and gouge a hole in it to get the surrounding area.
- Bottled sauces- If I have a pesto sauce or really nice curry paste that may have gone a little bad just on the top. I'll scoop out a large dollop of the top layer and use the rest.

I know I'm definitely not going to get top marks in food hygiene but I hate wastage and I've always believed a few germs aren't going to hurt anyone. Within reason. I always think that I'm sure there are people in other parts of the world who have eaten worse so if I can save it...I will :)

Frankie: I am pretty flexible when it comes to use by dates. They're really only there as a recommended guide after all :)

Of course, meat, I am careful with. I don't want to be rolling around the bathroom floor due to the pain from extreme food poisoning. But dry foods...I tend to stretch out quite a bit.

Especially during these tough times I feel that you just need to toughen up!! I have stretched out the life span of my bread, cheese, veges and the like just to save some money. If the veges are a little brown and flexible, oh well, extra flavour, if the bread seems to be dry and stale, I just toast it and who knows the difference, moldy, dry cheese, just cut the bad bits off. You see!!! There really isn't anything wrong with extending the shelf life of your groceries and produce.

As a matter of fact, I think people have become too precious. This guy I work with, he won't eat an avocado unless it is fluorescent green. If it's a day old and has that slight, brown colouring from the air...nope, won't eat it.

Back in the olden days, did people throw out food because it was a little brown??? I don't think so.

And to tell you the truth, I think that these so called 'use by dates' are a marketing ploy, in order to get people worried and throw out their food sooner in order to purchase more. It's a tactic to increase the sales and prey on our vulnerability. Have you noticed how the life span of our foods are getting shorter?? I looked at the UBD for one item the other day and it expired in 4 days??? Yes, it's time to abolish the deceiving UBD and use our own judgement of what's good and what's bad :)