Since announcing my Plastic Free November project, I've been doing a bit of thinking, much of it sparked by an aquaintence who scoffed at me over the amount of time I'd have to spend shopping and cooking from scratch. "What a waste!", they sneered.
I'll concur with their point - it does take a little more time. Yesterday, for example, I needed some broad beans for dinner. It would have been much faster to jump in my car (let's presume that I actually own a car, and know how to drive one!), joining the hoards on the road, spewing pollution and carbon emissions as I went, and then lunge into the supermarket, getting a plastic packet of cheapie imported broad beans from the energy-guzzling freezer, then driving back home to quickly throw them in a saucepan, without the hassle of removing them from their pod.
Much, much faster, but at what cost?
Instead I spend an hour or two at the start of each month doing a monthly menu plan, based on what is currently in season. I love this time - I happily dig out all my cookbooks and food magazines and daydream about fabulous meals, drooling as I go. Then, a few times each week, I take Grumbles in hand after consulting my plan (no asking "what's for dinner?" at our place, we always know!) and we sally forth upon our feet down to the local shops, stopping to natter to shopkeepers and friends as we go. It's not quick, but damn it's enjoyable.
Then we walk home, savouring the fresh air and sunshine, or rain if it's that sort of day, chattering about the shoes hung over power lines ("Grumbles, is that where we keep our shoes?" "NOOOOOOOOOO, bwahahahhah!"), listening to the birds, pausing to scratch the bellies of neighbourhood cats. Then we plonk ourselves on the front stoop, scrap bowl and broad beans in hand, and shell them together. Grumbles learns about food, and locality, and the importance of community, and I enjoy watching her learn and blossom, proud to stand by and watch her showing Max the book shop man her new shoes, and informing Zota the cheese shop owner that we're having pasta with broad beans for dinner tonight.
I'm sorry, but I don't consider that to be a waste of time at all. The hand-shelled broadies win for me, every time.