Archive for January, 2010

How to feed a family of 5 for under $3

January 27, 2010

I have just made a massive bowl of lentil soup. I’d say there are at least five large servings – the kind of servings where you couldn’t possibly eat anything afterwards. It’s going to last me a good few days.

… and it cost me under $3.

It consists of 2 potatoes, 2 onions, a carrot, a tomato and a stick of celery, all of which cost me $2.55. I added some spices and some lentils, and let it boil. 

And here’s the thing … a pinch of spice transformed it from bland boiled vegetables into something wondrous. It’s amazing what a little chili and tumeric can do.



January 23, 2010

One of the things I like about fruit is that they’re cheap. Supermarkets have started to illustrate this comparing prices per 100grams. For example, processed food is usually more than $1 per 100grams. (eg If you got a 50 gram chocolate bar for 50 cents, you’d be doing well.)

But fruit and vegetables are far cheaper. Apples are usually 30c per 100 grams. Potatoes are 25c per 100g. Even expensive fruit, like mangoes at $7.99 per kilo are actually only 79c per 100 grams.

But today, rockmelons have topped the lot. Coles in Kings Cross were selling them for $1.99 each. And I reckon each rockmelon must have weighed around 4 kg each, which would mean they are 5 cents per 100 grams.

This is phenomenal news when you’re on a budget, like me. A vege burrito can fill you up for $10. But a half a melon can do the same job for $1.

But it’s got me thinking about something else. Rockmelons can fill you up pretty quickly, but because they are mostly water, you don’t stay full for that long. On the other hand, some foods can stop hunger for 5 or 6 hours. It would be interesting if there were a “Satiety-per-dollar” index. This would be particularly useful in the third world, where people have to really think carefully about what’s the best food to spend their money on.

UPDATE: Susannah Holt has already started a satiety index. And potatoes seem to be the most satiating food around.


January 21, 2010

I’ve been munching on a pluot, which is a cross between a plum and an apricot. Damn, it’s good – sour, yet sweet. And juicy too!

I was moved to look it up on Wikipedia, and found to my horror that a pluot is actually a trade name, because some evil scientist has invented it, and patented it. Which means, it must be a  … (gasp)… Genetically Modified Food! (Aargh!)

Of course, being evil scientists, they have made their bastard plums delicious. Quite possibly the best plums I’ve ever tasted, in fact. It’s all part of their evil plot to get us to eat evil genetically modified food, so they can evilly control the world.

But I have seen through their evil plans! So I’m buying shares in their company. When the Darkness stalks the Earth, hopefully they’ll send me some more pluots.

Bananas, ice cream, and the global economy

January 16, 2010

I really like stories that give insight into the world. For example, I love this  article about how odd it is that Americans are able to eat bananas, at the same price as they can eat locally-grown, astoundingly hardy apples.

But it’s not just bananas. Think about vanilla ice-cream. The milk has to come from a temperate climate. The sugar from the tropics. The vanilla from Madagascar. And it’s all to make a treat manufactured by a Swiss company and eaten in Australia.

Dating Site Profile

January 16, 2010

About Me

“I’ll know who you are when I look at your chequebook stubs” said feminist author Gloria Steinem. And she’s right. If we are what we do, then the best way to find out about someone is to look at their receipts and old diaries. So to tell you about me, I went to the cupboard and pulled out my shoebox with the big pile of receipts in it. It turns out that I’m mysterious; complex; someone it would take many years to fully understand. But hey, that’s supposed to be a good thing on the dating scene!

 My Past Relationships

If you really want to impress someone, call them a name of endearment in an exotic language. For example, “Joorabeh Nochtehi” means ‘polka-dot sock’ in Farsi (or possibly Bukharian). This is useful knowledge in many situations. For instance, if a mugger comes up to you and says “Tell me how to say ‘polka-dot sock’ in Farsi or possibly Bukharian if you want to live!”, you’ll know what to say. Although you should probably say “Aurgh!” and run off down the street. You don’t want to discuss names of endearment with someone so deranged that when they mugged you they forgot to ask for your wallet.

My Perfect First Date

If Gloria Steinem is right, the best way of getting to know each other is by poring over each other’s Visa card statements. Oh, the romance! Be still my beating heart! Alternatively, we could take the boring, common or garden option that everyone seems to be doing these days. You know, contacting each other via JDate, then meeting at a cafe, falling madly in love at first sight, jetting off to Paris for champagne and strawberries under the clear blue sky after which we’d dine and then dance all night and make mad, passionate love in a fabulous hotel on a four poster bed and then exchange necklaces with vials of each others blood which we’d swear by the light of the Parisian moon never to take off so long as we both shall live … and THEN look at our Visa statements and realise we should have listened to Gloria Steinem.

Strawberries are wetter than milk

January 11, 2010

Cow milk is approximately 87% water.

But there’s a number of fruits and vegetables that have a higher water content.

Fruit Weight Water %
Strawberries 149 136 92
Watermelon 160 146 92
Grapefruit 123 112 91
Cantaloupe 160 144 90
Peach 87 76 88
Cranberries 95 82 87
Orange 140 122 87
Pineapple 155 135 87
Raspberries 123 106 87
Apricot 106 92 86
Blueberries 145 123 85
Plum 66 56 85
Apple 138 116 84
Pear 166 139 84
Cherries 68 55 81
Grapes 92 75 81
Banana 115 85 74

And for vegetables

Vegetable Weight Water %
Cucumber 52 50 96
Lettuce (iceberg) 20 19 96
Celery 40 38 95
Radish 45 43 95
Zucchini 65 62 95
Tomato (red) 123 115 94
Cabbage(green) 35 32 93
Tomato (green) 123 114 93
Cabbage(red) 35 32 92
Cauliflower 50 46 92
Eggplant 41 38 92
Peppers (Sweet) 50 46 92
Spinach 28 26 92
Broccoli 44 40 91
Carrots 72 63 87
Peas (green) 72 57 79
Potato (white) 112 88 79

This just proves that cucumbers are basically a big green puddle you can eat.

Email to comfort someone about to fail an exam

January 5, 2010

Dear Xxx,

There’s a story I’ve been meaning to confess to you. You see, I failed Corporate Reporting at uni. This was very embarrassing for me. I mean, I like to think of myself as a fairly smart guy, right? Right? (Actually, don’t answer that.) I can’t begin to tell you how hard it was to walk back into the same class to do the same subject again.

But I heard someone say that success is about how long you stay in the game. So I decided to treat Corporate Reporting as a subject that I’d get a distinction in, just over two semesters rather than one.

In fact, I found that if you take a subject a second time, you already know some of what’s going on, which puts you way ahead. So for me, repeating Corporate Reporting took away alot of the stress, and led to a semester in which I was actually relaxed!

So relaxed, in fact, that I failed again. (It turns out that being relaxed doesn’t help a person understand the accounting standard on intangible assets.)

But it wasn’t the end of the world. In fact, I’d even say that the experience was one of the things that brought me to where I am today. That is, unemployed and living in a park.

But the reason I’m writing is, do you have any spare change?