mumsnetBack along, my family and I swapped a house for a three-acre field in Devon and a leaky caravan where we lived off-grid for two years. Sadly, we failed to get the planning permission we needed to stay. We are now back within four walls, with a proper loo and everything in a cottage in Dartmoor. So this is now a blog about living ethically amid a fabulous landscape with our home educated kids while we adjust to being 'normal' - for a while... and what we plan to do with our land next

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

It is meat (and write so to do)

Firstly, I feel I should apologise for the headline. I have been told that if I want to increase the amount of search engine hits I have, I should make my headlines actually describe what I am writing about - but where would be the fun in that?

Anyway,  three weeks of my ban under the belt and I have discovered a fitting use for plastic wrapping.

My new butcher has very thoughtfully gone out of his way to help me, despite the slight sense I get from him that he thinks I am potty. I say new butcher, because it is nigh impossible to buy chicken or meat that doesn't come in plastic from a supermarket. Indeed it was four pork chops in a veritable boat of plastic that contributed to my ban in the first place.

I had thought meat would be a problem and wondered how people managed in days gone by. Then I had a vision of Lance-Corporal Jones (right), the butcher in Dad's Army, wrapping his wares in newspaper. It was possible for him to do that, partly because there was a war on, partly because health and safety rules hadn't yet banned newspaper as suitable wrapping material, and because people just shopped differently in those days, buying local and frequently.

So I rang Martins, my nearest butchers, and have now switched to buying my meat from them. This feels much better all round, it is a local business that supports local farms. The prices are also competitive, so I didn't feel I was straying too far from my plan to try and shop 'normally' without resorting to expensive high-end shops.

'This takes me back,' said the chap on the counter as he attempted to wrap up some chicken thighs in greaseproof paper. It wasn't going well, they kept spilling out. Eventually he managed to contain them and moved on to the chops. The queue behind me was starting to lengthen.

'This is how we did it when I started out,' he continued. It would be nice to write here that a look of nostalgia crept over his face, but it didn't. 'Plastic bags are a lot better,' he said. He was trying to stuff pet mince into paper bags as he said this, and I felt he had a point.

Back home I attempted to place the sloppy paper bags in the freezer feeling the need to process them quickly before they became saturated. This was a mistake. A little more thought with how I stored them might have helped when it come to defrosting. I will spare you the details of how I managed to separate paper bag from the gloopy pet mince, but it is fair to say the mince won.

The irony is that now when I bring meat home, I decant it into plastic tubs before putting it in the freezer. The other irony is that the bags the butcher normally uses are biodegradable, which makes all the effort in this direction feel a little irrelevant. Still, I shall soldier on. Don't panic!


  1. I'm just imagining mince in a paper bag...not pretty :)

  2. It's not a good look - and even less so once it has been defrosted with bits of bag adhering to it. I've taken to throwing the whole thing to the dog in the hope she will sort it out!