Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Can we take thrift too far?

Inspired by Josie's writing workshop prompts this week, I decided to write about my personal motto. Now I am cheating a little in that this is a family motto that I grew up with but there are some funny stories attached to it; and it fits with a theme on the blog at the moment which is around being stewards of the earth by conserving energy in all sorts of ways. It also, as with most of my posts, tells you more about me and my values.
The family motto is It's a pity to waste it with a gannet as a logo. As you probably know the gannet's ability to eat huge quantities of fish has led to gannet becoming a slight used to describe someone who eats excessively. I guess that is something that one could be accused of, if one adhered to the motto strictly. Interestingly in some middle Eastern cultures if you finish everything on your plate then you are considered to be hungry still and your plate is refilled.
I still remember a holiday that we took in the Brecon Beacons when I was a teen. We stayed in this lovely little cottage and went pony trekking every day. It was lovely but what I remember most were the size of the portions at each meal. We had very generous hosts and as well as breakfast (which was a full Welsh breakfast with cereal and half a grapefruit and toast) and dinner which was always three courses with several side orders of veg with the main, they always packed a substantial lunch. The first night we tucked in and in true Griffiths style made sure that we ate everything on our plate and what was on the table. Our hostess came out and saw all our clean plates and went out and refilled all the plates and dishes. It was quite a funny sight and after that we ate only what we needed as we knew we could never match their hospitality.
More recently, my husband has become aware of this family saying as it invariably comes up at meal times when the Griffiths clan are gathered and he really finds it irritating. It probably does not help that one year for Easter or some other occasion, my Mother presented him with a plate on which she had written the saying round the edge and drawn a gannet in the middle! Needless to say it has been buried at the back of some cupboard! And who can blame him as he has been on the receiving end of my fixation with the motto. I will share one such example with you now.
We had not been dating long and OH came up to Liverpool to visit me. I pulled out all the stops putting together what I thought was a delish meal, possibly a little '70s for the '90s: truites aux amandes with boiled potatoes (one of his least fav vegetables) and broccoli. The piece de resistance was serving it with a chilled Chablis which I had been saving for just such an occasion. Unfortunately when I opened it, it was quite clearly corked so we had to resort to a bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc which was not quite the same. As you may have guessed I do not like waste and the very next weekend, OH was back for some more fun. I prepared him a delicious meal which included aduki beans in white wine and yes you have guessed it, I used the corked wine. I figured that no one would be able to tell and at least it was not going to waste. Unfortunately OH remembered that I had been low on wine and guessed what had gone into the sauce when he was halfway through his meal. All I can say is that I must have had other charms because he stayed the course in spite of my hatred of waste in any form. Well we all have our little foibles, don't we? It does mean that I am quite inventive when it comes to thinking of what to do with the left overs. Anyway I would love to hear about some of your foibles and your views on thrift so do leave a comment.


  1. I'm with you - I'd have used the corked wine too. In fact I have to confess that like Nigella, I often freeze leftover glasses of wine in little bags and chuck them into whatever I'm cooking.

  2. I love that Rachael what a good idea haven't tried that. Must do try it. We do have small cubes of homemade beef stock in the freezer!!

  3. Blimey, I'm not sure I have the appetite to follow your motto!! I try to live frugally and not waste too much, but that usually begins with having less in the first place :)

    Great story!

  4. I've used corked wine for cooking too! I can't bare to throw food away

  5. Well Josie instead of dieting to get rid of the baby weight, I just served myself smaller platefuls than my husband as he is 6ft 4! So I am with you on the thrift angle - always annoys me when OH over orders when we have take away! Heather one story I did not put on the blog was that I once served an ex-boyfriend 3 mth old orange juice (I don't drink orange juice). He had one glass and was on his second before he commented on the taste!