Change the World Wednesday – 6th June

My, how fast the week rolls around.

I don’t have many students at the moment, so with few lessons, the week seems so short.

Last week’s video was certainly food for thought. Some of the ideas that were featured have been rolling around in my mind for a long time, particularly the community idea.

It has long been my thoughts that we need to reduce our social interactions back to community size as a matter of survival as this video showed. Although, I tend to be a little more severe in what I forecast the results if we don’t. Some say that I tend to be an alarmist, a conspiracy theorist, but I think I am being more realistic than those who would look at the world through rose coloured glasses.

Change the World Wednesday, what’s on the menu for today?

This week, join Mrs. Green’s Use It Up challenge by going through your cupboards, freezer, refrigerator, etc. and using what you find rather than buying anything new. The idea, here, is to use what you have on hand, hopefully before it’s gone “bad”, and eliminate waste. Of course … we want to hear all about your efforts.

Or …

If you’ve already tackled this task and there’s no food lurking in the dark corners of your kitchen, we’d like to know how you did it … and more importantly, we’d like to know about any strategies you have for keeping everything in order.

Okay, these ideas have appeared before, but always worth a revisit.

Most of you know that I am an impoverished ESL teacher, as demonstrated by my admission above that I don’t have many students at the moment. I don’t get a salary, I get paid for hours taught; my current three hours per week will not pay the rent, let alone enable me to store things in the cupboards.

Eu miojei (I noodled) Yes the joke has a past tense too

This week through necessity, I raided the kitchen cupboard  and found two packs of miojo (instant noodle soup) that got used. I always have a couple of packs for an emergency like famished kids. You parents know… “Dad, I’m hungry!” we have a joke in my house; Vai miojar! (Go noodle) It doesn’t exist, even in Portuguese; as I joke in English, I do so in Portuguese as well and have turned miojo into a verb – eu miojo, você mioja, nós miojamos, etc (I noodle, you noodle, we noodle, etc). The kids think I am loco (crazy), but even they use the conjugations. One time, knowing the kids were up to no good in the kitchen, my inquiry was answered, “Estamos miojando!” (We are noodling), yes, they were cooking noodles.

Yesterday I was preparing chicken breast. I knew that I had some old stock cubes on the shelf; they had been there a while and had gone all glucky and the paper had browned. Waste not, want not, I put one in a small mortar, added some olive oil to make a paste and smeared it over the meat before cooking.

There are plenty of small tricks that you can use to use up those ‘old’ things in the cupboards.

During the week I was walking along the road and someone had dumped the rails of a wooden bed by the canal, hoping that somebody else would eventually tip them over the edge. I had been looking for wood to re-border my little gardens, the original wood is rotting after three years. Waste not, want not, they are now waiting in the yard.


The machinations in my head perturb me sometimes. Last night, about beer o’clock, I was in the botequim (bar) and Raimundo had stacked four cartons ready for the rubbish. This was enough to set me off, “Now what could I use them for?”

My lifestyle is such that I don’t buy excess, can’t afford it. So there is little that remains unused to lie around in corners and cupboards.

But I am my father’s son. My father was a hoarder “That’ll come in useful one day.” I am much the same, I always look at something with the idea of what it could be used for.

One man’s rubbish, is another man’s treasure.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by smallftprints on June 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    If you ask someone in my part of the world what “noodling” is, you’ll be told that it’s a way to catch catfish. Seriously … check it out: Can you imagine catching fish with your fist?

    Yes, poverty is a great motivator to this week’s challenge. I grew up with “enough” but my parents were children of the depression so wasting anything, food or otherwise, just wasn’t an option. With the economic climate the way it is now, it’s crucial to make everything count and stretch our money as far as it can go. I’m really grateful to my parents & grandparents for teaching me how to cook real food and not waste anything … it’s come in handy more than just a few times. And I feel sad for the people who haven’t learned … they fill their baskets up with processed, ready-to-eat food and end up with nothing at the end of the month.

    Thanks, as always, for your thoughts!



  2. >SF, we call it ‘tickling’, but the link was interesting, many names for it.

    I grew with sufficient, never hungry nor without a roof, but my mother was frugal and didn’t waste. There were always homemade jams and preserves in the pantry and she was an avid baker of cakes, biscuits and the like. I still have not found a Christmas pudding nor cake that equaled the brandy soaked offerings of my mother. Her Xmas cake was baked in Sept, iced in Oct and matured in an old style cake tin sealed until Xmas Day.

    Sadly those days are all but gone. At 88 my mother informed me that she has cleaned out her pantry and not baking anymore, saying that she’d done her bit.

    The people who don’t know how are the ones who will suffer badly in the times to come, when these skills will become a necessity for survival; and that day is coming sooner that most think… rose coloured glasses.




  3. Thanks for joining in, even though you didn’t have much to use up, you still did it. That old stock cube, the noodle packs – all things that might otherwise have been wasted maybe if you were more affluent; now there’s food for thought…



    • >MrsGreen, there’s still three more stock cubes… they won’t go to waste. I think that from a personal point of view affluence wouldn’t alter my lifestyle too much. I have always been frugal. Thanks for the comment, appreciates.




  4. I really enjoyed your addition of a useful word to the language, even though it’s not a language I speak, You may never know how far “miojar” spreads … kids have their own networks of communications!

    I, too, am a person who holds on to things that might be useful later. It enables me to enjoy a lifestyle far in excess of what might be expected from my income … that, and no longer being interested in a lot of the wasteful spending that seemed so important as a youth. Your bedstead border is a great example! I made my most recent raised beds from untreated wood that had been bookshelves, discarded by a store seeking to upscale. It amused me to keep the shelf labels on the lumber so now we are growing tomatoes in the “Architecture” section etc.



    • >Randall, I use it with my Brazilian students too, so I am giving the idea plenty of chance for survival.

      I would have thought tomatoes fared better in the ‘gardening’ section…

      You are right about today’s youth, they value nothing!




  5. […] Last weeks challenge was great, my contribution was minimal, for reasons given in the post. […]



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