Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Playing The Stock Market

In case you didn't know it already, stock is the key to happiness for the mean and workshy cook.  It's the philosopher's stone for getting tasty dinners out of cheap ingredients without much effort.

Now, obviously I have fresh, homemade stock bubbling on the stove at all times. Ahem. However, I do like to keep a little library of stock cubes in the cupboard for emergencies. Today I had a look at my selection and I think I may have been buying na├»vely.

My current cube collection is all branded. Frivolous! I always buy that Marigold Swiss bouillon vegetable stock powder: it seems to go in anything and I like the tub/spoon set-up. I used to buy Knorr cubes but last time I fell for the funky design and crumblability of OXO. Deciding which of my stash to use today, I discovered that you need two OXO cubes to make the pint (-ish) of stock you get from one Knorr cube.

I thought I would look more closely and compare my stock of stock for the greater good.

Warning: grocery geekery ahead. Here are the values for one litre of stock: how much you need, how much sodium is in there (stock cubes are mainly salt) and how much that will cost* to buy.

Cubes/spoonsful Sodium Price
Knorr (Ham) 2.2 cubes 3.8g 38.4p
OXO (Vegetable) 5.2 cubes 4.9g 43.4p
Marigold (Vegetable) 4 tsp 3.6g 23.8p

*Asda prices from on 31/10/2012.

So, yes, compared to Knorr it's 5p more per litre for OXO crumblability and more of it is salt. You also need to unwrap 6 times! BUT, you can get the equivalent amount of Marigold for 15p less with a similar salt content. If you're prepared to buy a double size pack of OXO you can save about 25% on the total price, bringing it cheaper than Knorr.  

Marigold still wins on price and for me it wins on usability. The tub and spoon means the exact quantity you want and no unwrapping. Now if only they would drop the veggie health food stance and make it in smokey pig flavour...

One Mean Housewife puts on her spectacles and takes the ruler to the spaghetti...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Down With This Sort Of Cling

Behold the world's least desirable roll of cling film!

A floppy box which flattened on first contact, ends which exploded moments later, a cardboard blade which couldn't cut chocolate mousse, never mind the world's stretchiest, most indestructible substance inside: it's quite a package.  I don't understand how the stuff can be so thin it's near unusable and yet strong enough to resist cutting with any of the myriad blades in my kitchen.

Every encounter with the thing has given me a grey hair or a wrinkle and yet this tormentor has lasted 4 years in my workspace.

Why?  I don't like to waste.  I couldn't bring myself to throw it out.  I felt I could/should thole it until it ran it out.  But it never ran out.  How could it?  Would you use it?!

Well, today is a great day.  By way of a special offer at Lakeland, I have acquired for free a roll of superior cling wrap and a dispenser that actually works.  Praise be!  It's so pleasing to use.  I'm wrapping things that never needed wrapped.  I'm not sure if my husband can still breath in there.

I'm going to wince when I do it as there are many, many metres left, but today is the day I finally get that grease-stained, malformed little box of misery out of my life and into the bin.

One Mean Housewife, an oblong box in hand, skips out of the back door in her slippers.