Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Double Bubble

"I hardly ever buy Fairy Liquid," says the blithe housewife in the vintage ad.  "I buy it a little less often, ha!" raves One Mean Housewife, triumphantly shaking a fist at the telly.

You see, I can tell by the look of that woman that she has a spotlessly clean home.  I bet she even wipes the nozzle of her bottle.  She wouldn't allow this grotty build-up of gunk in her kitchen, even if it is premium, long-lasting, Fairy gunk.

More fool her.  Every day, she wipes away a little bit of money.  Every day, she squanders a few seconds of her time.  She knows not of the simple scrimping pleasure she squanders.  She doesn't know that she could could have a free sink of dishes, that if she waited until enough of that green gold accumulated she could rinse the nozzle as she filled the bowl and get bonus bubbles.  

The following video contains explicit scenes of a woman enjoying cheap kitchen thrills, and a very dirty nozzle.

Now hands that do dishes can feel smug as can be mmm!

One Mean Housewife, with a sharp implement, commences scraping the soap dish...

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Mother / Goose

Only the best will do for my baby's bottom.  The French Renaissance satirist Rabelais reckoned the best thing to wipe your backside on was the neck of a goose.  Decadent!  But they don't sell them in Mothercare and I can never get the damned things to lie down on the changing mat, so baby wipes it is.

Wipes, however, do not please a mean and lazy housewife.  They work out at 1p each and you go through them like, well, geese. They are also indestructible so probably not the best from a sustainability point of view.  In this house, we have gone to reusable cloth nappies and, because it's easier and cheaper, we have gone to reusable cloth wipes too.

The best known brand, Cheeky Wipes, come in at £27 for a kit to use alongside real nappies, £13 more to add the extra bits you need if you don't already have a cloth nappy set-up.  You'd save money after a few months, sooner if you are wipe-happy.

Or you could make my IKEA wipes kit for a fiver.  I used:

How to:
  • Cut washcloths into quarters.  Five washcloths should do.  Save the rest for other scrimping.
  • Run a zig-zag stitch along the raw edges of each piece.  If your machine has an overcasting foot, use that for a great edge.
  • Put the wipes in the box and add some plain tap water.  
You get three boxes in the pack so you can have one for each wing of your mansion and one for the nanny's room.  Or use one to store all the money you've saved.  If you want to go out and about with them, use a sandwich bag.  They are ten times better at the job of bum cleaning than slippery wet wipes too.

Finally, when you've hung your wipes up to dry after the wash, try not to squeak with pleasure as you pull them off the line like this, ready folded to the perfect size for your little box:

One Mean Housewife, with a faraway look in her eye, lovingly strokes a Swedish storage solution...

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Measure For Pleasure

This mean old housewife is a 1980 vintage: pleasantly mature, but young enough to have been bottled up in metric measures.  750ml, not 25 Fl. Oz. That said, we remember the information we use most and I never approach the bar and ask for 568ml of 80-/ ale.  No wonder I still have to thrash through a frantic mental conversion every time I see metric.

A very well used opaque plastic measuring jug.
My tatty and trusty jug.
But measuring is important. If you're going to scrimp, you need to make sure you feed the family and not the bin and that means preparing the right amount of food.  One of my aims is to cook (or defrost) a square meal from fresh ingredients every night.  Get the amounts right and you can have exactly one for the table and one for the freezer, clean plates, full bellies and disgruntled, underfed garden birds.

Modern Wastrel, go tomorrow and purchase a jug and scales and position them at the front of your cupboard. You already have a jug like that?  Well stop using it to microwave beans and restore its dignity (you'll never get rid of the orange glow, mind).

Here are some of my magic numbers, memorised to help me cope with the metric problem:

  • 400ml = a whole adult meal dished up.  200ml for One Weaned Infant.
  • 100ml by volume = rolled porridge oats for one (same for the child!). 200ml of milk.
  • 100g = uncooked pasta for one (less with cheese sauce).
  • 75ml by volume = uncooked rice for one, twice as much water to steam.
  • 100ml = the exact volume of both of my ladles.  They are different shapes.  Also, for breeders, the volume of one of those little Tommee Tippee food pots, up to the opaque line.
  • 100g = enough meat for one adult.
  • 200ml / half a tin = enough cooked chick peas, lentils, etc. for one adult.
  • 1 Brussels sprout = more than enough for anyone.

One Mean Housewife, with pipette and burette, measures out tomorrow's watery gruel and pease pudding.