Archive for January, 2011

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Mammoth insecurity

January 12, 2011

Apart from being cheap, we here at Frugal Me are sound feminists,so we’d like to draw your attention to Maia at The Hand Mirror having a crack at “Mammoth Supply Company[1]” Yoghurt.

So how do you sell the idea that the official food of woman in apricot and manuka honey flavour is manly? Silly question – all you need is to emphasise misogyny, homophobia and the extreme danger of girl germs.

I have nothing in particular to say about her take on this other than “hear hear.” (A while ago though, I did think about this on the other channel — is there something about Fonterra and the elusive insecure male? Is it just that milk is irretrievably coded as feminine? I think we could have a psychoanalytic field day here.) However, I would like to relate a curious incident today at the New World Metro on Willis Street, where I often buy lunch ingredients when I’m caught short.

I like Greek yoghurt in my lunch, and I haven’t been very good about making it at home in recent weeks, and so I was perusing the dairy fridge. In principle I applaud this supermarket for displaying unit prices along with the actual price — their labels tell you the price per gram, or millilitre or whatever. I looked at the unit prices for yoghurt and I was struck by how very cheap Mammoth yoghurt seemed. “Why, it’s almost an order of magnitude cheaper” I thought to myself.

Well no. Very close inspection showed that every other yoghurt was showing the price per kilogram, but the Mammoth labels were showing the price per 100 grams. Odd. Once I figured this out, I realised that at $14/kg, it was not only no bargain but about 50% more expensive than comparable yoghurts that weren’t investing $$$ assuring me that they wouldn’t turn me into a girl. Perhaps the target market is not only insecure about their masculinity, but also bad at maths.

I think that could be a rule of thumb. If a product’s notional appeal is based on the consumer having but fragile confidence in their sexuality, it’s probably over-priced, or low quality (think Tui beer), or both.

[1] FFS, how stupid do you think we are, Fonterra? I happen to know that mammoths are extinct, and even if they weren’t, they would be quite difficult to milk.

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Using old cooking oil on New Year’s Day

January 1, 2011

Yeah, I know. I don’t care. I have a life too, you know?

Broke out the barbeque for the first time this summer, on New Years’s Day. It’s a charcoal grill, so that means a certain amount of boy scout ingenuity is required to get a good fire.

I’ve never liked firelighters or lighter fluid for this purpose. They smell funny, and although I suppose all the petrochemicals have burned off by the time you put the meat on, I find the taint of plastic off-putting and inappropriate.

Hitherto I have used crumpled newspaper and kindling to lay a conical fire in the approved manner. This can be a bit slow and I find it a little nerve-wracking. Today I had a brainwave. I have egg cartons, and I have old cooking oil. (Of course I have a jar of old oil from frying chicken in the fridge. Who doesn’t?) What would happen if I put a half centimetre of crummy rancid friend chicken oil in each egg cell, built a charcoal pyramid atop it, and lit the carton?

What happens is that you have a damned good fire. That’s what happens. How virtuous. Better than recycling it this way.

Oh yeah, don’t put fat down the drain either.