QuiteLike Meal Box

Here’s a food post, which is good because my political advocacy brain went off last week and I’m tired and it was NOT a good week to try a more intense meal box, and change is hard and the meal box was tasty, but out of my budget, so we won’t get it til the next awesome offer comes through.

So, clicked on an offer somewhere which meant I got four QuiteLike meals for less than the price of six EveryPlate ones, when it’d normally be twice as much. The box arrived while I was out so my  partner unpacked it into the fridge – the meats, sauces and yoghurt were in a chill pack, while the rest of the ingredients for the meals were in separate bags for each meal. This is definitely more approachable than them all being together like in the EveryPlate box. It did mean we just put them into the fridge though, whether the ingredients were needing to be chilled or not, as the experience with these boxes is some veges don’t last the week if you don’t. I could have gotten away with them going in the cupboard since it’s winter and my kitchen won’t be above 15 degrees, but no way I’d risk it in summer.

The first meal I made was the Sesame chicken and stir fry veges and rice. The recipe listed two sticks of celery, but as there was one, and it was rather large, I assume that was on purpose. But it threw me a little. Later in the week there was one potato listed but two sent so I used the two. Another thing I ran into was using the wrong sized sachet of sesame oil – probably wouldn’t have done that if I’d unpacked everything, or those had been in the dry ingredients bag since they really didn’t need to be in the fridge?

Look at me prepping ahead! I read and re-read the recipe steps for these, since they were new to me, and I wanted to follow them sat least for the first time. I do take liberties now with the EveryPlate meals as I’ve made some of them so often, or I’m adding in veges to stretch them to three people – These all easily went to three people, which would have annoyed me if I was cooking for two, that’s one of the issues I had with HelloFresh when I was last getting it – most meals were huge servings, easily for three in some cases, good I guess if you want leftovers for lunch the next day, but I have to be expecting that for it to be a good thing for me.

Three white bowls of chicken story fry and rice with forks and spoons
Sesame chicken – yum!

The quality upgrade of the meat was the most noticeable part over the EveryPlate meals. The Chicken Thigh was incredibly juicy and still had bone (though I didn’t cut out all the gristle, sorry Bruce!), and the little vacuum sealed packs were peel open, so less messy. There was paper lining the mince, which I didn’t notice the first pack so fished out of the frypan.

Beef mince biryani with a wedge of lemon and yoghurt in white bowls
Beef mince biryani

The three-hour musamum beef was a novelty, and very tasty. Again, not the week for me to be doing a three hour meal, but I chose it and it was delish. The fresh ginger for a change in the meals was noticeable over the crushed ginger that usually comes packed with my regular boxes. I should have simmered this down more before serving but it is what it is 🙂

Three white bowls of mummamum beef and rice
Mussamum beef

I found it odd to pack a portion of cabbage and then list in the ingredients as “1/2 wedge of green cabbage”. I really wasn’t certain what that meant so I just trimmed it and chopped it and threw most of it in. Since I was dishing up for three, extra cabbage wouldn’t help and what else was I gonna do with any leftover? My reckoning is if you’re going to send a certain cut portion of something why ask for less of that? I also didn’t like that I’d had the onion in the fridge, while I was cutting it up, I’m used to it room temp. I’m sure it doesn’t matter but add.

All very “Asian” meals, they do offer more western options but these are what appealed to me. I haven’t ordered a second week, I’m actually doing a Marley Spoon box this week since they also had a coupon that meant 6 of their meals were the same as an Everyplate box, so I’ll let you know how that goes too. Again, the QuiteLike meals are very nice, better quality than the EveryPlate (and they’d better be at the price), but out of my price range for now.

Do you use meal boxes like these? Which is your favourite or suits your family best?

What’s simply “convenient” for you may be an essential disability accommodation for others

Every week there’s discussion on Twitter about convenience and disability accommodations. You’ve probably put your two cents in without even knowing it on a post ruing how you can buy pre-cut fruit at the supermarket, or on a post about the labor conditions of DoorDash workers. You probably weren’t deliberately ableist, you just come at it from your point of view – home delivered groceries from the majors is a convenience for you, a time saver in this busy world, while for others it’s the only way they can do a grocery shop for whatever reason. That reason isn’t really any of your business, but it could be physical ability to carry groceries, energy sapping disabilities that really can’t prioritise browsing the aisles, sensory difficulties that mean supermarkets are hell on earth, and many more. These are some of the people who can’t just shop at Aldi, no matter any price savings that may come from it.

Other people may DoorDash a meal on a day when they don’t have the energy for cooking, after prioritising other mentally or physically taxing tasks in their spoon allocation. They’re likely well away that the delivery driver isn’t receiving minimum wage, and feel guilty. That driver is possibly also disabled or another minority, eeking out a living in this discriminatory world, taking what work comes their way.

A Twitter contact was denied pre-prepared meals in the NDIS plan. These services tend to be only part-funded even if you do get them, but can mean the difference between subsisting off two minute noodles or having to rely on a $60 an hour NDIS funded support worker to cook for you. This particular person loves to cook and can’t do it any more due to their  disability, but instead of accepting this, the OT recommended they get more supports around learning to cook in order to become independent in their cooking. Again, she really wishes she could get back to making meals for herself and even for others but that’s not what life is presenting her, and having to fight the NDIS to acknowledge this and BELIEVE her is also energy-sapping and disheartening.

I was present for my sister’s first NDIS planning meeting this week, and she, like many late-diagnosed AuDHD peeps out there, has a collection of strategies that she uses to get by in this world, that are “ok” but not brilliant and we’re hoping these new supports can help her organise her life into something she thrives in.

Meanwhile, I’m watching and seeing how it goes for her, seeing if medications and therapeutic and other supports actually helps her out before I even consider going down that route for myself. In the meantime I have my own little things in life that people may consider convenience tools but I use to make my life more satisfying and manageable.

One is the meal box delivery services I use, a mainstream tool as an executive functioning aid. I still have to / get to cook meals every night, but I don’t need to get into the planning out of the meals, what and how much of it I need, ensuring what I want makes it home in my shopping, and not having to face the dilemma of what to do if something isn’t available (common for us Aldi shoppers) because I’m there at the wrong time of day. It also makes my actual in-person shops smaller – I mostly buy dairy and eggs or little treats, with extra fruit and veg coming from my foodbank foraging through the week. This means I’m in the store less, get less overwhelmed, and don’t really have to think too much on the spot, I just do the shopping and get out.

The ingredients that came in one everyplate box

I don’t want to just talk about food, but that’s my thing isn’t it? Ever the food blogger, even now. But again what you might see as a treat – seeing a sex worker, having a trip away from your family (or respite stays when you’re caring 24/7 for someone), having a bar fridge next to your workstation – enable you to function and thrive and live your best (disabled) life. If the NDIS doesn’t fund these things, many disabled people (or their carers) won’t have access to them, they will never be a little luxury for them, and they certainly cannot afford to fund many of these things themselves.

So, when you worry about whether something a disabled person is doing or using is necessary, it probably is for them. Unfortunately we’re not at the stage of most disabled people getting to move beyond that, so please watch how you challenge their everyday needs.


Shedding this Well-meaning White Woman Persona

7 white women in formal wear

Mother knows best, they say. But sometimes mother takes too much time considering Father’s feelings and need for things to remain the same forever and bites her tongue at the key moment to keep the peace, and nothing changes, or, it gets worse.

Why yes, I am a well-meaning white woman. And *gasp* I used to be a lady who lunched, flying to different capital cities, but mostly Melbourne, to discuss the future of that well know white woman profession, Speech Pathology. (I was ACT Branch president of Speech Pathology Australia for 4 years, and there were many white woman lunches). I’m white, university educated and if I didn’t have all this anxiety I’d probably exude a little more authority on topics I may speak on, even if I speak over someone with better ideas and more experience. But does this actually help the situation? Do we achieve the incremental change that was probably coming anyway, thank the bread givers for the crumbs and wait for the next convenient time to ask for a little more? Or do we push harder, and make people uncomfortable, and make them question their priorities. Is my priority the seat at the table or making sure there’s more diversity at the table, or is it flipping the kitchen table and finding a new way to have this conversation?

Well meaning student speech pathologists

Well-meaning white women are well skilled in trying to achieve what is important FOR the people they advocate for. I’ll go back to speech pathology because it’s where I’ve been for an example. It’s important that Grandad doesn’t aspirate on liquids after his stroke right, because this might lead to a chest infection and aspiration pneumonia can lead to death. So it’s important FOR Grandpa that, since there’s evidence he aspirates on his beer with his mates (some goes into his lungs rather than being swallowed cleanly), he is advised that he mustn’t drink beer any more, or perhaps have it thickened to a safer consistency. Grandpa smiles and nods at the young lady offering this advice and thickener samples, but then has a beer anyway, dealing with the coughing and the risk this yeasty treat might cause him.

But what’s important TO Grandpa here is the ritual of having his beer. It’s being able to have that normality after other aspects of his life have been taken away from him after the stroke. He may not have his license any more so has lost that independence, or he takes his other beverages thickened when at home – his wife thickens his tea and he reluctantly sips from a thickened bottle of cordial to stay hydrated in summer. But he knows the risks he takes, he’s read the brochures from the health service, he’s discussed it with his wife. So there’s duty of care and dignity of risk.

Another classic well meaning white woman is the child protection worker, who of course has a myriad of factors to take into account for a child’s safety, but may not consider that cultural safety is just as important as not being exposed to certain dangers. It’s a fine line that the well-meaning white woman walks, with policies and procedures, her own experiences and ideas of what’s right, and the threats to the status quo of trying things a different way. I don’t envy those roles, I probably could work in them and then find myself burnt out so fast from trying to just get it right.

But it’s when there’s not an imminent danger when the well-meaning white woman’s reluctance to ask for, or to DEMAND more, from those running the show or holding the purse strings needs to be examined, picked apart and thrown out. She needs to be willing to stop playing nice, stop upholding her place at the table, stop being so deferent and polite about it all. You need to start pulling your support when they just keep pretending to listen to you but then give nothing.

Lidia Thorpe at the Midwinter Ball

I’m referring here to all the committees and consultations that have come and gone over the first two years of Labor in the disability and welfare spheres. The Voice referendum and how quickly nothing came of that once the no vote was clear. How Lidia Thorpe and other Blak women who pointed out the obvious flaws of the Voice as it stood were thrown under the bus to keep things nice within their parties and organisations. How the Economic Inclusion Committee, run by well meaning white woman Jenny Macklin, put their evidence based arguments for significant increases to welfare to the Labor party that neat two weeks before budgets TWICE, in order to there be nothing done, and for ACOSS and other saying Thank you for $20 here and there, and more money for Commonwealth Rent Assistance that just pushes rents along their merry way and doesn’t achieve change in the lives of people who don’t have a roof over their head or if they do can’t afford the other necessities in life.

How you can have another post-budget lunch with the treasurer and listen to his spiel on “responsible” measures that don’t impact inflation, but don’t impact anything else really. Jim Chalmers refers to the conversations Australian families are having around their kitchen tables, about what he thinks they are talking about anyway. If you have a kitchen table, what are your conversations about? The people who are left behind are still left behind, and fall even further behind if you don’t even let them catch up.

Julian Hill was in my dreams last night, I was remembering before the start of the most recent Workforce Australia enquiry he had a video call with some of use from AUWU and the Antipoverty Centre, telling us how much he looked forward to our input and how much he valued our lived experience. And then he proceeded to reaffirm the myth of the dole bludger and the value of work for the dole at any chance he got. And what did we get from that? More reassurance that better things aren’t possible and that the status quo must be maintained. And there’s still silence on what the government will do about the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People With Disability. So we see more puff pieces about scented candles being made for sub-minimum wage while their employers make money off their labour and have expenses covered by the NDIS but crickets on raising the wages of disabled people to the same level as everyone else. They’re supposed to go to half the minimum wage this year and to minimum wage by 2034, in case you were wondering what was recommended.

So, while these little committees and organisations may look nice, if you’re not working to include the voices of “others” – those actually affected by the policies you make you crust discussing day in day out, to actually listen to them, to amplify them, to give them prominence about your own, are you actually going to achieve change, or are you working to maintain the status quo, to ensure your organisation keeps getting a seat at the big boys table, the funding grant, because you tell them what they want to hear and let them make the bare minimum change. You get your car lease renewed for another year, your seat in parliament, and they system keeps ticking along while nothing really changes and people continue to suffer.

Palestinians don’t have ten years for nice little motions that maintain the status quo, that uphold apartheid Israel. Homeless people are dying in the cold, but, sure, worry about how raising welfare to the poverty line might affect inflation (when your committees say it won’t) and continue to cosplay homelessness in CEO sleepouts in secure underground carparks, while you have the power to legislate meaningful, immediate change.

So, as a well meaning white woman, I need to step back and reflect on how I’m enabling the status quo by allowing other voices to be silenced because they don’t use the right words or have the right educational background. Am I just paying lip service to lived experience or am I amplifying the knowledge and strengths of people whose voice may not be so polite and tidy, but have the knowledge and the experience to express the need for real reform.

Even if you think you can say it better, stand back, give someone else a chance. They may very well be better than you. Isn’t that scary?


Happy EOFYS! (Don’t let the tax cuts overwhelm you on the way out)

You can’t have missed it. EVERY AUSTRALIAN TAXPAYER IS GETTING A TAX CUT. Well, anyone earning above the tax free threshold is. Anyone paying GST or excise other other taxes that disproportionally impact the poorer peeps only isn’t.

Apparently, recipients of the age pension, a disability support pension and carer payments will be able to earn more before their payments are reduced. Singles can now earn $212 a fortnight (previously $204) and couples can earn $372 (previously $360). Let’s ignore the face that those people are currently on sub-poverty level payments because they’re supposed to be caring for themselves or others full time and really shouldn’t have to go out to work for that elusive block of cheese. Aspirational cheese.

I’m still slightly bitter that the energy rebate is less, even though it was just stupid to begin with. Also jelly of those states going to elections getting extra from their state labor where GST splits have allowed it. My bill is only going up, and here I am hoping my stepson’s JobSeeker application gets approved before the next bill so we can use his backpay to pay that. Waiting time for Jobseeker is still about 12 weeks I hear, so it lines up.

I’ll be relieved when tomorrow comes and the mailing lists I’m signed up for for various organisations with charitable status will stop asking for end-of financial year contributions. Though I have shared this one for Southlakes, the local community support organisaion near me that’s run on the smell of an oily rag, feeding families each week after Centrelink refers them their way rather then government deigning it time to Raise the Rate above the poverty line.

$12 bag of expired food items from a foodbank

I’ve starting attending rental inspections for the step-kid and bub to mover back to Newcastle, there’s so little out there and so many families at each inspection. At least we all have housing, it’s not ideal but it’s shelter.

Foodbank Fizzies

Oh, I used to be a food blogger, trying the latest products, writing up the cafes, and justifying my wine habit with blog posts. But that’s changed now, and while you’ll get the occasional local takeaway review, I’m not first out the gate to try the latest new product, it doesn’t land on my doorstep with a bow and props, a letter with keywords and samples to giveaway to readers and friends.

No, now I satisfy my need to try something new, and my desire to not exist solely on diet coke (pffft) I’ll get a can or bottle or two from the mixed collection of drinks that the foodbanks tend to have. A treat, often ranging up to $1 a piece, but cheaper than the shelf price and considered a donation to help their work. Sometimes, like the experience will be bad – there’s a reason these didn’t sell at the major supermarkets and made their way here. Or they might be out of date and TASTE out of date – flat, stale (yes, drinks can taste stale). But some are winners.

Like these fancy sodas. Lemon Squash and a Yuzu spritz. Fancy pants but I totally get it. There’s apparently also jalapeno and lime, which I gave a miss as I’m a wuss with chili.