Sunday, 30 October 2011

Snack Time

Well after a three hour train journey from Leicester back to Preston today I didn't do very well with my I Spy train list.  I saw a river, bridge over the railway, some flooding, a road, graffiti, budleia and a successful traveller making a dash for an almost departing train. I only managed one church spire before darkness closed in and the dark is my excuse for missing the rest of my list. Hopefully I'll do better later in the week when I'm on another train.

When I'm on train journeys I try to make sure I take food and drink with me, mainly because of the prices on trains and at stations but also because there seems to be a serious lack of "ethical" snacks. This has mainly been an assumption up to now but today I thought I'd check out the on board shop on my Virgin train to see if I could back it up with facts.

I was  happily surprised to find that all the hots drinks were Fairtrade and according to the shop menu,
Virgin Trains is proud to use only Fairtrade Certified hot drinks, to help protect farmers and deliver you the very best quality.
 I'm quite impressed by this and I like the fact that, on these trains at least, the ethical choice is now the only choice. There aren't that many places where only Fairtrade drinks are served, although there were still fizzy drinks which were Fairtrade.

The only other Fairtrade items I found were some Fairtrade Jelly Beans (I didn't even realise they existed!). There were also some UK produced oat bars which had "fully recyclable packaging". The packaging was plastic and while it probably is recyclable somewhere I doubt it would be accepted by my council. On the recycling topic it annoys me that there is nowhere to recycle on trains, not even behind the shop counter.

In general I was pleased that there were ethical/environmental options for both food and drink, but there's still a fair way to go. It would be great if Fairtrade was the norm for all products that could be.

Thankfully I avoided the shop choices as I'd brought a snack with me. This weekend I tried making roasted pumpkin seeds for the first time. They were a lot better than I expected and very easy to make. Remove all the seeds from the pumpkin, brush a tiny bit of oil onto a hot frying pan and then put in the seeds. Wait until the seeds swell and turn brown and then remove from the heat and cover with sugar/salt/chilli powder or paprika. I think I used a bit too much chilli powder but they were great otherwise and staved off hunger until I got home to finish off the last of last weeks pork.

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