Big on Big!

Savour the International Flavours!

I’m big on big. Wonder if that’s part of my weight problem? We generally like big though, don’t we? While I’d rather not have a big gut, I think big can be good.

We like to “talk big” , for example. We want to “make it big”. We’re encouraged to “go big or go home”. Big winners. Biggest losers. No matter the field, we are conditioned to see big, by & large, as a good thing. Some of that kind of talk is pure giraffe guano, but big does work for some things. Like shopping!

Buying in bulk both saves & satisfies. I like big boxes, big jars, big bottles, & big containers of food! Especially those expensive foods that come in little jars. The way I use hot peppers on a burger, it could cost me an extra 5 bucks to dress up a bun. But that only happens when I buy the peppers in those dinky little jars at my local supermarket. When it comes to condiments & seasonings, it’s way cheaper to buy big. Yeah, I feel a twinge of guilt buying online, but I don’t do it very often, so I get over it. And the stuff I buy is Canadian, right?

Turns out not!

My latest shipment had mixed pickle spears from India, pepperoncini from Egypt, hot peppers from Mexico, with curry powder & spices that were only packaged in Quรฉbec. A big box of Japanese cookies that I love so much (not in the pic, too big & too bad! LOL) are now made in the US. They must’ve gotten popular enough to justify manufacturing on this side of the world.
The “decorative” candies in the pic were only purchased to get me over the free shipping limit, I swear!
They are made in Poland.

How much does it cost to ship such low-cost items around the planet? I don’t know why we can’t make more of this stuff closer to home. That said, nothing wrong with a little international flavour either.

You know what I’d most like to get delivered?

An Irish breakfast!

OMG … Irish bacon, sausages, black & white pudding … mmmmmm!
Let me know if you know how to make that happen. Please.

Now that would be truly big! ๐Ÿ˜‰โ˜˜๏ธ

TGIF & have a good weekend all!

Be Selfish … Shop Local!

Do you know how to shop your local businesses online?

We’re close to Christmas, in the middle of the pandemic, & it’s Black Friday shopping season. I had already bought all I could think of buying at my local stores so now, it’s time for a little online shopping. Woohoo!

I can’t deny it, I’m a fan of the big e-commerce sites. And I’m sure I’ll do some shopping with them too. However, do you see newly shuttered shops & “For Lease” signs in the local malls these days? Some lights are out & might not be coming back on. Those are our neighbours.

We can shop local for totally selfish reasons too. We’ll all want more choices in the post-pandemic world. If we don’t keep them in business, those choices disappear. Small business people are paying taxes too. And they buy other products that eventually circle back around to keeping those of us still in a job, in a job! So go ahead … be selfish & shop local! ๐Ÿ˜œ

These days, many small business owners are trying to build an online presence. I’ve seen some interviewed on TV & most were able to get up & running, pretty quickly, with Shopify’s platform. That helps them get cheap shipping rates too. All necessary in the modern competitive landscape.

I assumed part of the benefit of using the Shopify platform is the sheer scale & size of that company. As a consumer, I figured it would be an easy online search to find all the local shops who were using Shopify.
Not so. I couldn’t find Shopify businesses & I couldn’t even find out how to find local Shopify sites to buy from. I was mystified. Small business owners need the benefits of Shopify’s size & power of aggregation. But where was that advantage? Surely there was a way to find which local businesses were offering their products through Shopify?

I went directly to Shopify’s site looking for the answer, but it wasn’t jumping off the page there either. I clicked on a support chat button. I’m not sure it was a support button for this kind of question but I got help from a great support person. (Thanks, Alycia!)

Of course, privacy rights prevent them from sharing who is using their platform (duh!) but, as it turns out, there’s an app for that! ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿ˜
I’m not kidding, there is an app called “Shop”, by Shopify, that does connect us to local businesses, & more. I downloaded it & had a quick look to see if it could hone in on local businesses & yes, it can.
You can even … wait for it … SHOP with it! ๐Ÿ˜‚

I haven’t done any shopping yet, so this isn’t a review of the functionality of the app. I’m just sharing it, in case you might want to try it out, & support your local businesses too.
Or does everyone already know about this? And it’s just me that was in the dark!?!

I’m not in any way connected with Shopify, by the way, just sharing what I found out.

And did you know there are selfish reasons to add food to the food bank boxes at the supermarket exits too? I put a couple of bucks worth of non-perishable food in there & I felt like a million bucks. Where else can you get that kind of return!?! ๐Ÿ˜œ

Take care out there all.

Shopify & Shop are registered Trade Marks of Shopify Inc.

Wok Me!

My wok arrived. And 3 days ahead of schedule! Guess the supply chain is adjusting to the pandemic. Knew I shoulda bought the Amazon stock! Yes, I feel guilty that I didn’t shop locally but they didn’t have a model I wanted so I went to the online gorilla.

Still worried that it might not work on my induction stove, I immediately stuck it on the stove top & fired up the burner on max boost. While I waited for it, I grabbed the manual & one of the first things I read is to not put it on high heat with nothing in it. Oops!

Fortunately, I caught it while it was still cold. Disaster averted. I know the carbon steel ones are the more authentic choice but I always let those go rusty when I go off wok cooking for a bit, so stainless steel is the (lazier!) way to go for me.

Buying online can be hazardous. A picture is worth a thousand words though they can, sometimes, be totally misleading. Not this time; this wok is a great size. I get very enthusiastic while wokking, so having a high & wide vessel keeps most of the food in the wok. And I can cook lots of stuff all at once. I like the size. But what’s the lid for? Stopping the moisture from escaping just makes everything taste boiled, no? Can you steam wontons or dumplings in it?

It’s so long since I got rid of my last wok that I can’t remember what my favourite wok dishes were. It’s like starting out on a whole new adventure. I do remember that it was one way for me to eat veggies. Cover anything in oil or fat & its appeal goes way up.

Now that I’ve got it, I really have no excuse to avoid eating a little better through what’s left of this month. Might be time to risk a trip to the supermarket.

If you’ve got any good recipe ideas, please send ’em my way.

Hope you, & all those you care about, are making it though the pandemic & its restrictions okay. Stay safe out there.

Online Shopping for 2XLT

Shopping Locally for Breakfast!

I have no idea why, but there are actually skinny people who read my blog from time to time. While many of these kind folk sympathise, some of them find it difficult to truly empathise with the predicaments we larger folk face. This post should give them a chuckle. It makes me want to throw up! But that’s the kind of motivational kick in the pants I need every now & then.

Let me start out by saying that I am a big supporter of the idea of shopping local. I prefer to buy local products, from farmers & producers as close to me as possible. Now, during the Canadian winter, that may mean my neighbours in California & Mexico for some products, but still. I’m even willing to pay more (not to a ridiculous extent, of course!) to support my local community. Along with that, I try to buy from local brick & mortar stores. They pay rent & taxes locally, & they employ local folk. All of which makes a contribution to bettering the community I live in. I still go to the checkouts that have real people & not those automated checkouts. That’s all true until it comes to shopping for clothes for a fat guy!

Despite the growing girth of the population at large (๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚), it is pretty challenging for a fat guy to get reasonably well fitting clothes, at reasonable prices, on Main Street. In my case, I “stock” about four different sizes of pants in the closet. That covers an 8″ range of waist sizes, with a 3″ variation on inseam length. I also have a compliment of shirts that run from large through 2XLT. I must admit that the low end of my clothing inventory is a little optimistic. And perhaps a little nostalgic!

Now normal people might have missed the nuances of the size variations here. Inseam variations? Tall & standard length shirts? Why?

An expanding gut wreaks havoc with sizing. Along with the larger waistband, we have to make a serious decision. Do we let the waistband fall below the bulge? Or do we go bigger & pull it up over the tire? No, the latter is not an option, so we drop it! That means that we need a shorter rise, lest we want to look like those kids with the crotch of the pants hanging between their knees. And we need a shorter inseam to match. Of course, that also means that our standard length shirts run the risk of disengaging from the waistband. After all, they now have to circumvent the belly. And the waistband is suddenly further away. So now we need tall shirt lengths too. Crop tops may look cute on flat bellied teens but a bare & bulging midriff on a middle aged fat guy? Not so much! Shopping has just become a big deal for anyone that crosses that line. I wonder if larger women have similar shopping challenges?

You skinny people go in to your favourite big box store, grab a nice pair of jeans, on sale, check the leg length, & you’re good to go. I go in & root through the entire stack to find the one & only pair of pants with the correct waist size. If I’m lucky. Then I take that to my local tailor to have it hemmed to the correct length. Yes, I know there’s more material in the bigger size but the cost penalty is often disproportionately huge. Especially if we have to resort to the big guy clothing store.

Enter online shopping!

I’m a big fan of Amazon. Is there anything that you can’t find on there? I can get my tall shirts. I can get my large pants. With the correct inseam length. The shipping is free. And I can sometimes even find stuff on sale! I love my local stores but, on occasion, the costs & the pain are just a little too much to bear.

To be honest, I’m a bit of a Jeff Bezos fan. He’s one of those people that is on my list of famous people that I’d like to have dinner with. Since he announced that 10 billion dollar Bezos Earth Fund, I’m feeling a little less guilty about not doing all my shopping locally. I’ll certainly continue to buy my food from local sources. And maybe that will help me lose the weight. So I can go back to shopping for normal sized clothes again. Locally!

PS … Today is the first national “I Read Canadian” day! In Canada, the market share for Canadian authors has been halved over the past decade & a Canadian initiative is trying to reverse that trend. You can learn more about the program here.

I know most of my regular reader are tired of hearing this but … I am one of those Canadian writers! And, to boot, Amazon print on demand titles are now printed in Canada. If you’ve already bought a copy of my book, thank you. If you haven’t, please do. And if it’s just not your cup of tea, please share this link with your friends for me.

There are more in the works but nothing close enough to be worth talking about yet.