Monday, April 11, 2022

Street Spring

While I never park our car beneath one (because we love her) I am very grateful to see the callery pears in bloom in the neighborhood.  

Their blossoms are a delightful froth, but the trees topple or drop limbs with little warning. They are described in arborist's terms as being weak-crotched. The trees have also become significantly invasive beyond their cosmopolitan habitats.

Speaking of weak crotches and super-invaders, if you are wondering what else you can do to support Ukraine against the invasion by Putin, look to your wallets: not for donations (assuming you have made those), but for withholding. The New York Times recently published a list of companies doing business with Russia, and it is depressing. In some cases, you can easily boycott their products. I have a guilty soft spot for Hellmann's mayonnaise, for instance, and I am hard-wired to eat Marmite. Both are manufactured by Unilever, one of those conscienceless mega-entities. 

Mayo is easy to make and miso is a good stand-in for Marmite.

It reminds me of the brands I grew up eating and sipping, as a white child in apartheid South Africa. Marmite, again, was one of them. So was Coca Cola (it was an occasional treat, but I loved it). Pepsi, on the other hand, withdrew. 

Capitalism is capitalism, but as a consumer you carry some weight. Throw it around.


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  1. Have you tried Vegemite as a Marmite replacement? When I lived in London in the late 8Os there was a friendly but definite rivalry between British Marmite-eaters and Australian Vegemite-eaters. To my French tastebuds, both smelled and tasted similarly disgusting - but I've now been converted.

    1. I don't mind Vegemite. I looked into it and it is as complicated as many other mass-produced foods. Bega Cheese makes Vegemite now, but are they or aren't they owned by NZ Fonterra, which has divested from Russia? I think the answer is to eat fewer ultra-processed foods.

  2. Thanks for this. Do you know if there's another place where the list is available? I don't subscribe and there's a pay wall (speaking of capitalism...)

    1. Hi Melanie! I haven't done a search but I am sure Mx Google will assist.

      Do you think paying to read a newspaper is capitalism at its worst, though? Good journalism is very expensive. My subscription is just under $5 a month for unlimited reading.


      This is an open-access list.

    3. Thanks, Unknown, for the cross-ref.
      Marie, Now that I'm on a fixed income, I usually read the paper at the library. Good journalism is essential to good citizenship but I need to pick and choose carefully where I spend even $5.

    4. So good to know one can read at the library - is that the online version? And you made me check my subscription - I was wrong, it's actually $4/month so $1 a week or 14 cents a day.

  3. Hi Marie,
    Tx for posting the gorgeous blossom tree a sure sign of Spring. Does it bear fruit, Bee Cape Town


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