In Britain, loaves of bread are sealed shut with these infuriating strips of sticky plastic that, unless you have ten-inch talons, take half a bloody hour to pick open and then rarely reseal with any degree of satisfaction.
But in Australia, you get a miniature masterpiece — the humble bread clip.
The simple twist-and-clip motion has dazzled bread lovers worldwide since American Floyd Paxton invented them sometime back in the olden days. And I was bedazzled all over again while back in Australia. So secure! So simple! So sensible! I smuggled a few back home, and plan to do a Daz/Napisan Doorstep Challenge-type of thing and bully my neighbours into abandoning their stickers and trying a bread clip for fourteen days.
Also called Alternative Bags or Go Green bags, Smug Bags are green woven shopping bags that put the standard environment-killing plastic numbers to shame. For just 99 cents you get a reusable bag that is wide enough for a loaf of bread and sturdy enough for a couple kilos of Australia’s very affordable fresh fruit and veg, and a delightful feeling of smugness for your token effort towards helping save the planet. “Look at me,” these bags scream to passers-by, “I may be a consumerist pig, but observe how I hold the loot in an enviro-friendly vessel!”.
I was first introduced to Smug Bags last year when bemoaning the lack of affordable tracky dacks (sweatpants US, trackybottoms UK) in this country. The cheapest I could find were £30 and shithouse. I refuse to pay the equivalent of $70 AUD for Couchwear.
So my ever thoughtful friends Monkey and Matt sent me two pairs of top quality 100% cotton Bonds trackies (one pair Traditional Grey, and one Black for more formal occassions. Bonds incidentally are also the makers of PURPLES!) She had nestled the precious garments into what she’d dubbed a Smug Bag. I thought the Bag was a bit weird at the time, but when I was in Melbourne last month I finally put it to use. I swanned smugly around the CBD with a green bag full of non-essential foodstuffs, lost in my apartment-dwelling, cafe-breakfasting, non-working, chocolate-scoffing vacation fantasy world. Back in the UK I tried to recapture the feeling with an ASDA Bag For Life, but when it’s made from plastic and holds your stinky gym clothes it’s just not the same.
Along with the Smug Bag and superior trackies, my friends had also sent me a bag of Mint Slice Balls. They were all the goodness of a Mint Slice biscuit distilled into a Malteser-size ball, the perfect ratio of chocolate biscuit to zingy mint to dark chocolate coating. Imagine my delight to arrive in Australia to find the whole country had gone BALL CRAZY. Cadbury Dairy Milk Balls, Crunchie Balls, Cherry Ripe Balls, Clinker Balls, Ski Yogurt Balls, Fry’s Turkish Delight Balls. They weren’t all actually called balls – some were Bites or Chocettes or Minis, and the Cherry Ripes were decidedly cube-like; but to me it was just balls balls balls!
Unfortunately I didn’t get to sample the mother of all balls – The TimTam Ball! I still tremble at the thought of what sweet and faintly salty delights they would have been, but by the end of the trip my jeans were tighter than a Scotsman’s purse strings so I thought I’d best not partake.