For those of you who think this blog is going to be about clothes and retail, then read no more. This blog concerns the drudge that many of us feel and face at some point in the week: the weekly food shop.
The grocery trawl, as I used to think of it, is the one job I could have well done without. It went something like this. Put the pound into the trolley to release it, have your list ready (if you had even bothered to do one), on your marks, get set and go. My husband who often comes would get irritated with me. He ponders at the veg counter, looking for English this and non-plastic wrap that. I would be already round the corner spinning the trolley on its wheels. Not that I am a fan of plastic wrapped peppers from Morrisons and I do care about local produce but I would be quite happy to leave that to him, while I scoop other items into the trolley.We try to keep to a budget and always go over a little. We come out with a full trolley, for the fun of taking it all home and unpacking it. Then my interest does start, with the cooking of it. Basically that was it. But now that experience has changed.
Since my husbands recent investigations, currently on going, for potential cardio-vascular problems- see the Pork Pie Club, things have changed much for the better. Infact, this change had already been starting a few months ago. We decided to buy meat from our local butcher because we were fed up buying meat in plastic and foam containers and also because we wanted to know where our meat came from. This has been a very positive change. The cuts were to the size we wanted and the meat quality was so much better in taste and texture. However, the weekly shop at the supermarket continued, minus meat.
Then after my husband’s problem was brought to the surface, we went to the supermarket with a new frame of mind. Now, we did consider ourselves healthy eaters, cooking from scratch, no packet meals because of salt/fat and for environmental grounds of packaging. We were in for a shock. Walking down the aisles I suddenly realised that much of what we had been buying was not good and now off the list. Rows and rows of food full of chemicals, fat, sugar and rubbish was before us. By the time we finished, our trolley was only half full and the purse was fatter at the end. We thought about this and pondered about the discovery.
The next week we were in town and the market was on. Needing fruit and veg we decided to look at the market stall. Our red meat consumption had dropped like a stone and our fruit and veg intake had increased dramatically. Suddenly, the experience hit us. Here was beautiful produce all laid out and tempting. We filled our recycled bags once it was weighed. There was chatter, a fresh breeze coming from the Wash and the whole atmosphere was buzzy. We choose local strawberries and bought Butternut Squash never eaten before. The produce lasted a long time and saw us through the week, some of it kept in our fridge. We went back the next week and got some more, looking foreword to the occasion.
This process has now extended to where we can buy fish. At work today, I visited the local bakery and discovered the price of bread was not so great after all from there. I bought a lovely wholemeal loaf and was amazed when asked how I wanted it cut, medium or thick slice. It was then freshly sealed in a bag. When home, the bread tasted so good.
All this has changed the way we shop and now the supermarket dash is the thing of the past. Now you might say that this is all very well, but you need time and money to do all this. Well, actually, you would be wrong. Our food bill is less, our waste virtually non-existent and one of us works shifts, both of us work weekends. We do all our own work ie: we pay no one to clean, garden, we have no family nearby to help in anyway. Yet, we have more time now, not less and incorporate this into days out and fun treks to find new places. Sometimes, you just see something on the spure of the moment. Yesterday, we were in Swaffham sorting out school uniforms and popped into the local grocer. We chatted to the lady serving, making conversation. Better than just talking to a rushed lady at the till shoving bar codes through her/his machine with queue jumpers and irate customers.
Yes, we still have to use the supermarket but much much less. Our butcher is now talking to suppliers about white meat, cut fillets etc. Local business can be so accommodating. Shopping has become a pleasure and my next blog will show you what I did with that Butternut squash. Infact, some of my blogging is going to change as a result of this. I am experimenting with my own recipes and will post some. My husband has been working out the cost savings, can reduction and salt reduction in our own produced foods. Perhaps, I should start a new blog site altogether called Mrs Humble Pie’s Kitchen.
This could be my claim to fame in blog land.