All week I have been reading from online friends how they hate the mad dash of the supermarket food shop and that many have done it early and are feeling pleased and relieved. The weather has turned stormy today and so many of us are now safe at home with well stocked fridges, freezers and larders. I did my final supermarket shop in a quiet Newhaven Sainsburys on Friday morning thank goodness and my main vegies last Wednesday to supplement the root veg from Dymock farm shop safely stashed in the garage.
So when I woke up this morning and saw on TV that today is the day for the ‘big shop’ I began to think about why we put ourselves through it all? The supermarkets are closed for just one day and lets face it there will be convenience stores and garage shops open on the big day if anything has been forgotten. I have just been into Seaford to pay a bill and was amazed to see some of customers struggling into Morrisons today are the elderly using walking trollies. I have to ask myself why they choose to go there today? Through the window I could see it was heaving with queues 10 deep by 11am.
There was even a queue at the local butchers –probably because people were collecting turkeys etc. I then realised why the butcher told me to go yesterday –a Sunday to collect my small piece of steak and sausagemeat. In fact many of the town shops were open yesterday even the charity shops so I hope they did well with last minute bargain hunters.
So after the frenzy of all this food shopping – I cant remember how many pigs in blankets they said on TV Asda alone were expecting to sell; the nation will settle down to eat and drink their way through an excess of food shopping. I hope that many of those shoppers will have put something decent in the Food Bank baskets that are appearing in most of the big shops now and spare a though for those with only processed food for their Christmas dinner or none at all.
Sadly on the day after Boxing Day , much of this food will be consigned to the bin uneaten along with the turkey carcass which is no longer made into soup or curry in many households (I can see my late dad doing that now and me sighing over the apple and sultanas that went into Anglo Indian curry!) A new frenzy will be in place – sale shopping- either online or another expedition to the shops. The following week the food buying frenzy will all happen again as people restock up for New Years parties.
For me the key questions to ask are;
Did I stick to the list and avoid the BOGOFs when I knew they would not get eaten?
Did I plan the meals and only buy what we really needed?
Did I spread out the treats throughout the week so nobody got indigestion and felt ill!?
Is there got nothing left over or wasted?.
Have I kept a record of the menus and shopping?- easy on OneNote or Evernote for future years?
I wish this to be reflected across the nation and the true spirit of Christmas food sharing to prevail.
As I am currently disenchanted with the big boy local supermarkets (yes that means you Sainsburys , Tesco and Morrisions) I decided to respond to a catalogue that came with The Sunday Times (yes that middle class missive we can spend hours reading at the weekend rather than doing chores or getting out for a walk) The catalogue was for all things Lidl…the store we loved to hate when it proposed building a tin can monstrosity in our previous Surrey surburbia. I was also tempted by some biscuits I had eaten at a coffee morning recently … They came from the local branch and were very good indeed; as well as encouraged by others who said the fresh produce was good quality and value.
So off I trekked to the Newhaven Industrial Estate with my list of pickles (thought they would be good being a European brand) and Christmas goodies based on marzipan and ginger as seen in the catalogue.
My first challenge was to find a pound coin for the trolley then undeterred I set off to check out the aisles. Mysterious brands of tea coffee etc but no porridge oats -clearly not popular in Europe.
As had been suggested the fresh veggies were very reasonable but not as much choice as I am used to and some things prepacked in bigger sizes than I wanted , but did buy a nice big swede for £1 which is probably half the price of Sainsburys. Butter, cheese and milk all seemed cheaper , bacon was a no go as not marked British so I could only assume this was not the High welfare I wanted. Also bought some large jars of passata which Sainsburys simply does not stock despite my moaning tweets.
However the stars of the store were the Christmas goodies, mini stollens, ginger cookies dipped in chocolate and a whole range of pickles at very good prices. I also bought a big pack of uncooked frozen Greenland prawns so I am all set for some Christmas love now. Incidentally if we were keen on vension I would buy the controversial reindeer steaks too!
Nearly fell at the last fence on checkout when I discovered you have to pay cash or debit card- no credit cards allowed here. Probably a good thing meaning customers can only buy what they can really afford.
Will I go again- yes when I run out of pickles but sadly they do not have the range of things I want to eat such as whole wheat pasta, ryvita and nut milks ( nor Persil non bio for my sensitive skinned partner!)
In the meantime I will spread my custom and love around the butcher, fishmonger and Co-op which are within walking distance and drive to the nearest farm stall / visit Sainsbury’s a couple of times a month. I am fortunate that I have time to go to this trouble, it would be so much easier to get it all from one place.