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.
Yesterday’s press on the vast amount of food wasted in the UK from supermarkets and our overbuying due to BOGOFs /poor management has left me wondering how we got to this stage.
As a child of the 1950s growing up as rationing finished and with parents who has been Depression children; food waste was not something I was used to. My mum’s family had to rely on the Salvation Army to help out in 1920s Salford. My dad was a country boy brought up on the plain cooking my grandma had learned in service with home grown vegetables and basic proteins supplemented by the rabbits granddad’s ferrets caught. Those habits were ingrained in me- clear the plate and use up left overs or suffer dad’s wrath. I can even remember being made to sit all lunch hour over the chocolate pudiding and custard served in infant school the smell of which made me heave and I never gave in and ate it!
Turn the clock on 40 years its the 1990s and I am Teaching food Technology in an outer London suburb. We begin to notice the children leaving behind all sorts of ingredients they have not used with words like ‘ my mum says she does not want it’ . By the time I retired in 2011 my catering fridge always had a stock of cheese, butter, eggs, half packs of meat (which we would freeze for another day) also sorts of vegetables and a cupboard full of flour, rice pasta, cans, herbs and spices all left behind without so much as a thought as to how much this all cost. Rarely was anything thrown away- students who had forgotten ingredients could be helped out and the budget for staff demonstrations was reduced.
Since moving to Seaford I no longer have a massive fridge so have to think even more carefully about how much I buy as storage is a problem. Gone are the big packs of veggies and wide variety I was used to. Local shopping facilities limit me to be far more creative in what I buy and cook. The council collect food waste weekly so I have decided to monitor what we do throw away apart from peelings (as the compost heaps are about to be moved and cannot be used at present) and ways I use up food nearing the end of its life.
So this is my last week’s food waste- fits into the small bin nicely- and transfers to the Council bin about 2 inches thick- all fruit and vegetable peelings plus teabags. There is one small mouldy green pepper in there from a large pack I have to keep in the pantry now no room in fridge.
So who else is going to monitor their food waste this week?