The weather well and truly changed. I can’t even say that it was still warm because by Sunday it was actually a bit on the chilly side. Saturday’s surprise 70th birthday barbecue for my friend was held at her son’s house. So far as the weather went, it was a washout but despite having to stay indoors we had a good time. Said son valiantly braved the rain (at times torrential) and still managed to cook up a feast to feed the guests. The last five weeks have been scorchers; couldn’t we just have some balanced weather?
On Saturday morning I made a rare trip to town as I wanted to return a dress which I’d ordered online from Debenhams. No wonder online shopping is credited with killing off the high street – the shops rarely have what I’m looking for, but the trouble with online is that you can’t feel the fabric. Pure cotton can be ultra soft or, as this dress was, stiff and then it doesn’t hang well. Clothes buying is rarely a pleasure these days.
After that I did the supermarket rounds. The food shop would be so much quicker if I was able to get everything I want in one store. It’s one of the reasons that I don’t shop weekly but stock up once a month in Tesco for the main items, which I also use for top-ups (or Waitrose if I happen to be in a town that has one). So what can’t I buy in our huge Tesco Extra that means I have to visit other stores?
Toilet rolls: I buy these in Asda because I like their ‘Quilted Shades’ better than any other. I also find that my preferred ‘WestLab’ Epsom Salt body wash, is only available there. My dislike of any kind of perfumed liquid for the washing machine (I really can’t stand my clothes smelling of it) used to be solved very inexpensively when I could buy Tesco ‘Everyday Value washing liquid’. I discovered that it smelled of absolutely nothing and as it did the job adequately, I’ve been using it for years. But now they have discontinued it. I tried a couple of branded detergents but found myself having to run clothes through the machine for a second time without any to minimise the smell. Thanks to Google I realised that I can buy an identical product in Morrisons to the Tesco one so each month I pop in to Morrisons and stock up. I wonder how long they’ll keep it on the shelves?
Talking of the Tesco Value range, I’ve noticed that they are reducing the number of items.No more Italian-style grated hard cheese (a great substitute for Parmesan in cooking though there’s nothing to beat the authentic stuff for sprinkling on soup or bruschetta). What happened, I wonder, to competing with the discount stores? Nevertheless, I’ll pay up because I have a hearty dislike of the Aldi experience.
In Home Bargains they sell THE best walnuts. We know our walnuts(!) and eat a lot of them so once a month I buy four or five bags. The Oral B clean mint toothpaste we like can be bought here for £1.99 instead of the £3.49 that Tesco sell it for so I usually pick up some of that too seeing as I’m in there anyway.
I’m always interested to see what other people have in their shopping trolleys. I confess to being somewhat judgmental and thinking:
- Goodness, what a lot of sugar.
- Wow, no wonder she’s so slim – it’s all very healthy (I may possibly glare).
- Why on earth would anyone buy that many chocolate biscuits? (After all, they’ll only eat them).
- Bet he’s making a curry tonight.
- Hasn’t she ever heard of cooking from scratch?
- Hmm, no vegetarians in that family!
- They must be having a barbecue.
So what might they say about me I wondered as I stood at the checkout in Tesco? They would correctly deduce from the fresh salmon and cod loin, tins of salmon, tuna and sardines and the box of breaded plaice fillets that we like fish. Chicken, so not vegetarians but not much in the way of meat otherwise. Cheese – several varieties always including Babybel lights and Finest Vintage Cheddar (unless I’m somewhere near a specialist cheese deli and then there would be various local versions and a Stinking Bishop – yes it smells awful but it tastes amazing!)… perhaps she likes to make quiches and cheesy bakes (she does). Then they might wonder why I buy so much Total 0% fat yogurt, but they’d see that although there’s a small tub of flora there’s no cream, butter or mayo; Total’s a great substitute. Plenty of salad but pea shoots in preference to leaves, lots of tomatoes (used in cooking as well as raw). Celery, carrots and onions – haha, she’s making a batch of soffritto! And they’d be right…it’s for Tuscan chicken this evening, shepherds pie (minced beef for husband, lentil for me) tomorrow and vegi-burgers for the freezer. Olive oil and rapeseed (never vegetable oil), Natvia sweetener (two as it’s on offer this month) but no tea or coffee (plenty of each already in the cupboards).
Then again, they might not give a hoot!