Wednesday, 18 January 2006

I'm running out of titles for these entries

I was going to say that absolutely nothing of interest happened to me yesterday and in a way a very real way this is true. On the other hand something did happen, something huge, something which once upon a time was a regular occurrence but since living in the woods I have not done at all. Yes, yesterday I went to Tescos, not your ordinary run of the mill Tesco Metro, oh no, one of those massive huge ones. The donut counter alone was big enough to sleep in and it had a nice Perspex cover that would have kept the rain out!

A trip to the supermarket might not seem like that big a deal but when you have not been to a proper sized one for about seven and a half months it comes as a bit of a shock. I haven’t been intentionally avoiding big supermarkets it’s just that the only ones I have found have been small little local ones and a trip of a few miles to a big supermarket when I have no storage space and no fridge unless it is cold seems a bit of a waste of time. Imagine my delight then when yesterday I was informed by a native that there is in fact a stonking great supermarket not 8 minutes walk from this very desk where I now sit pretending to work! I made haste to the place.

I grabbed a basket as is the tradition and made my way into the shop. I spent the first five minutes or so walking around in a daze, so much stuff, what could I do? I wanted some bread and eventually found the bread section only to find it was huge. I stared blankly at the array for a while quite unable to make a choice before walking away with a still empty basket to rally my thoughts. After focusing a little I managed to vaguely get an angle on the thing and turned my mind to buying some supplies. Slowly the barrage of images of various foods started to make sense, forgotten recipes started to flood back and a whole world of opportunity opened ahead of me.

The only problem is that there is this eating local seasonal food business to contend with, I considered making a Thai mango and prawn salad but a quick run through of the ingredients revealed that nothing in it was local apart from the coriander; that was growing in a pot on a shelf! It doesn’t get much more local than that. The idea of a Thai curry went out of the window but at least in this instance I could have had some chicken with my coriander. In fact pretty much everything I fancied having was quite un-allowed.

It seems to me that things like herbs and spices should be allowed seeing as those have been traded for centuries and probably still arive via the silk route or cliper. I also think that Coconut Milk, Chillies and Citrus fruit are all probably allowable exceptions to the rule on account of it’s not possible to live without them. Anyway there is no way I’m going to go until June without eating in Thai Food. It seems thought that when I packed all my stuff up back in June that I somehow neglected to pack my ginger grater! Looks like carving a new one will be a project for the weekend.


Hana Loftus said...

I have total sympathy with your bewilderment at the big supermarket. I lived in rural Alabama for a year (not nearly as extreme as a ditch, but I was squatting a big tin shed with no windows or heating) and the first time I went to the fresh food hypermarket in Atlanta 4 hours away I was so overwhelmed I didn't know what to do. I had been shopping at the Piggly Wiggly in my town up till then where they didn't have any real bread and the fresh veg section was about 2 ft long. It really did my head in quite severely to see ten different kinds of mushroom, extra virgin olive oil, wine, fresh fish...I had a bit of a reaction and thought it was all really horrible and immoral!

m4rkd said...

I don't think it's that unreasonable to buy herbs and spices that don't even grow here, especially as they're small infrequently used.

What gets my goat is the determination to eat things that grow really well here in the summer, all year round. Case in point: tomatoes. August, British tomatoes: lovely. Even better if you've grown them yourself. January, tomatoes from Spain or Israel: taste disgusting - bland, mealy and utterly revolting. Have been flown miles to get here. Why bother? Just eat some carrots or something that's nice and seasonal and grown here. There are enough nice things growing here at any time of the year to make it through and bring some variety.