Daily Archives: July 9, 2011 10:36 pm

Life without supermarkets #4 again: At last, satsumas you don’t throw away

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Satsumas from Sunfresh in Tooting

I don’t really like satsumas, but I have to buy them for my parents who like them because they’re easy to peel and eat, and if you’re lucky, have no pips in. What I hate about buying them is that it’s so hard to get out of a supermarket without two bags of them. I never want more than about half of one bag, let alone two. I have probably thrown away more old, dry or rotten satsumas than anything else in the house.

The ones I got at Sunfresh in Tooting were large, juicy, sweet, easy to peel, and 59p per pound. Price at Sainsbury’s? 5 satsumas in a bag, £2.00 (40p each), 5 loose, £1.37. Price per kilo, £2.50, or per pound, £1.13 – which is nearly double the price of Sunfresh.

The other big surprise today was that the things I’d assumed were much cheaper in Sainsbury’s – regular brand stuff like Kleenex, Andrex, and packs of kitchen roll etc., were more or less the same price (£1.99 instead of £1.98 for loo-rolls for example) not allowing for any temporary special offers.  I now understand that all the hours I’ve spent examining the special offers in Sainsburys on these things is wasted. I could walk to the end of my road and do just as well, but until I started this 30-days-without-a-supermarket challenge, I hadn’t bothered to check.

 

Life without supermarkets #3 & #4: Goodbye Green & Black’s

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Nigella's lemon cake

It’s only day 3 of my no-supermarket-for-30-days challenge, and I’ve already realised that supermarkets have made me lazy and dependent in an almost childish way, and created a mental food-universe that consists of whatever brands and products they happen to be pushing.

Here’s an example. I have two favourite cakes, both of them by Nigella Lawson, and both involving a lot of ground almonds. One is her lemon and almond cake, and the other is her  chocolate lime cake.  Yesterday, I had more or less decided to make the chocolate one for a birthday today.

To make it work, you really need good quality chocolate, and normally I’d use Green & Black’s. What I’ve discovered today is that Green & Blacks chocolate, nice though it is, is a supermarket phenomenon. It’s in your face constantly at Sainsbury’s and Tesco, but none of my local shops stock it.

So I made the lemon cake instead, as Daily Fresh has plenty of lemons and almonds. At £1.99 for 200g the ground almonds are 1p cheaper than Sainsbury’s. The unsalted butter (Emborg – Danish, nice shiny silver packet) at £1.29 was cheaper than some of Sainsbury’s unsalted butter brands.  And of course, I didn’t have to walk all the way to Sainsbury’s to get it, and I was served quickly by a human with a genuine friendly smile.

Only 3 days without a supermarket, and I already find myself thinking more independently and creatively about food.  Far from being a nuisance, this challenge feels like a liberation.