Are you really being served?
In a conversation with a friend who lives 'up-country' the topic of
supermarkets was discussed. She expressed how much she disliked Tesco;
I asked, 'So, where do you shop, at Sainsbury's?' and the conversation
continued, ' No, I prefer Waitrose! '. She would be in a quandary if
she came down for her summer holidays as Waitrose has a dodo-esque mystique
and there's only one Sainsburys in the county, and Tesco is, well Tesco,
Part of me knows where she's coming from;
every time I step into that emporium of E. numbers, something inside
me recoils and resists the fact that I'm in a controlled environment
where nothing is stacked on the shelves until its been OK'd by a psychologist
to ensure maximum exposure to guarantee a purchase and strategically
positioned to play mind games for my money. Added to the fact that I'm
in need of a rant about the six bottles of wine that fell through the
flimsy bottomed wine box, leaving my kitchen floor resembling some city
centres on a Saturday night.
I rang customer 'services' to be told
that for replacements I had to personally take back the bottle necks
with the corks still in place. After the enormous fun of picking through
splinters of glass shards from the wine lake, I drove another twenty
miles, presented my bottle necks with corks intact, to be instructed
to go to the wine aisle and pick out the same wine, take the bottles
back to customer 'services' where an 'advisor' would allow me to have
the new bottles after checking I wasn't attempting an up-grade. No apology,
no complementary packet of Pringles for MY inconvenience, just plenty
of attitude and unsmiling suspicion.
What's this got to do with living in Cornwall?
Let's take that effete
elitism up a level to a higher stratum of enlightenment where food is
displayed in nature's super market - country-style. Uncomplicated food
from fields, the sea and farms, not vacuum-sealed, perfectly-sized, salt-saturated,
preservative-perforated packs. In the meadow next to our house, beautiful
Jersey cows munch lazily on spring-green pastures, the credentials of
the herd is traditional and sustainable going back through generations
to produce primrose-yellow, organic milk that goes into fudge, ice cream
and clotted cream... this isn't just any old clotted cream, this is Roskilly's indulgently silky-smooth, slowly oozing sensuously from each mouthful
of freshly baked scone, kind of clotted cream... stop it, Gloria!
My veggie box, from 'Healthy
Boxes', is delivered weekly, eight items,
sometimes including fruit or eggs and mostly picked the day before for
£5. The box contains staples of muddy, mis-shapen carrots and potatoes
and unusual things like black kale and because there isn't a choice its
quite a challenge to cook whatever is delivered rather than have a recipe
and then buy the ingredients - when in doubt, make soup. While Phil,
from Newlyn Fish Company, calls weekly, with the freshest of the catch
and crab to die for, straight from the market where it was landed.
It's quite a coincidence that I'm writing this on the day that the E.U
fisheries ministers have announced that they are scrapping the current
rules on fishing quotas. Environmentalists and fishermen have long argued
that the existing system has failed; with a third of the fleet lay-up
and lost for ever over the last decade..... could it be that those who
actually catch the fish might know something more than a desk-bound jobs-worth
from Austria? Not that I've got anything against Austria, it's a lovely
place, but doesn't have much by way of fishing expertise.
Oddly enough, I haven't spent the day foraging in hedgerows for edible
weeds to garnish the mackerel I didn't catch. I'm not pretending that
we can buy all our food locally from sustainable sources and in village
shops. Supermarkets have a role, but fish should be bought from fish
shops and meat from butchers supplied by our farmers and fishermen; at
last, veggie boxes are being delivered across the country and farmers'
markets are springing up in the middle of the suburbs...hooray!!
If you enjoyed reading this, the page changes regularly
and there's more in the menu.
this page to a friend