As Father to Mrs. Pugh I am very excited and encouraged by the ‘Year without supermarkets’ blog. It is now the first e-mail I open each evening. The whole concept is close to our hearts, as a family we have always tried to live well but economically.
I remember well an elderly gentleman I knew when I was a teenager, in the days when supermarkets were still a novelty, predicting that one day these supermarkets would kill off the small shops which were the norm in the early ‘70’s (Ironically as I write this The Sweeney is playing on ITV4). Being young I was sure he was talking twoddle but 40 years on it rings a very clear bell. Whilst the small shop is not yet history, by and large they are a struggling breed.
Taking a leaf out of the Pugh’s book my wife and I went to our local Post Office/Village Shop to get some ‘green’ to go with our evening meal. A large head of broccoli was purchased for £1.30 so not too expensive. Something that thrilled me was that it was served in a paper bag, something I haven’t seen in years. Also the purchase was achieved with some pleasant banter, great. My wife, who had been looking for a birthday card for ages found the perfect one for £1.45, again not bank breaking.
As we walked home I pondered two things. Firstly back in the day when paper bags were the norm and toilet paper was called Izal, we used to sit at nights ripping up those bags and rubbing them between palms. This softened them up and they made much softer toilet paper; for free. Now there’s a tip for the Pughs.
My other thought was about broccoli. As it was weighed and paid for by the kilo we had ended up paying for the stalk which we usually throw away. As it was my turn to cook I wondered if the stalk was actually edible, maybe if cooked a little longer than the florets. When I prepared I sliced the stalk into carrot sized slices and cooked it with the carrots for the same length of time. Result…a sweet tasting extra veg.
Amazingly, in the spirit of this blog dinner for two cost less than £4 for ingreidients and nothing to cook. This is because we have a small wood burning stove which can carry two large pans. One pan had the potatoes with the carrots, celeriac (all from the garden) and broccoli stalks in a basket to steam. The other pan had two lamb chumps, boil in the bag as used in pubs, which we had got from the market last week for £2.50. Twenty minutes later we were tucking into something which would have cost us £20+ in the pub.
Have we finished with Supermarkets yet? Not quite, our policy being only visit when out never just go shopping. So those Nectar points could come our way. If we exchange them for a £20 note (or an £18 one to say we all win) you guys get more for your non supermarket shop and we can get some more wine for the weekend.