How much money do you spend in the supermarket on groceries? I’ll bet your cupboards are full and your purses empty. Loads and loads of groceries.
I was watching the shoppers the other day – mostly women, it was the middle of a Friday – expertly loading their trolleys. Done this a million times. Washing powder, frozen peas, pizza, beer, those biscuits Jim likes.
Have you ever thought about it? Our default supermarket is quite a small one – aisles in single figures. Yet, even there the choice is bewildering.
Does it really matter if your butter is organic or not, that it comes from Cornwall, Scotland or blended from European milk? Salted, slightly salted, soft – not soft.
Is the cheapest always the best? Are you pushing the boat out to a night when you can crest the waves of the extravagance of the premium brand?
My word, it’s puzzling.
I’ve no idea about why you choose Lenor over the apparently identical ones purporting to smell of things like diamonds or silk – neither of which in my, admittedly limited, experience smell of very much.
Why do you buy what you buy? What informs your decision?
I don’t mean the sensible stuff that you get because the recipe calls for it and there’s only one type – red onions for example. Or Marmite, there’s only one Marmite.
It’s one of the reasons for the success of the budget supermarkets. Not that they’re cheap, but that they’re quick because there’s only one type of tuna and you don’t have to squander precious moments asking your conscience whether line-caught is really 89 pence better.
I buy a certain brand of macaroni cheese not because it’s hard to make at home but, again, this is quick. And once at the Lomond Shores food event, I got a tub to taste and it was delicious. Just goes to show that was a successful marketing exercise.
Pizza – Boys Three and Two like it boring and Boy One wants something meaty but not too spicy. That’ll be pepperoni then.
Bacon – I buy the best that’s there, streaky and smoked, that way you get delicious tasty crispy bits. Though sometimes back is better in a sandwich. but no, downright versatility is the streaky.
Sausages – most meat wins were. Wonder what else do they put in if it’s only 60 per cent pork. Shell out for the posh stuff and move on.
Cheese – if you’re melting it or putting into a child. the cheapest is OK. But I’ll always try to find not coloured. Why would you want your cheese the same colour as orange juice? Which, by the way, is not from concentrate – otherwise, it’s liquid marmalade – with no bits. Cheapest in that category.
I do chose Lenor because I like the smell of the blue one – though not all blue ones are the same. And I remember because I alliterate lovely Lenor.
Weetabix – must be Weetabix and not wheat breakfast cereal type biscuits morning food, because Boy Two says so.
Sourdough bread – is fermented and that makes it almost a vegetable, plus it’s tasty. Oats likewise, even when coated in honey will extend your life. My life, yours is up to you.
Toilet roll – how far down the price pole do you need to slide and sill be sure that your fingers won’t poke through it. The one I bought last had illustrated instructions on the packet. I didn’t like being patronised by some bog roll, so I won’t get that one again.
Rapeseed oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil and cooking oil and before you get to the olive oil aisle. Try saying that quickly.
Have you ever been inspired by a meal out at, say, Jamie’s Italian, and then found yourself in the tinned veg section weighing up passata and tinned toms – whole or chopped?
‘Only the best quality ingredients’ clearly that makes it taste nicer. Or maybe it’s just that you don’t have to do the washing up and rush off to take some children somewhere.
And then again, how do you know the good quality price doesn’t refer to packaging and label or celeb endorsements rather than proper provenance.
They should teach this stuff in school. They could start with the difference between cold pressed and virgin with a buyer’s guide to olive oil…