i heart Waitrose
(Or as Delphine calls it, in her French accent, "The Waitrose". So cute. I get mocked by the Brits for pronouncing it Wait-rose, instead of Wai-trose. At least I don't say Sains-berries instead of Sains-brees. Give me some credit, people.) - original pic found at Flickr, entitled "you know you're back in England when supermarkets have aisles like this" - so true!!
Being unemployed will leave you with lots of time to sit on your ass all day. I did a lot of that at work and got paid for it and as much as I love to veg out and watch an entire season of Deadwood in 3 days, I know I have to get out and move my body or else I crip up like an old woman. I love going food shopping (especially when I can be leisurely about it and especially when I don't have Stephen with me going, "Why don't you buy this bacon, it's on sale! Why don't you buy this kind of juice, it's cheaper!"). Lately I've been killing 2 birds by walking to my local Waitrose, which is about 30 minutes away on foot. Waitrose is the posh grocery store chain. Think Whole Foods but not 100% organic. I'd never been to a Waitrose before moving to Brighton and my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw that we had one. It wasn't until I moved here that I became interested in the differences in all the grocery store chains. Sure, we all want to shop at our local green grocer/baker/butcher, but it's not a reality for most people. It has to be somewhat convenient or else it's not going to happen. I like to do my bit by supporting local veg box schemes and buying the occasional deli items too but since we're not millionaires I have to rely on grocery stores and markets too.
Waitrose is a co-operative so I like that by spending money there you know that they're sharing the wealth with all of their employees. They also support initiatives in the third world, sell loads of fair trade products, ONLY sell eggs that are at least free-range, if not organic and make sure that locally produced products are put on their shelves. There's something about the atmosphere in a Waitrose that's a bit different as well. You get a sense that people that shop there really love food and are enthusiastic about trying new things and being willing to pay a bit more for good quality. I think that was a nice way of saying that their patrons aren't as common as the ones around the corner at my local Somerfields with their packs of feral, tracksuit-clad children and carts full of crisps and soda, don't you? I can be a total snob, I'll be the first to admit it.
In addition to being a haven for MY kind of people (hehe.) they've also started a bit of a fruit and veg revolution with their Ugli campaign. By now most people know how much food is wasted (an astonishing 30-40% here in the UK!!) because fruit or veg isn't "pretty" enough, even though some of the prettiest pieces of fruit I've ever had were the ones most lacking in taste. I've heard stories of entire lorries of food being turned down by Tesco for not being pleasing to the eye. Guess who suffers that loss? Not you or I in our self-contained, synthetically pleasing lives but the farmers who work their fingers to the bone so that you can have an attractive fruit centrepiece. Deep breath. Stepping off soapbox. So now you can buy Ugli fruit for cooking, baking or even to put in your rebellious fruit bowl. Fantastic idea!
Yes, Waitrose is expensive so I'm usually scanning the shelves for what's on sale. I know that one day when we start having children we probably won't be able to afford to shop here and then I'll have to be more budget-conscious than I am now. So for now I'll just indulge in their Goat's Cheese, Rocket and Fig Chutney Pizzas while I still can. (25% off this month!)