This is about the extent of a Tuesday evening in my house:
(Shouts upstairs to family)
“Anyone for anything else on the online shop?”
“Bissli, please!” [Eldest]
“Jaffa cakes please!” [Husband, he of simple requests. He claims these are super low in fat and ‘all the footballers eat them’. Sadly, he is not a pro-footballer. Nor do pro-footballers eat ‘Jaffa Cake sandwiches’. Recipe at end of blog.]
Aside from the shame of their utterly unhealthy requests, I get so bored of my weekly shop that I will often cold-call my friends and slay them with “GIMME 5 RANDOM ITEMS ON YOUR FOOD SHOP – STAT!” (Stat: A common medical abbreviation for urgent or rush. From the Latin word statum, meaning ‘immediately.’)
Desperate for further inspiration, I have also taken to introducing one new item a week for the family to try. Last week was dried coconut shreds. The kids were totally disinterested until I said they were Daddy’s ‘foot skin shavings’ and somehow the gross concept intrigued them. Eldest even went back for more.
I definitely live to eat and I love to try new foods – goji berries, jackfruit, Popchips (yuuummmm) and so on. With one exception – beetroot. I have tried, really I have. I was about 8, it was 1983 and the biggest famine in Ethiopia was occurring. I distinctly remember standing in the school lunch line as I moaned to my best friend, “I hate Thursdays – it’s salad day.” This meant limp lettuce, shredded carrot and little cubes of beetroot.
I can still feel the pinch on my upper arm through the flimsy yellow gingham of my summer dress as my Headmistress dragged me from the line and scolded me in front of my classmates,
“There are children starving in Africa.”
From that day on, I ate my salad every week without a moan. My oldest BFF had to endure similar with Tuesday’s ‘Roast’ offering. Potatoes, soggy cabbage and fried minced beef. Somehow, through inner strength or some such shit, she stored the maggoty-looking beef bits in her cheeks, akin to a hamster, finish her mains and somehow managing to eat dessert still with beef-stuffed cheeks. A trip to the loo would then see her spit out stored mince into those green recycled paper hand towels. She was a staunch vegetarian for the next 25 years.
So, as convenient as it is to have ‘Colin, in Raspberry van’ deliver my regular weekly shop, sometimes I like a trip to the supermarket to see what’s what.
Off I go, trolley bags in the boot. (I have mentioned these in an earlier blog, but they really are amazing.) Of course there is a method to my madness and these are 5 rules I stick by to get in and out as quickly as possible:
1) I rearrange items in the trolley as I go along, simply because it makes packing quicker. That said, you may get caught behind those gems in the supermarket who wait until the cashier gives them their total before they make a move to get their wallet and loyalty card out to pay. It’s not Supermarket Sweep. You know you’re gonna have to pay. Be prepared.
2) I often leave my trolley at the end of the aisle (it’s called a ‘gondola end’). What’s the point of playing trolley bumper cars if I only need one packet of rice?
3) I choose my checkout carefully. Much like queuing for car park barriers in previous blog, the shortest queue is not always the quickest. You could also end up behind Mrs. Forgetful who chuckles as she suddenly remembers the ‘only thing she came in for’ and goes off for 5 minutes searching for milk. Yeah. Hilarious. Write a list FFS.
4) I kind of like the self-checkout. Proper fist-punch opportunity if you can do it without ‘waiting for assistance’ all because the feather-light bag of lettuce hasn’t registered in the bagging area. Also, by going down this route you avoid the freaks at the standard checkout. The ones who can’t grab the product separator quick enough to mark the division between their shopping and mine. LIKE I EXPECTED YOU TO PAY FOR MY STUFF?!!!
5) Sometimes I go stealth if I only have a couple of items. Head towards the customer with the trolley-full, piled higher than a Pizza Hut salad (extra bacon bits please) who no-one wants to queue behind. If you’re lucky, they’ll let you go in front of them with your insignificant couple of items.
I rarely give my husband the task of shopping. Aside from he fact that it takes him ages and he returns with enough crisps and chocolate to cater a kids party, I am very specific and he works to utter vagueness. It’s not worth the argument or re-anactment of one of my favourite films ever: (“Clean up on Aisle 5, Irv.”)
As promised, a recipe for you chocolate lovers out there.
Jaffa Cake Sandwiches
Jaffa Cake triple pack of 36 Jaffa cakes
Open carton. You will find 3 long packets of Jaffa cakes.
Tear open 1 packet and remove 3 Jaffe cakes.
Place 1 Jaffa cake between 2 Jaffa cakes, sponge sides facing outwards, like a sandwich.
Repeat until full. One pack makes 4 sandwiches.