Sunday, 25 February 2007


Popped to the supermarket for some shopping earlier. I wanted some meat and veg and such like, also wanted suet. Wandering around I started reflecting on how little of what the shop stocked my grandmother would have recognised - she died in the early 1980s. First up let's ignore the country of origin information on the fruit and veg - some of these countries had different names in 1980 (Zimbabwe, Croatia, etc) and let's also ignore all the electrical kit that simply wasn't around. It's the packets and pouches, tins and cartons, boxes and bags. I'm not suggesting that ready meals and processed food are new but it's the sheer welter of it - I'm trying to remember the name of those chinese meals with dehydrated "meat" and crispy noodles that had to be fried. Gran would also have been shocked by the small amount of space devoted to "real food", so little unprocessed stock, so few of the basics like flour and cornflour and the bits and pieces that those who can cook like to have festering at the back of the cupboard.

Of course that doesn't mean that these things aren't stocked but there were six different types of tinned chopped tomatoes and two types of flour. Next to the suet are boxes and boxes of suet dumpling mixes with different flavourings - trust me, if you can master making suet dumplings making herby suet dumplings isn't a great stretch. And that's where I ended up, I realised that the stuff on the shelves was mainly made from a few bits of the other stuff on the shelves but by mixing it in a factory rather than selling to people with the gumption to mix them at home the manufacturers and supermarkets are making a killing. I know none of this is new but it takes me a while to catch on.

5 careful considerations:

bluefluff said...

Vesta ready meals? Mum refused to sell them in our corner shop, as she said they were "over-priced rubbish". Consequently I always thought of them as somewhat exotic & desirable... until I tried one (LOL).

kat said...

Hee hee Vesta meals. I used to live of 'em. Loved the cripy noodles.

Nogbad said...

That's the one! Vesta! Now whatever my learned friend suggests they really were (and are) exotic, desirable and the height of la cuisine haute!

annarid said...

Every Sunday afternoon,about four o'clock, one of my neigbours used to screech along the road at her eight year old daughter
"Michelle - d'you want a pot noodle?"

I never heard her answer!!!

bluefluff said...

Our grandparents might also have been mind-boggled by people getting live updates on their shopping requirements by mobile phone... 'they've run out of raspberry pro-biotic yoghourts - shall I get pre-biotic or banana & kiwi?'

Genuinely overheard:
Customer to assistant: "What's the difference between pro-biotic & pre-biotic?"
Assistant: "One letter."