So I did the usual stupid thing. I went to Waitrose to get lamb. Foolish move. Then I called my mother whilst shopping. Stupid thing I do number two. Waitrose is intoxicating. Firstly I must say it’s a pleasure to shop in this middle class food Mecca. The aisles are wide so you don’t have to wait for an obese mother and her brood to drag three boxes of own brand crisps off the shelf and put it in cart number two like in some supermarkets. You can easily bypass the woman perusing the infused oils whilst seeking put the gnocchi, whilst another shopper passes you on the other side seeking out the saffron.
But Waitrose brings out the hunger in me. Not a passionate hunger for food that can be calmed by a trolley treat, the item you put in the trolley for the drive home. Malteasers for example. Oh no. It’s the weekly food planning that I mentally do. I decide one evening we will have Pasta, therefore I decide I need white wine vinegar (I have never used white wine vinegar in my life. Ina uses Champagne vinegar. I, again, have never). In the trolley it goes. I see ground coriander. I wonder what you use it for. I put it in the trolley. Three types of cured Italian meats end up in there. Cherry juice ends up in there. Before you can say 4 packets of lardons (the name alone amuses me) and three varieties of pasta, a shop for one type of meat has cost me £60. And I didn’t even manage to reign in my lamb purchase. Buoyed by the lower unit cost per kilogram at the butchers counter to that on offer in the pre-packaged meat chiller, I come away with twice what I need. Although economically speaking it really was a steal. Factor in the fact I was chatting to my mum, which puts my inner monologue which talks me out of impulse purchases on hold, and boom, I went on the supermarket equivalent of a smash and grab, just dropping anything I fancied into my trolley. If the Le Creuset was a touch lighter, I would have shoved the large granite coloured cast iron casserole I crave like nothing else in this world in there for good measure.
How does Ina afford to shop independently? That must be like going to Waitrose five times over. I secretly want to think that maybe Ina has a Macro card, or Costco card or something. And she hides the massive catering cans of Heinz beans in the garage. The types you used to see in the background of Jim’s Cafe on Coronation Street when Alma and Gail used to run it. And I like to think some nights she just gives Jeffrey sausage chips and beans as she can’t be bothered. And I think she’d be unapologetic about it as, sometimes, nothing is better than a tea that reminds you of eating with your brother watching Byker Grove after school. Although I’m sure that analogy would go over her head. I never saw her in our kitchen having to put up with my big brother goading her, like I did. And my mother and father didn’t have to endure her screaming “I hate you Brett” for over a decade. Ina wouldn’t scream. She would have been fabulous company, even as a teen. I was just difficult. And you’ll be pleased to know I don’t hate Brett now. I actually quite like him. It was just during the period he used to sing Weezer’s Buddy Holly at me constantly until I considered cutting my ears off Van Gogh style that I struggled to love my brother like my mother told me I should.
Right off for pork and herb kebabs. If I was Ina it would be a kabob. I have no idea if there is a difference. Although how you can vary meat on a stick is beyond me.
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