Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Here I am again, now settling back in UK. I have missed my blogging and thankful to at last have my Internet back once again, so I can once again catch up with all my fellow bloggers, finding out what you have all been up to in your kitchens all these weeks, or has it run into months?

Travelling almost 4000 miles across the Atlantic meant leaving behind all my kitchen"things", food and equipment. I will be reunited with my gadgets eventually, but had to start from scratch with my pantry. No foodstuffs allowed to cross the pond. Friends fell heir to my pantry items, and I sadly let go of my wonderful collection of salts, beans, pastas, vinegars, oils and balsamics, as well as the more basic tins of tomatoes, artichoke hearts and tuna to name but a few. There was even a tin or two of haggis hidden way in the back.

The thought of restocking my pantry seemed a great opportunity to do it "properly", which meant days of writing lists, going over recipes to make sure I wouldn't be starting something only to find an essential ingredient missing! There would be no impulse buys, no products lurking "just in case" But would this mean missing out on exciting products, missing out on a wonderful food experience? Already my resolve is slipping, but I would do my best to stay on track. The treats could come later. It would be great just to be able to cook once again, albeit with a limited collection of kitchenware, I can always pick up bits and pieces. A break form eating out and making do with preprepared foods was a huge incentive to get going.

The day arrived. My husband and I set off for Tesco, a huge supermarket giant in UK. There was no rush, no hurry, we would spend our time carefully picking all the items to restock our pantry, which I have to say is a much smaller space than we are used to, but we knew that would be the case.

The trolley was piling up. Herbs, spices,vinegars, oils, pastas, rice, flour, sugars, jams, sauces, coffee, mustards, etc,etc, food for the freezer and even the boring cleaning products were being picked with care. And then it all went so terribly wrong! We heard an announcement which we thought said that alcohol could not be purchased after 4-00pm. We knew there were some odd rules about purchasing alcohol on a Sunday so, reluctantly my gin went back on the shelf, and we continued. However, if you thought the alcohol rule was crazy, things were just about to get much worse. A further announcement made it clear that the store was actually closing at 4-00pm. It seems in England there is some strange law which means food stores can only trade for 4 hours on a Sunday!!!!!! We couldn't believe it. My list was only half way complete, there was smoke coming out of my ears. I couldn't believe some ancient law still existed. From being able to shop 24/7 here I was being reduced to only a space of 4 hours on a Sunday. I was losing all reason and the gin bottle might have been a bit of comfort, if I only had it in the trolley!

Eventually I calm down, and realise it isn't really the end of the world, just on this occasion a huge inconvenience, and in the future I will be able to avoid Sunday shopping. However, it still leaves me with a half empty pantry and another trip to the supermarket.

I guess it will take a bit of time to re adjust and I know before long the disastrous shopping trip will become a funny anecdote at parties, but for now I continue restocking, and yes there were a few things I had forgotten to put on my list but slowly I am accumulating everything I need plus a few things that have sneaked in "just in case!" Well don't we all have a few of these purchases?


Val said...

I see things haven't changed much after all !!! Welcome home.
I miss Tesco I love to visit when I am home. Good luck with you new life

Coby said...

I have never heard of haggis in a tin!:)

I have to say, the idea of being able to start a pantry from scratch sounds wonderful (apart from the expense that is). I love grocery shopping:) I hope you can look at the quick close of Tesco as a chance to enjoy another day of strolling the isles and taking your time Jacqui?!

mmunford2000 said...

I agree with Colby...the idea of starting fresh sounds terrific. I know you wil be able to find some obsure local ingredient and make it fantasic! Please keep us updated on the strange local customs!

Sallie said...

Jacqui - I am sure your new pantry will be just as amazing as it was in the states, and I am so jealous of all your fortunate friends and family who will have the pleasure of enjoying your scrumptious dishes. I am so happy that you will be keeping up the blog! Give Robin our best wishes and enjoy settling in to your new home.

PS: Are there any American grocery items you can't find over there? Would just be curious to know!


Coby said...

Jacqui, thanks for letting me know the Clayton's Blog was on Petit Chef:) It's unlikely I would have known otherwise. Not sure how or why it happened:)