Touring the world, one supermarket at a time.
Ok, admit it, if you are any sort of food lover one of the things you do on holiday is take a trip around a supermarket and buy a stash of ingredients you find hard to source at home. We aren’t away this summer (shoulder surgery, A level results, decorating – etc, etc) but that hasn’t stopped me building a pile of treats that don’t usually figure on my shopping list.
I really enjoy going to do a big food shop. I know many people prefer to have their shopping delivered for a whole variety of reasons, not me. I relish the prospect of poking around and coming across new (to me) products. Many supermarkets have aisles dedicated to foods from around the world and this is a great place to start. Jars of pickles and sauerkraut, tins and packs of pulses and blocks of jaggery have all recently landed in the bottom of my trolley. Cans of pop and a big bottle of raspberry cordial also came home with me. Mixes of seasonings and spices are all the kinds of things I bring back from abroad but these authentic packs are now available in many major supermarkets. Now I’d agree that they don’t have a wide range but this movement seems to be expanding out from the ambient ailes into the chiller cabinet too. Cartons of smetana, hunks of smoked ham and the biggest tub of natural yogurt I’ve seen outside a cash and carry have come home with me.
If I want to make a recipe that contains Matzo meal or cracker crumbs then I know which supermarket locally has a Kosher foods aisle. Others have a large Polish or Turkish section. What a supermarket has selections of I’m sure reflects the local community.
I’m urging you to step away from your usual shopping list by one degree. Go armed with your list but perhaps substitute one or two of your regular ingredients with something different. You may well find they are less expensive (can of coconut milk), sold in larger quantities (whole black pepper) and possibly a complete new experience (tins of mango pulp).
What you won’t find in these large supermarkets that you often find in a specialist shop are the recipe tips and help of your fellow shoppers but…. Go, try, taste.