Thursday, 14 February 2013

Giving Up Supermarkets for Lent.

The ginger on my local market earlier today

I’ve minutes to write.  It’s Valentines Day and I have a date with my husband   ...  so I must be quick.  My fingers are numb.  I’ve been carrying bags of food from the market, but as I am thawing out and typing these words I know that the contents of these bags will at least keep me going for a few days.

I’d like to say that I am pleased with myself for shopping on the market but I was irritated by the fact that I forgot the cotton bags, which would not only have saved my fingers but the planet too.  I bought Satsuma’s, shiny dark aubergines, and fresh hot ginger rhizomes.  It seems odd to be back in Northampton, when  a few days ago I was clearing lemongrass away to dig up fresh ginger with a cutlass on a plantation in Grenada, and eating earthy chinks of it with food writer Xanthe Clay.  Still at least I am not being eaten alive by sandflies. 

Digging up fresh ginger in Grenada on the Rose Mount Plantation 6 days ago

The shopping which is literally scattered across the table has taken on extra significance.  You see not only is today Valentines Day yesterday was the first day of lent.  For me this doesn’t hold any particular meaning as I am Buddhist, but it is a good time to reflect. I’ve been watching twitter and there are so many people who want to give up chocolate.  Whilst I appreciate giving up something you love for spiritual reasons, I feel that the overriding majority of people are hoping to loose a few pounds and feel better about themselves.  For me this is a time to do something really positive.  I’ve been reading Joanna Blythman’s book called Shopped: The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets and it's confirmed things I have known for a long time.. So I've have decided to live for 40 days with out supermarkets.   

Today is the fist day and it’s been a good start.  I’ve discovered many of the household cleaning products I use in a shop called the daily bread in Northampton, near the Bedford road roundabout.  I can’t say that this is going to be an easy task.  I work full time, spend my free time trying to keep up with a large working kitchen garden and I have three young children, so I figure if I can do this than anyone can.

British Tulips on Northampton Market from Spalding. 

 The other reason to celebrate today is that I was at Waterstones helping to launch a book for the Clandestine Cake Club.  Lynn’s book is really lovely.  If you love cakes I can’t recommend it enough, and you will find one of my recipes on page 91. Whilst I was there I caught up with my local MP, who has agreed to talk to me about food labelling in the EU as he was our MP when this was being decided.. look out for a interview on here with Chris Heaton Harris next week. 

Tomorrow I will share some of the adventures I had in Grenada last week.

Tonight I will make noodles. 


  1. Wow. Sounds great. Wish I had the time to exclusively shop at markets and independent shops. The book on Supermarket Power sounds interesting as well.

  2. My goodness that is going to be tough - not only on your time going from one place to another but actually finding the independent shops. What a great exercise and look forward to reading all about it. Might have a go at it myself.

  3. It's always the busiest people who pack the most in to their lives. You are making me feel guilty, but my rural location makes it quite difficult to 'shop local' without spending a fortune in fuel. It's ironic that those of us who live in the countryside have less access to local food than people in cities and towns.

  4. That's a good idea. But regarding what Janice said about it being hard to shop local - I live in London and it doesn't seem to be any easier! My local greengrocer has just shut down and the butcher shut down a while back, and I have no idea where else I could go (I don't have a car and rely on trains and tube). I wonder is there any sort of website where you can look up your nearest butcher and so on?


If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.